Saturday, March 29, 2014


Adelani Akande Ph.D


The reality of violence, injustice, discrimination, moral laxity, disorder, theft and drug culture cannot but raise questions on the relevance of the Church in a society like Nigeria. It is believed that “the influence of the Church should spread among the people.”[1] The church herself is not comfortable or satisfied with the sociopolitical condition of the society and this is evident in the pronouncements, of church leaders in print and electronic media.

The ills enumerated earlier and many others have at various times attracted the attention of the various governments which assumed reins of power and (they) embarked on programmes aimed at social reformation. Examples of such programmes are: War Against Indiscipline (WAI), Mass Mobilization for Self Reliance and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), War Against Indiscipline and Corruption (WAI-C) and National Orientation Agency (NOA). The social problems seem to have defied the efforts of the governments and individuals who care to express their views of disapproval.

Change in man results in change in the society. This is affirmed with due regard to Campbell’s opinion on theology of social change.[2] The problem with man apparently is the problem with the society. Without a change in man, the society can witness no change. Efforts at reforming man, be it individual or corporate, is at the best an exercise in merely scratching the problems on the surface. The change in man makes the starting point. A picture of what obtains in a man when the power of the gospel is at work in him is painted by Robert Doyle. He stated that:

Whenever the gospel is by any nation owned, received, embraced, it is the blessing, benefit, prosperity, and task of the nation…The reception of the Word of truth and subjection of Christ therein causing people to become willing in the day of his power, entitle that people to all the promises that ever God made to His Church… To the prosperity of a nation two things are required; 1st that they be freed from oppression, injustice, cruelty, disorder, confusion in themselves from their rules, or otherwise; 2ndly, that they be protected from the sword and violence of them that seek their ruin from without. And both of these do a people receive by receiving the gospel.[3]

With us is the reality of the need for social changes such that will grant to people purpose and fulfillment in living. These expectations remain illusory in spite of efforts to overcome them. The relevance of the Church is being called to question bearing in mind the claim of the Church to divine resources to effect change in man, a change which ought to reflect in communal living. The Nigerian Baptist Convention is a noticeable group in Nigeria whose role in affecting social change is now being examined.

Brief History of the Nigerian Baptist Convention

The Nigerian Baptist Convention came into existence in March 1919.[4]  It grew out of a union of Yoruba Baptist known as Yoruba Baptist Association.

There were several meetings which took place before the formation of Yoruba Baptist Association. Between 1898 and 1901, Rev. C. E. Smith organized Workers’ Institute which met to discuss theological and evangelical topics; there was the Native Workers’ Conference which metamorphosed into meeting of Mission Workers.[5] In January 1913, Dr. George Green and M. Duvall were asked by the Baptist Mission to arrange for a meeting of the Yoruba Baptists. By July of the same year, S. G. Pinnock was put in charge of the arrangements of the meeting. The meeting took place at Ibadan between March 11 – 12, 1914, where there were fifty-three (53) messengers drawn from fifteen towns. Major developments at the inaugural meeting were election of officers and formulation of Constitution and Bye-laws for the Convention. The latter was stated for approval the following year.[6]

In 1918, there was a proposal to change the name from ‘Yoruba Baptist Association’ to the ‘Nigerian Baptist Convention’ and in 1919, the proposal was formalized.[7] The Convention periodically met to discuss on education, Baptist doctrine, Church work, evangelism, theological training, worship and ordination. In 1925, the first Ministers’ and Christian Workers’ meeting took place.[8] For a long time the meetings of the Convention were held in the Yoruba speaking part of the South, but in 1929, the Convention Session took place at Sapele. In 1930, the meeting took place at Kaduna. Between 1914 and 1939, Baptist work had spread to Sapele, Niger Delta, Iselle Uku, Ijebu, Oke-Ogun, Eku, Bariba, Enugu, and Port Harcourt.

Apart from church planting, the Convention established schools at primary and secondary levels. Baptist Academy which was begun in 1921 became a secondary school in 1925. In 1919, Abeokuta Boys’ High School was started. These schools were both centres of learning and evangelism. Apart from the regular subjects of Arithmetic, Reading and Writing, the schools organized religious education programmes in which pupils had opportunities to build up their faith in Christ. While the Convention was the proprietor of these schools, she also received government grants to run the schools.

The activities of the Baptist mission and the Nigerian Baptist Convention continued side by side. The Mission established special schools to cater for converts who could not do much formal academic work. An example of such schools is the Elam Memorial School at Shaki. It was established to cater for uneducated older women (who were not literate) so that they could be helped in house work and church work. Many pastors’ wives were trained in the school at Shaki.[9]

Specific Changes

Activities of the Nigerian Baptist Convention were not limited to planting of churches and establishment of schools. In addition to these, the Convention also engaged in health programmes by providing hospitals, dispensaries and specialized medical services. Attention will now be focused on specific areas of change affected by the Convention.

Religious Change

Activities of the Convention are most pronounced in the area of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to people and the gathering of such people together for the purpose of regular worship and teaching, an exercise in church planting and church growth.

