Thinking Anglicans

Akinola's primacy reviewed

Updated Saturday 5 September

The Guardian in Lagos, Nigeria has published a lengthy article: Akinola’s Primacy: The Journey So Far by Gbenga Onayiga.

The article has already been removed from the Guardian website – this is apparently their normal practice, see comment below – but the full article remains available at Anglican Mainstream.

Another copy of the article is currently available here. (H/T titusonenine)

Consequent upon the retirement of the 2nd Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Revd J.A. Adetiloye in December 1999, Most Revd Peter J.Akinola was, by Divine providence, duly elected the 3rd Primate of the Church of Nigeria on Tuesday, February 22, 2000. Archbishop Akinola, who was called from the carpentry of wood and materials to the carpentry of the Church of God, eventually proved to be a master craftman, who visualises a design and then perfectly brings it to reality. Before his election, as Primate, Archbishop Akinola was the Dean, Church of Nigeria, the Archbishop of the Province III (Northern Dioceses) and Bishop of Abuja. He had by divine grace and enablement built the Diocese of Abuja literally from nothing to the most viable Diocese of the Church of Nigeria. Thus for those who knew him, it was little wonder that his emergence as the Primate would definitely take the Church of Nigeria to a very high pedestal…

The article concludes:

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but anyone who does not think that Akinola’s primacy is a resounding success will have an uphill task for a better comparison, as the Church has never had it so good. In fact, Archbishop Akinola has succeeded in putting the Primacy of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at a level that will take a very long time to equal nationally, regionally and globally. By the foregone indications, he has immensely endowed the future generation of Anglicans in many unprecedented ways.

Perhaps the best we can do is pray for a worthy successor who will be humble enough to continue the good work already started by building on the foundation already laid. Such a successor will, of course, have to identify those areas of the vision that call for a general review, taking cognisance of today’s peculiarities and faithfully implementing them so as to take the church to the next level.

Gbenga Onayiga is the Diocesan Communicator, Anglican Diocese of Abuja.

Update
Fr Jake has provided a helpful supplement to this article, see Akinola’s Primacy: The Rest of the Story. And a commenter there adds a link to the 2006 New York Times article which concludes with:

“Self-seeking, self-glory, that is not me,” he said. “No. Many people say I embarrass them with my humility.”

Anyone who criticizes him as power-seeking is simply trying to undermine his message, he said. “The more they demonize, the stronger the works of God,” he said.

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Pat O'NeillGöran Koch-SwahneFather Ron SmithAlex G.drdanfee Recent comment authors
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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Words fail me. Though I would point the Archbishop and his spokespeople to the many texts in the Gospels about humility.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Words fail me. Though I would point the Archbishop and his spokespeople to the many texts in the Gospels about humility.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I as a European (especially a Northern European) always find this kind of overly American PR speak to blush for. “Success”???

kieran crichton
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kieran crichton

Never let it be said that bushels and lights go together in Abuja…

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Reminds me of something from a cult of personality, reminiscent of Stalin, Kim il Sung, Ceausescu and all the others.

JPM
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JPM

Once again, Akinola embarrasses us with his humility!

Roger Stokes
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Roger Stokes

For anything to be deemed a success you first have to define the criteria you will use in judging it. What was Peter Akinola seeking to achieve? To what extent has it been achieved? Have there been any adverse side-effects? Is the supposed success secure or will the positive be lost in the relatively short-term so that only the negative aspects remain?

Pluralist
Guest

Such writing forces me towards doing a cartoon of the man with rounded extremities of his body visible and someone with a large tongue nearby.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Sickening. This piece opens with this lie: ¨Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion¨ while Akinola promotes the dehumanizing, anti-human rights excluding and blind fear and hate mongering of Anglicans and Muslims throughout the land of Nigeria…he´s admired for building a Church on the popular idea that is ok to hate thy neighbor (and sometimes jail, massacre and does whatever his dangerous superstitious phobias drives him to do).

The man is a free-for-all of arrogance not a saint.

Malcolm+
Guest

As a PR practitioner in my non-clerical life, I must say to my friend Göran that he shouldn’t attribute the flowery fluff of this article to “overly American PR speak.” I have never met a PR practitioner who wrote so badly – even if s/he tried.

JCF
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JCF

The more Akinola’s PR spews, the better it is for TEC’s cause within the AC! Keep (your mouthpieces) talkin’, Big Pete!

