Remembering Zacchaeus Abere-Ona Alabi, 10 years on
Ten years ago, an iroko tree fell in The Apostolic Church (TAC) Nigeria. That iroko was the former National Secretary of the church, Pastor Zaccheus Abere-Ona Alabi.
Alabi was born on April 27, 1927 at Ayegunle Gbede in the old Kabba Province to the family of the late Oba of Ayegunle Gbede.
The young Alabi enrolled at the Muslim Arabic School to become a Islamic scholar but God had a different plan for him. He later attended the Christian Missionary School, Baptist Day School.
He obtained his First Leaving Certificate in 1948. He proceeded to P&T Training School, Kabba, at the end of which, he was engaged as a postmaster.
Eleven years later, he married his heartthrob, former Miss Elizabeth an eight-year courtship.
In 1950, Alabi became a cleric. He trained at TAC Training School, Effo-Amuro.
Two years later, he moved to TAC Bible College, Ilesa, completing it with a Bachelor Degree in Theology at the Bible College of Wales, Swansea and capping it with a Masters in Theology from the School of Divinity, Regent University, Virginia, United States.
In 1955, he became an instructor at the Bible College, Ikeja, Lagos, where he was made the principal in 1963. He was among those who set up the TAC Grammar School in 1964.
After the crisis that engulfed the Kano Assembly, he was dispatched to start a new assembly, now an area. He was ordained an Apostle in 1963. A member of the Evangelical Party, he was the first LAWNA Sunday School Superintendent.
In 1982, he was transferred to old Benin City Area as its Superintendent/member of the LAWNA General Executive Council (GEC). He stayed in Benin for 10 years.
He joined LAWNA Executive Council (EC) and National Executive Council (NEC) in 1986. He was also Superintendent of Ibadan Area.
In 1995, he was appointed the National Secretary of TAC Nigeria, thereby becoming the third most senior official nationwide.
A former Chairman of TAC Ilesa Governing Council, and Theological Seminary, Jos, Alabi was also chair of TAC Grammar School Governing Board. In between, he was Director of Education of LAWNA Territory.
An erudite scholar and mentor to many superintendents and pastors, he was also a man of integrity, honesty and accountability. He died on September 28, 2008 at the age of 81.