S. C. Mbang had observed that, “since the arrival and spread of the Christian religion, the world has not been the same again.”[10] Nigeria has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of the fruit of the Christian religion. An interpretation of the change implied by Mbang’s statement may be better appreciated against a background of comparative observation of the religious life of a particular nation before and after that nation came into contact with Christianity.

A cursory account of the religious life in Nigeria will reveal the influence of Christianity in general and of Baptist in particular, especially in the South where the influence is strongest. The degree of commitment to Baptist faith among adherents vary. Someone had referred to the impact of Christianity on Nigerians as merely “skin deep.”[11] Comments on the impact of Christianity on Nigeria had not been complimentary always. However, there is no denying the fact that the religious life of the Nigerian did change with the coming of Christianity. Assessments of the impact have depended upon perspectives and biases of individuals.

An appreciation of the impact of Christianity on the change in the religious disposition of Nigeria is evident in the assessment of Bola Ige, a discussant at the Annual Religious Studies Conference in 1991. He noted:

Whereas early European missionaries condemned (the) Nigerian society as barbarians, uncivilized, pagan-Christian theology (particularly Protestant) has moved away from that position. By and large, Christians in Nigeria accept that to be a Christian is not to be ‘European’ in thought and culture.[12]

Ige’s comment quickly reminds one of the likes of Mojola Agbebi, a Baptist leader, who made concerted efforts to concretize the ideals highlighted by Ige – a Christian faith relevant to African culture. It was said of Agbebi that he was concerned about ‘the superficiality of Christianity in West Africa.[13]

The prejudice of Ayandele against the American and European missionaries notwithstanding, his assessment of Christianity at a time when the likes of Agbebi sought to give meaning to African Christianity shed some light on the religious life of Nigeria. This will enhance one’s appreciation of the influence of Agbebi and others in the religious life of Nigeria, particularly Christian religion Ayandele wrote:

Indeed by 1902, European Christianity had become a dangerous thing: an empty and delusive fiction; debauching Africans with alcohol, promoting immorality, deceit, hypocrisy and indulging in swamis flesh. It had become a religion which points with one hand to the skies, bidding you “lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven,” and while you are looking up graps all your worldly goods with the other hand, seizes your ancestral hands, labels your forests and places your patrimony under inexplicable legislation.[14]

In essence, Christianity as described by Ayandele, had not appealed to the Nigerian ethos. The effort of early nationalist Christian leaders like Agbebi should be recognized alongside with people like James Johnson and Otunba Payne. They all made efforts to make the Christian faith indigenous to Nigeria.[15] This is not to blindfold one from some of the excesses of these nationalist Christians. One cannot justify the membership of Mojola Agbebi in the Society of Ancestral Mystics, Saskatchewan-on-Hudson[16] but as Ayandele himself observed, it was the “failure of Christianity to be deeply rooted in the people” which “impelled educated Africans to study their religion in order to see how much feature of indigenous worship could be granted ‘the pure milk of the gospel.”[17] The likes of E. Bolaji Idowu, B. H. Kato, and Osadolor Imasogie have followed in the footsteps of Agbebi in making the Christian faith relevant to and incarnate in Nigeria and in Africa.[18]

The issue of indigenization or contextualization or acculturation is of interest in contemporary theological debates which go on in the nation. While she is not alone, the activities of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso alongside her Catholic counterparts is recognizable in the unfolding trend in theological discourse in Africa. A voice was heard from a Baptist in the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT) when the Association debated on how the Christian faith could be at home with the Christians in African setting.[19]

Some of the early Baptist missionaries might have noticed the ambivalence in the confessions and practices among adherents of the Christian faith among Nigerians. It was Susan Anderson who observed that: “As long as African lack that discernment and ability to know and choose from our Western civilization, only those things that fit into his situation and help him just so long as will the white man rule his country”.[20]

While it appeared that the missionaries were helpless in resolving the incongruity, the effort in pointing attention to it deserves commendation. Here again, a significant contribution of the Baptists to the religious changes in Nigeria is seen. Apart from the religious, an area where the influence of the Convention is most profound is in the area of education.

Educational Activities

An account given by one of the first generation of American Baptist missionaries, Charles E. Maddry on the level of education and enlightenment in Nigeria in the latter part of the nineteenth century provided an insight into what challenges the Baptist Convention was faced with vis-à-vis education in Nigeria. Maddry wrote that,

It is disappointing to note that after three-quarters of a century of British occupation, there is still no adequate and comprehensive plan in sight for the education and enlightenment of the masses. With the exception of one or more institutions of higher grade for the training of government officials and special workers of 20,000 inhabitants of Nigeria are dependent for education upon the church schools of the several mission societies working in Nigeria.[21]

It was not surprising therefore, that during “the period of 1915 to 1960 Nigeria saw the mission plunge with determination into the attempt to educate the country’s children.”[22] Western education provided by the colonial government and greatly assisted by the missionaries gradually transformed the Nigerian society from a superstitious fearladden society into an enlightened, confident, and psychologically emancipated community.

