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New Nigerian Anglican Primate will continue his province’s tough stand for orthodoxy

By David W. Virtue
23 February 2020   |   4:15 am
The new Anglican Archbishop and Primate elect of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, 59, will maintain his province’s hard line on homosexuality...


The new Anglican Archbishop and Primate elect of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, 59, will maintain his province’s hard line on homosexuality, continuing the tradition of his two predecessors, Nicholas Okoh and Peter Akinola. His resume reveals a man who might be the best trained Nigerian Primate ever, having studied both at Durham University (UK) and Princeton University (USA), and is by all accounts a Biblical scholar, teacher, Master liturgist, pastor and an accomplished evangelist. Those who know him say he loves the Lord Jesus Christ, has a great heart for the Word of God and is a prolific writer.

While his theological views will not deviate from primates who have gone before, his Western education will put him on a par with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Ndukuba will pose a greater threat to Welby’s leadership, should the leadership of the Anglican Communion move away from the Church of England. He is clearly capable of leading the communion and taking Welby head on in debates over the direction of the Anglican Communion.

Born on the 18th July 1961, he attended Bishop Shanahan College, Orluband and gave his life to Christ as a teenager in 1977. He worked in Kano State library, ministry of education from 1979-1980, but received a call to the ministry of the gospel in Kano. He subsequently studied at the Theological College of northern Nigeria (TCNN) Bukuru in 1980, obtaining a B.D Degree in 1984. He did his NYSC in Kano State 1984-1985 and was ordained into the Diaconate in 1984, and the priesthood in 1985. He served at St. Georges Anglican Church Borupai Kano and later taught at St. Francis of Assisi Theological College, Wusasa, Zaria in 1985. He served in a number of capacities and became the college’s acting Dean. In July 1996, he moved back to be the Archdeacon of Kano and helped stabilise the diocese of Kano after an internal turbulent period. In July 1999, he returned as Dean of St. Francis College Wusasa, and in September 1999, was elected Bishop of Gombe.

Bishop Henry served for 19 years as Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical province of Jos and on September 24, 2019, he was elected by the Episcopal synod to be the Primate of the Church of Nigeria. He will assume his new duties in March 2020. His education includes an M.A. in systematic Theology, Durham University, England in 1990 and an M.A in Christian Education from Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey, in 1996. He distinguished himself as a scholar by winning the 1996 John Havran’s Princeton prize for Christian Education.

Observers say he loves God and has received the grace to teach, preach and stand out as an evangelist and missioner. He is chairman of the liturgy and spirituality committee of the Church of Nigeria, whose responsibility is to produce the Annual Bible study manual and Daily Fountain devotional for the Church of Nigeria, Sunday School manual and Youth Devotional.

His committee produced the New Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal for the Church of Nigeria. He also serves as the chairman of the church of Nigeria Historical Records and Artefacts Committee, charged with the responsibility of recording and preserving the historical records and artefacts of the Church and he set up an Archives for the Church. As the Bishop of Gombe, the Anglican Church grew from 18 congregations to over 150. He has specialised in church planting and evangelism and the raising up of lay and pastoral leadership and discipleship remain the core of his ministry.

In Gombe State, Bishop Henry worked with Luke partnership, Nigeria Bible Translation Trust and Seed Company to produce literary materials and to translate the Bible and Jesus film into 10 of the 17 tribal languages in the state. He is the BOT Chairman of LIST, the registered body working on translation of Bible, Jesus Film and literary materials in Nigerian languages, especially minority languages in Nigeria.

He is married to Angela E. Ndukuba (Nee Okoro), educationist and mother in God’s church. They have six children, one grandson and two granddaughters.

Archbishop Henry will benefit from US President Donald Trump’s recent announced establishment of the First Ever Global Alliance to End Religious Persecution in Nigeria. This will be good news to Anglican leaders in Nigeria.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo stated: “Together, we say that freedom of religion or belief is not a Western ideal, but truly the bedrock of societies,” adding that it is outlined in the alliance’s Declaration of Principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Together, we have pledged to uphold the Declaration of Principles, “a joint statement read, “solidifying our collective commitment to object and oppose, publicly and privately, all abuses or violations of religious freedom.”

While accepting the praise of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in his appointment as the new spiritual head of the Anglican province, it did not stop the new Archbishop from saying, “When we look at Nigeria and the things that surround us, we can see that Nigeria is fast becoming a failed State, where banditry, kidnapping, violent crimes, poverty, spiritual wickedness and moral bankruptcy abound. Most people around us here are crying about afflictions, hurt and pains in their hearts and lives and sometimes we are overwhelmed.”

Life challenges are real and can be overwhelming; hence our constant need of God’s help. Help is to give assistance to someone in need. It has to do with compassion and empathy. Every help of God flows from His compassion and mercy, he said.

The Primate, archbishops, bishops of the Anglican Church of Nigeria will not be attending the Lambeth Conference over Welby’s refusal to discipline errant Provinces that accept sodomy and homosexual marriage. They will be out in force at the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) in Kigali, Rwanda, where attendees will hear a clear affirmation of the gospel, and a reinforcement of Lambeth Resolution 1:10.

(The Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba will assume office as the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria on Wednesday, March, 25, 2020, the same day Archbishop Nicholas Okoh will be deemed retired and cease to occupy the office).