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Archbishop Akinola has succeeded in putting the Primacy of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at a level that will take a very long time to equal nationally, regionally and globally. By the foregone indications, he has immensely endowed the future generation of Anglicans in many unprecedented ways.” – Diocesan Communicator, Diocese of Abuja – Such humility! Such self abnegation! And all from the Carpenter cum Primate of All Nigeria One thing that His Excellency will be most remembered for is his blatant power-broking among the Global South Primates, in which he has broken faith with the Anglican Communion by… Read more »

Bill Carroll
Guest

Let’s face it: this man is a better representative of Christianity than Jesus himself.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“[T]his kind of overly American PR”? Whether you like it or not, PR is a necessity for large, complex institutions and the people who lead them. This fact seems to be something that most Northern Europeans acknowledge. Even when Volvo was independent, I do not recall it abandoning the airwaves to GM and Toyota. Like anything else, however, PR can be done well, or done badly. This Guardian article is laughably bad. Let me assure you that no PR person in the U.S. would find this article remotely effective. To call this article “American” in its approach is simply inaccurate.… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

When conservative believers want to appreciate somebody, what we usually get is a sort of hagiography. Thus Akinola is a sort of Anglican African Billy Graham to the big, rich, and powerful. An archbishop, the anti-Spong? It’s not all that far, folks, to the C Street House and network of cover foundations, nor to that oufit that likes to call itself, The Family. In this instance, the hagiography sounds clear overtones of USA publicity management, as well as overtones of media image management. It’s not all that far from this sort of hoo-ha to the stage managed press conferences and/or… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

I have been thinking of how ministry and kind of failure so often go hand in hand in ministries, from Jesus onwards. I am reading Green’s The Power and the Glory. There is a lot for reflection in all this.

David G
Guest

Excuse me while I go vomit!!

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Malcolm, to us it is American PR – Dollar grins, as we used to call their cars – we have a very strong cultural taboo against self-advertising.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

L Roberts wrote: “… kind of failure so often go hand in hand in ministries”

My first Bishop Martin Lönnebo, once said à propos Rhema Theology, often called success-theology, that to him rather, Christianity was a kind of decess-theology…

ehculver
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ehculver

1) Yelwa?

2) …and I thought I could suck up! I’m in the minor leagues.

Stuart
Guest
Stuart

The article reads to me neither as American PR nor as conservative house-style, but as a typical Nigerian news article. If you read the Nigerian press you will see articles in closely similar language about business leaders, politicians and others. There is a general tendency both to hagiography and to flowery language.

Pluralist
Guest

There’s hagiography and there is bizarre glorification (of Akinola) that would wear out anyone’s tongue. So I thought I’d take a look and this is a comparison – positive but not overwhelming at all:

http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/life_style/article06//indexn3_html?pdate=290809&ptitle=Folashade%27s%20Dance%20With%20Destiny&cpdate=010909

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

Did anyone read why Gbenga was appreciative? Can any one fault him on these? Guardian Sunday articles stay online for only a week. Simon may want to include the full article so people would not judge by reading only the 3 paragraphs quoted above. Many Nigerian Anglicans truly appreciate the visionary leader God used to grow the Church of Nigeria.

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s silence about Akinola’s public statements is both astounding and cowardly. Will Rowan ever address these right wingers the way he addresses the progressive thinkers in the Episcopal Church in America? Pathetic that he says NOTHING!

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

An outré individualism expressed in terms of individual “scuccess”, with some big words threwn in for good measure… And how is this not the Chicago School and Reaganomics?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Tunde

Thank you for that information, but the article appears to have been removed already from the Guardian site.

The full text is still available, and I imagine will remain indefinitely, at
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=14511

I will amend the article above.

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

The following from the body of the write-up might explain the author’s idea of ‘success’ which I share. “If an achiever or an accomplished man is one who pursues set goals and accomplishes same; then the man, Peter Akinola is an undisputable achiever and an accomplished man.”

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“If an achiever or an accomplished man is one who pursues set goals and accomplishes same; then the man, Peter Akinola is an undisputable achiever and an accomplished man.”

Doesn’t that rather depend on what those goals are and by which means they are being achieved?

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

As is often the worldly case, our difficulties with Akinola are not mainly his leadership successes, in themselves, but the manner in which he steps on target people (queer folks comes to mind, I’m sure he has other targets, too) in order to lead and succeed. Akinola’s fear and hostility towards those whom his preaching targets do not stand up as positive instances of leading or succeeding, when given close, careful critical best practices ethical scrutiny. Akinola ends up looking and sounding, much too much like a heavy hitter in some international global corporation that makes billions each year off… Read more »

Alex G.
Guest
Alex G.

Let us pray that Akinola’s successor will be someone who gets his priorities right. Let us pray that he is someone who is not fixated by the marginal and deeply divisive issue of homosexuality, which inevitably leads to violence, prejudice and discrimination against a beleaguered minority. Let us pray that he is not someone who exploits the delicate issue of sexuality to promote himself on the world stage. Let us pray that he is someone who will actually have the guts to speak out against the endemic financial corruption in Nigerian society, which includes the Christian Church. Now that would… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

But surely, the “goals” must be determined somehow? They can’t just be whatever happens?

In this particular case some sort of contact with/knowledge of Christianity and the Gospels seems aposite.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Let us pray that Akinola’s successor will be someone who gets his priorities right.” – Alex G – Indeed! This should be the prayer of all of us. However, in the culture of the Nigerian Church, one wonders how much individual choice there might be among the bishops of the province – to choose someone of a less confrontational bent towards people of LGBT gender/sexuality. In the context of cultural pre-suppositions in protestant religious thought in the Global South constituency, it may be difficult to find one single Anglican Bishop in Nigeria brave enough to face the challenge of the… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Well… as I remember ++Abuja has actually spoken out on corruption. But one swallow doesn’t summer make…