Pre-colonial Nigeria community educated her people along the line of family trade or profession. The family served as the school, while the elders educated the young folks on the rudiments and practice of such family trade. Usually these young ones are genetically predisposed to learning such family professional trade which could be leatherwork, wood-carving, calabash-carving, drumming, black-smithing, dying (mainly among women), hunting, night-watching, to mention a few. These crafts were practiced with such regulation derived from the family custom, ethics of the profession and cultural taboos. Basically, such regulation were aimed at preserving quality and ethics of the trade.[23]

The Baptist Convention was set to effect such a change that was interested in the total development of young persons and in turn, the nation, utilizing education as “an expression of ministry to the whole person.”[24] With such a mind-set coupled with the conviction that “where the light of the gospel has shone (in Nigeria) great changes have taken place and still greater ones are in prospect,”[25] the Baptist Convention engaged in a rapid educational programme that was to transform the Nigerian society. Of the impact of this effort, Collins bore a testimony that, “The number and caliber of national Baptist leaders in the country, both ministers and lay persons, who are/were products of these Baptist educational institutions, proved that the ministry of secular education has borne much fruit.”[26]

Although in the thought of Collins, “Schools were considered primarily as means of evangelizing Nigeria, equipping Baptist leaders and preparing lay persons to be good examples of Christian workers, spouses, parents and community leaders”.[27]

The Baptist Mission wanted to develop churches which will in turn develop the school(s). Among the foremost secondary schools in Nigeria is the Baptist Academy established in 1925.[28] It had produced eminent Nigerian leaders in the public and private sectors.

Paying tribute to the activities of Baptist in the area of education, Paterson gave the following testimony:

Eighteen months ago, I was with a group of American visitors who called on Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Prime Minister of Nigeria’s Western Nigeria and a Methodist, who was once a student in Baptist Boys’ High School, Abeokuta. During the visit I said: “Sir, tell us about the contribution of Christianity to your government.” With evident pride he said, “Every member of my cabinet is the product of a Christian School; four of us were once mission teachers; and more than eighty percent (80%) of our law makers are likewise the fruit of Christian mission.[29]

It was on record that: When Billy Graham asked the students of the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, how many were products of Christian mission, every hand was raised.”[30]

Analyses of the activities of the people who have been helped by Western education through the agency of missionary schools have shown both positive and negative results. Late Dr. E. A. Dahunsi, referring to the crisis of the early sixties in the Western Region, noted that, “Distressing atrocities were committed in the area where our denomination had the strongest influence, where many Baptists were in key positions in government and quasi-government bodies.”[31]  And that was a statement of fact. The leadership provided by Baptist people had not been a failure altogether. Baptists had good reasons to hold their heads high when in 1985, Deacon S. S. Ayanda and Michael O. Akinleye were commended as:

Some of our highly placed Baptist public servants who demonstrated that commitment to Christ surely make a difference in the public lives of those who are committed to Christ…Baptists who came out clear… where their colleagues completely enriched themselves.[32]

Many other Baptists have distinguished themselves in public, private, and ecumenical sectors as a result of the type of education provided by the Convention.

The cream of dedicated individuals who have distinguished themselves have justified the high hopes in the Baptists expressed by Joao F. Soren in his fraternal greetings as President of the Baptist World Alliance to the Nigerian Baptist Convention at  independence in (1960). Joao F. Soren wrote:

Nigeria has become a focal point of international interest as gradual steps have been taken toward national independence… But as we observe the course of developments in Nigeria from a distant perspective, it becomes apparent that these 51,000 Baptists are exerting a very decisive influence upon the nation’s 33,000.000 inhabitants. This is a time when Nigeria Baptists are certainly looking forward to the open doors which providence had placed before them, and which lead into paths of unparalleled opportunities for the furtherance of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, not only in Nigeria, but in the continent of Africa.[33]

These potentialities of Christian education in directing the course of change in Nigeria is also evident in the exhortatory message of Rev. B. T. Griffin. The message also expressed the high premium placed on education in maintaining socio-religious and political equilibrium in the changes that are associated with a developing nation such as Nigeria. Griffin cautioned that:

As Baptists we must keep our denominational ship of Christian education afloat and at full steam ahead. We must be ready for the gales and storms that are sure to come that will seek to wreck her and in the sea of free and secular education, we must keep, man and maintain every one of our Baptists schools and increase their numbers as rapidly as possible. They are light houses of influence, they are dynamos of power; they are a denominational necessity.[34]

For some time, the words of Griffin bore fruit as “Baptist primary schools sprang up almost everywhere, there was a Baptist congregation and secondary schools were established at several points around the country.”[35]

The conviction was strong then among Baptists that:

Only Christian schools can be hoped to produce that type of teachers, business men, core leaders and the like who will be able to combat some of the spirit of communism, nationalism, humanism, and atheism that is sure to be found in state controlled schools.[36]

Griffin an American, must have been informed by his home country’s experience. Whatever regret Baptists may now have in not being able to provide quality education for the present generation of their children is traceable to Baptist poor stewardship of influence and partly due to the spiritual insensitivity against which Griffin had warned years ago. It is on record that in 1942, the British Government made attempts twice to take over a particular Baptist school for military purpose, but one Mr. Perry Jester, an American Consul, son of a Southern Baptist minister interceded for the Baptists and the takeover was shelved.[37]

Presently, Baptists do not have total control over any of the schools taken over by the government in the whole of Nigeria, with the exception of Baptist High School, Jos and the news schools she established. Apparently, the Convention offered little or no resistance to “the gales and storms that came to wreck the Christian education.” Of this significant event in the history of education in Nigeria, Sunday C. Mbang, Patriarch of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, remarked:

The government takeover of schools, the church’s great instrument for inculcating this way of life (Christian dedication and Christian commitment into the citizens of Nigeria has made matters worse. Today some aspects of change – money, politics, and education – have unfortunately influenced the life of many people negatively…Hate, malice, immorality, corruption, hypocrisy, falsehood and other vices have become the way of life of many of our regular church worshippers.[38]

With the aid of hindsight, Ayandele remarked in a similar exercise in assessment, that “undoubtedly the biggest loss of the Church to State is, what was their traditional greatest social asset-control of Western style educations.”[39]

The struggle is still on among Christian denominations to retain the control of primary and secondary schools founded by missionaries. The recovering of mission schools can set the nation on a course of re-discovery and restoration that leads to the realization of such brilliant dream and hopes which were nursed at independence both by the nationalist leaders and the sympathetic missionaries. The Nigerian Baptist Convention is one of the new Christian denominations that took healing ministry along with preaching and teaching. The paper now takes a look at the impact of the Convention on health in Nigeria.


Where the list of the gospel has shone (in Nigeria) great changes have taken places, and still greater ones are in prospect. The old evils that flourished in darkness are dying; behold all things are becoming new.[40]

One ‘old evil’ which plagued pre-colonial Nigeria was superstitious beliefs which were a hindrance to both the religious life of the people and a set-back in their health. For a long time activities of European and American missionaries were concentrated in Lagos. They feared to get into the hinterlands for most of them who did never return alive.[41] The scourge of malaria and yellow fever terminated their lives. West Africa remained the “white man’s grave” until Major Ross discovered quinine as a remedy for malaria.[42] Among the nationals, there was “a vast amount of undernourishment and ill health because of the lack of proper knowledge of preparation and means of preservation of food.”[43] Also

There is almost of total lack of house-life, and the crowded and unsanitary condition of the average compound is conducive to the rapid spread of disease. A distressingly high mortality rate, especially among children and old people is the result.[44]

Ironically, another account of missionary influence in Nigeria attributed increase in mortality rate to the intrusion of the white man over bearing sanitary precaution.[45] The question remains whether the statistics that was used to back such claim was down to earth realistic.

Such was the challenge of the health situation in Nigeria that the missionaries for three decade impressed on the Foreign Mission Board to send medical missionaries to Nigeria, particularly Yorubaland. Memoirs of first generation missionaries and historical works on pre-colonial Nigeria affirm the reality of superstitious fetishism and infant mortality in their pictures of the health situation in Nigeria. The desired changes came through the medical programmes of both the colonial government and the missionaries.[46] The instructional programme in the school curriculum provided enlightenment on health. The establishment of hospitals and specialized centres improved the quality of health among Nigerians.

The three-decade long request of the Baptist missionaries found an answer in the coming of George Green, who was the pioneer Baptist medical worker in 1907 in Nigeria. In addition to the denominational pre-occupation of Dr. Green in providing medical services in Baptist established medical centres, Green and other medical personnel served in the Medical Committee of the Christian Council of Nigeria which advised the colonial government periodically on medical programmes and such policies that guided the transformation of the people’s health.[47]

A notable contribution of Baptists to medical transformation that occurred in the history of the nation is the attention given to lepers. The Baptists share this credit with the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) which also engaged in specialized curative programmes for the lepers.[48] Many in the society had regarded lepers as social outcasts until E. G. Maclean, a missionary dentist, started treating the lepers with injections. Later, Dr, Basil Lee Lockett led in the development of “Camp of Hope” at Ogbomoso. It was Dr. Robert F. Goldie who expanded the work into ten colonies. At intervals inmates who responded to curative medicine were discharged and were again integrated in the society. Medical centres were established in various locations in the country.

Efforts of the colonial government in providing health services could not be felt beyond the colony of Lagos, but the missionaries were willing to go into the hinterlands to provide medical services and dispensaries to the rural populace. Unnecessary deaths were averted by the health programmes planned and executed by the medical and para-medical personnel of the Baptist Mission of Nigeria. Of note are the Kersey Home, Ogbomoso which took care of motherless babies home, and the Baptist Welfare Centre, Iree, which rendered maternity services. The work later spread from the south to the northern part of the country, with the establishment of a Baptist hospital in Kontagora in the early sixties.[49]

In the area of health services the Baptists stood out among the other missionary societies that were involved in the social transformation of the Nigerian community. While other Christian denominations actively engaged in church and social evangelism, the Baptist denomination, through the missionaries, engaged in healing ministry too. Apart from the Catholic Church which also established a few hospitals, none of the Protestant churches was directly involved in providing health services. Much later in 1940, the Seventh Day Adventist provided health services in Ile-Ife a town in the southern part of the nations.[50]There is also a social dimension to the evangelistic efforts of the Convention expressed in church planting, education and health services.  It is worth mentioning that the Baptist Hospital established in 1907 has metamorphosed into a teaching hospital now, Bowe Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso.

Social Action

It is remarkable reading of the experience of a missionary nurse who was approached by a woman to remove two upper teeth of her child. To convince the nurse that she had not made a mistake in her understanding of the woman’s request, the missionary engaged an interpreter who confirmed what the nurse had heard. In her response to the question as to why the woman would want the teeth removed, the interpreter replied:

Our people have a belief that if a baby’s upper teeth come through before the lower ones, it is an ill omen upon the child’s family, so the mother of such a child must put it to death. She has brought her child to you hoping that you can take the teeth out and so remove the curse that she may not have to kill her baby.[51]

Efforts to dissuade the woman did not yield fruit until a senior missionary told the woman that he would commence a daily check on the child. The day he, the missionary, found the baby missing, that same day the mother would be reported to the government officials. Apparently the missionary’s threat did it. The baby was saved. The Nigeria community had come a long way off from such evil. What appear to be an act of callousness or wickedness was a product of a long time indoctrination. The mother would have either strangled the baby to death or smothered it to death. Against such background one can appreciate Susan Anderson’s appraisal that,

Literally, it is not with picks and shovels, and brooms that we prepare the highway for the coming of the Lord in Nigeria, but figuratively it is that the minds of Africa’s children must be dug down into and the older superstitions and fears loosed up and swept out. The tools with which this is done are books – school books. It required patient digging, delicate loosening and much sweeping before the accumulation of many generations of evil and of superstition can be cleared away.[52]

The communal psychotherapy required to cure superstitions malady could not be effectively performed by the government only. The resultant change that came from mental de-schooling was precisely an influence of Christianity and in a particularly sense, of Baptist educational influence. A. C. Burn was quoted as mentioning that.

Although the British government has been able to remove “the fear of the sudden raid at midnight or the murderous ambush on the road: from the people of Nigeria, the more terrible fear of the supernatural still remains and will remain until Christianity and education drive out superstition.[53]

Changes continue where the light of the gospel is shining, the old evils which flourished in darkness are dying fast. It is to the eternal credit of the Baptists that the following words of Churkwudebulu aptly summarized the resilient energy possessed by the Church to effect positive change. He wrote:

Naturally the church of Christ operated without swords or guns, yet it is stronger and more durable that any government organization. The church enjoys the trust and the generality of the people to such degree, not yet known to have been accessible to any other human organization.[54]

Some of the points which have been made earlier may be repeated as a way of highlighting the involvement of Baptists in social action. Apparently the denominational shyness to designate such action social action have root in a tradition of the Southern Baptist who believe that the “church ought to stay out of politics.”[55] Earlier, review on the involvement of Baptists on matters like dancing, alcoholic beverages, pari-mutual betting, missionary endeavours, and tax support for denominational hospitals and parochial schools her taken place. Walter Delamarter could be right in affirming that Baptist churches are involved in a ministry of social action, whether they realize it or not.[56]

Against the background of a concern that transcends the spiritual alone, one is set to examine some vices such as injustice, violence, crime, delinquency that existed in the society. These actions have arisen out of individual social concerns and also corporate social concerns.

It is appropriate to recall the war against such social evils like; pools betting, gambling, night party, smoking, secret societies, slavery, and superstition. Delamarter had remarked that. “Of all people, the people of God should be addressing themselves to the social problem which renders our streets unsafe and our physical environment a serious threat to the survival of all living things.”[57]

Imasogie was not alone in the cry against lottery bill which the government was about to pass in 1953. G. A. Otunla, a Baptist educationist, joined ranks with Imasogie and J. A. Afonja in the war against this social evil. Otunla debunked the false claims of pools promoters and exposed the inherent ills in gambling in his article, “Should Christians Partake in Pools?”[58] Afonja came up with a catalogue of vices that were out to undo quality living in his write up, “Social Evils.”[59] One may not agree with the entire contents of these write-ups, but one cannot ignore the fact that being up in arms against social ills rank their efforts as genuine social actions aimed at sanitizing communal morality.

The activities of Drs. E. G. Maclean, Basil Lee Lockett and Robert F. Goldie did more than curing the physical ailments of those who suffered from leprosy. In designating the settlements of the lepers the “Camp of Hope,” they succeeded in restoring the lepers into the community that erstwhile had regarded them as outcasts. Those who were discharged were rehabilitated by way of making them acquire skills in crafts work or farming by which they can sustain themselves.[60] The establishment of industrial schools at Iwo and Shaki provided men and women with such skills which transformed them from idlers to producers.[61]

It was as a result of the efforts of the Baptist people in Ogbomoso that Christian women were emancipated from the staying in-door ‘decree’ during the Oro traditional festival. Traditionally and hitherto, women were forbidden from coming out during the Oro festival. Such stay in-door order was perceived as both social and religious injustices. Late Rev. S. A. Ige mobilized Christian women who were deprived the opportunity of attending evening worship to defy the stay-in-door order.[62]

An account of this event is given by one Mr. Gabriel on page 5 of the Thanksgiving Service Programme held for the Late Rev. S. A. Ige on Saturday, September 18, 1982 at Ijeru Baptist Church, Ogbomoso. Concerning this event, Mr. Gabriel wrote:

He later carried his crusade for women liberation to the realm of religion. … Rev. Ige pleaded with the Oba, his chiefs and Oro worshippers that sanctions and restrictions imposed upon women be lifted but his was a voice crying in the wilderness. When they did not listen, he organized the women of Ijeru Baptist Church to defy Oro cult by going about their normal business outside their homes during the week of Oro festival. In 1945, he succeeded in persuading Ogbomoso Christians to organize a week of prayer to coincide with the week of Oro festival. It was an open defiance and confrontation with age-old custom and tradition. It was tough battle, but the Lion of Christ at Ijeru won the battle for his Lord and for womanhood.[63]

There were a number of scuffles, but eventually the issue was resolved in favour of Christian women, Rev. S. A. Ige, and the Church, who saw such stay-in order as a violation of fundamental human rights guaranteed in the law of the land and in the scripture.

In 1977, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through an official letter Ref. No. F 9369 of July 18, 1977, compelled all public servants to “subscribe to an oath renouncing membership of every secret society” and “in addition, the deponent of such an oath also forbade himself from joining any such organization in the future no matter the circumstances.”[64] Long before the government clamped down on secret societies, the Nigerian Baptist Convention had been most vocal on this social vice as evident in the Convention Presidential Address of 1960 which reads in part:

The stand of the Nigerian Baptist Convention is clear and unmistakable, for we have not wearied in our denunciation of them. Our attitude in this way is not the result of meditated animosity against any person but the outcome of our belief and conviction that secret cults are incompatible with Christianity and its tenets and belief. While secret fellowship confines itself to a few adherents, Christian fellowship based on the unbounded and redeeming love of God embraces all.[65]

While opinions may vary even among Christians as to the desirability of secret societies in the community, the fact that the issue of secret societies was identified by the executors of the first military coup in Nigeria as one of the social evils in Nigeria is enough to resent it. Part of the account of the coup read:

Another factor responsible for social injustice was the existence of secret cults. These cults helped their members to exploit the remainder of the society in many ways, such as making sure that they always win in law court, that they always got the few available contracts and that they always got all available privileges of the society.[66]

The Nigerian Training Centre for the Blind, Ogbomoso, was started under Dr. & Mrs. R. L. West. It offered social services in providing opportunities for the blind to acquire such skills in arts and craft that made them productive.[67]

In spite of a background of separation of Church and State, the Nigerian Baptist Convention did record some influence on the political life of Nigeria.

Political Activities

It was said that, “Nationalism has a great effect on Nigerian religion.”[68]  But nationalism in Nigeria cannot be discussed without the factor of religion which provided education as a tool in fighting the cause of nationalism. Here again, the activities of the Baptist Convention in the activities of notable individual Baptists like Mojola Agbebi come into memory in the pre-colonial politics. The nationalist zeal in Agbebi found fellowship in some Nigerian Christians who later gave full expression to their ambitions by aligning with political parties of their choices. Individual and corporate efforts of Baptist people are noticeable in the politics of independent Nigeria. Response from a cross section of Baptist people did not give Baptist people a pass mark in their roles in government. The observation of Late Dr. E. A. Dahunsi quoted earlier was an indictment on the witness of Baptist political life of the nation. In his memorandum on the national situation. Dr. Dahunsi wrote that:

We, as Baptists, once derived joy as champion of freedom and justice, of truth and honesty. However, our heads were bowed in shame as people observed that the disturbing atrocities were committed in the area where our denomination had the strongest influence where many Baptists were in key positions in government and quasi-government bodies.[69]

The championing of freedom and justice may have found expression in a relatively few number of Nigerian Baptist people. The crisis to which Dr. Dahunsi was referring occurred in a region where the Premier was a Baptist and a Federal Government Minister; the number two man (Minister of Finance) was also a Baptist.

In this respect we might have flung the opportunity providence gave us as Baptists; we might have dashed the hopes and expectations of well-wishers of the Nigerian Baptists at independence. The immediate past government in Oyo State was handed by a Baptist. There is no doubt he added value to the socio-economic life and the citizen of the State. However history will do an objective appraisal and the government

The Nigerian Baptist Convention is one of the few churches which came from a background of separation in Church-State relationship. The Catholic and Anglican churches practice a Church-State relationship that favoured alliance of the Church with the State. The doctrine of separation as enunciated by the Baptist might not have implied an attitude of aloofness that is being practiced by Nigerian Baptists, but it was responsible for the apparent gap between the Nigerian and the State to an extent that whatever religious role was there for the Church to perform to the nation, such roles went to the Anglican Church or the Catholic Church. This is seen as a vestige of colonialism. The statistics of Baptist clergy in the chaplaincy of both the Nigerian Army and other government institutions may be a reflection and consequence of her doctrine of separation of Church and State. It was not until when a Baptist emerged a head of government in Nigeria that a local Baptist Church played host to a visiting American President,[70] an honour which traditionally would have gone to the Anglican Church.

The doctrine of separation notwithstanding, the Baptist Convention had not totally been irrelevant in Nigerian politics. At different times the Convention had bared her mind on political situations in Nigeria through addresses, sermons and press statements. The official organ of the Convention, The Nigerian Baptist, was credited to be among the magazines which “contributed to nationalist movement after 1914.”[71] The series of sermons that heralded the national independence created an awareness that toned up the political psyche of Nigerians in readiness for national development and construction.

Much of the contributions of the Convention lay in the educational preparation of principal actors in the political life of the nation. Other than that, the Convention had lived up to the letters of her doctrine of separation of Church and State. Whether this should continue or note is a concern of the next chapter.

It is revealed that a climax of several meetings that Baptist missionaries held between 1898 and 1913 resulted in the formation of Yoruba Baptist Association and that the Yoruba Baptist Association metamorphosed into the Nigerian Baptist Convention in 1919.

Corporate efforts of the Church in Nigeria did not submerge the individual identities of the various Christian denominations which existed in Nigeria since the beginning of the century. The Nigerian Baptist Convention was actively involved in the marked social changes which had occurred in Nigeria. The Convention was among the denominations which provided Western education to Nigerian citizens. Such education was a tool in the nationalistic struggle that resulted in the significant political event of October 1, 1960 – Nigeria’s national independence. Education also eradicated many of the superstitious beliefs which enslaved many. It is not as if the influence of the Convention in social changes in Nigeria was altogether impeccable, nevertheless she had touched many facets of the nation’s life in positive ways.

The doctrine of separation of Church and State being practiced by the Nigerian Baptist Convention needs a re-appraisal. These opinions seem to have found an ally in a thought expressed by John Ernest concerning the practice of this doctrine of separation in the United States of America. Ernest is of the opinion that:

Whenever benefit results have attended the American policy on separation of Church and State it has promoted a secularization of life, and has robbed it of the enrichment of motivation, guidance and discipline that religion can give.[72]

In view of the apparent inadequacy of the doctrine of separation, the Nigerian Baptist Convention needs to further identify and respond to the challenges that social changes in Nigeria offer.


The Church is in partnership with the sovereign God in the work of redemption, a divine scheme which covers all areas of life: religious, educational, socio-cultural, and political. The Church must be sensitive to the wave of change in every generation, and be in the forefront to channel change in the right course. The Church must respond to the reality of change with an informed mind, a conscious effort and organized network such that will continually preserve the gain of her evangelistic and social actions. She must also seek to create an atmosphere conducive to educational progress, social peace and moral probity and political stability. Julius Nyerere observed that:

Unless (Christians) participate actively in the rebellion against those social structures and economic organization which condemn men to poverty; humiliation and degradation, the church will become irrelevant to man and the Christian relation will degenerate into a set of superstitions accepted by the fearful.[73]

In conclusion, the wind of change in any given generation should be channeled by the positive input of the Church. This is the challenge, which the Church especially the Nigerian Baptist Convention with her many resources must face.

Work Cited

Akande, S. T. Ola. Presidential Address, 65th Annual Session of the Nigerian Baptist        Convention, Kaduna, April 5, 1978, The Nigerian Baptist, June 1978, p. 13.

Anderson, Susan So This is Africa Nashville: Broadman Press, 1943.

Anyebe, A. P. Ogboni (Ikeja; Lagos; Sam Lao Publishers, 1987), p. 8.

Ayandele, E. A. “Christianity in Independent Africa,” The Nigerian Baptist, No. 12,         (December 1978): 3-4.

Ayandele, E. A. The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria 1842-1914 (London: Longman,         1966). P. 264.

Ayegboyin, Deji Isaac. “Baptist Mission Enterprise at Ogbomoso 1855-1975: Analysis of the       Social Significance of Mission.” M. A. Thesis. Ibadan: University of Ibadan, 1983.

Campbell, Thomas C. “A Theology of Social Change,” Review & Expositor, Vol. LXVIII,            No. 3,  Summer 1971.

Chukwudebulu, R. C. “The Christian Church As An Instrument of National Objectives,” The       Nigerian Christian, vol. 2, No. 11, (November 1975): p. 10.

Collins, Travis The Baptist Mission of Nigeria Ibadan: Associated Book Makers Nig. Ltd.,           1993.

“Commendation for Moral Probity,” The Nigerian Baptist, October 1986, p. 1.

Dahunsi, E. A. “Memorandum on the National Situation,” The Nigeria Baptist,      February/March 1966, pp. 6-7.

Dahunsi, E. A. “Memorandum on the National Situation,” The Nigerian Baptist,    February/March 1966 pp. 6-7.

David Agboola, The Seventh Day Adventist in Yorubaland 1914-1964. Ibadan: Daystar, 1987.

Delamarter, Walter R. “Social Issues and Social Change,” Review & Expositor, Vol. LXIII,          No. 3, (Summer 1971): p. 348.

Fadipe, N. A. The Sociology of the Yoruba Ibadan: University press, 1970.

Griffin, B. T. “Christian Education.” The Nigerian Baptist, January 1953, pp. 5, 12.

High, O. Connor Outlined Notes on the Baptist Work in Nigeria, 1850-1939 Ibadan: Caxton        Press 1970.

Ige, Bola “The Impact of Religion on the Nigerian Society:  “The Christian Perspective,” Silver Jubilee of Religious Studies Conference Paper, Ibadan. December 1991.

J. A. Afonja, “Social Evils.” Nigeria Baptist, October 1960, pp. 13-14.

Johnson, F. Ernest The Church and the Society Nashville: Abingdon-Cokes bury Press, 1935.

La Haye, Sohie de, Tread Upon the Lion Canada: Sudan Interior Mission, 1971.

Lawoyin, S. A. in his Presidential Address at the 47th Session of the Nigerian Baptist        Convention at Sapele, May 4 -6, 1980 published in The Nigerian Baptist, June 1960,          p. 6.

Maddry, Charles E. Day Dawn in Yorubaland Nashville: Broadman Press, 1939.

Mbang, C. S. The Changing World and the Unchanging God, Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1983.

Northcott, Cecil Christianity in Africa Philadelphia: Westeminster, 1963.

Ola, C. S. “The Role of the Church in Natural Development,” The Niger Christian, vol. 10,           No. 6.

Otunla, G. A. “Should Christians Partake in Pools?”, Nigerian Baptist, July 1959, p. 6.

Patterson, I. N. Continent in Commotion Nashville: Convention Press, 1957.

Report, Christian Council of Nigeria, February 23-26, 1938.

Turaki, Yusufu An Introduction to the History of SIM/ECWA in Nigeria 1893 – 1993 Jos:           Challenge Press, 1993, p. 53.

[1]See C. S. Ola, “The Role of the Church in Natural Development,” The Niger Christian, vol. 10, No. 6, (June 1987), pp. 4-5.

[2]Thomas C. Campbell, “A Theology of Social Change,” Review & Expositor, Vol. LXVIII, No. 3,  (Summer 1971), p. 317.

[3]Doyle, op.cit. p. 55, quoting from “Christ’s Kingdom and the Magistrates’ Power,” Works III, 390-1.

[4]Thomas O. Connor High, Outlined Notes on the Expansion of Baptist Work in Nigeria, 1850-1939 (Ibadan: Caxton Press (West Africa) Ltd. 1970, p. 35.

[5]Ibid., p. 34.


[7]Ibid., p. 35.

[8]Ibid., p. 35.

[9]Ibid., p. 35.

[10]C. S. Mbang, op. cit., p. 24.

[11]Bola Ige, “The Impact of Religion on the Nigerian Society:  The Christian Perspective,” p. 3. A paper presented at the 1991 Religious Studies Conference held between September 17 and 20, 1991 at the University of Ibadan.

[12]Ibid., p. 2.

[13]See E. A. Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria 1842-1914 (London: Longman Group Ltd., 1966). P. 264.

[14]Ibid., p. 263.

[15]Ibid., p. 264.

[16]Ibid., p. 268.

[17]Ibid., p. 264.

[18]E. Bolaji Idowu was an academician and a retired Methodist patriarch. He wrote Olodumare; God in Yoruba Belief 1; and many other books. Idowu died in 1994. B. H. Kato was until his death, the General Secretary of the Association of the Evangelicals of Africa and Madagscar (AEAM). He wrote Theological Pitfalls in Africa. Kato got drowned in Kenya on December 19, 1975. Osadolor Imasogie,  a Baptist, retired as President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, in March 1993. He wrote Guidelines for Christian Theology in Africa and many other books. Imasogie is spending his retirement in his home town, Benin City, Edo State to Nigeria. These three men have made significant contributions to theological discourse in Africa.

[19]Osadolor Imasogie was a resource person in one of the foremost conference of Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians which produced the book The State of Christian Theology in Nigeria 1980-81, edited by Mercy Oduyoye and published by Daystar press, Ibadan, in 1986.

[20]Susan Anderson, So This is Africa (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1943), p. 50.

[21]Charles E. Maddry, Day Dawn in Yorubaland (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1939), p. 25.

[22]Travis Collins, The Baptist Mission of Nigeria (Ibadan: Associated Book Makers Nig. Ltd., 1993), p. 45.

[23]N. A. Fadipe, The Sociology of the Yoruba (Ibadan: University press, 1970), pp. 154-155.

[24]op.cit. p. 45.

[25]op.cit. p. 1.

[26]op.cit., p. 45.


[28]op.cit., p. 34.

[29]I. N. Patterson, Continent in Commotion (Nashville: Convention Press, 1957), p.  59.

[30]Cecil Northcott, Christianity in Africa (Philadelphia: Westeminster, 1963), p. 52.

[31]E. A. Dahunsi, “Memorandum on the National Situation,” Nigeria Baptist, February/March 1966, pp. 6-7.

[32]“Commendation for Moral Probity,” The Nigerian Baptist, October 1986, p. 1. A front page comment, the author of which was not indicated.

[33]op.cit., pp. 1-2.

[34]B. T. Griffin, “Christian Education.” The Nigerian Baptist, January 1953, pp. 5, 12.

[35]op.cit., p. 45.

[36]Griffin, op.cit., p. 5, 12.

[37]op.cit., p. 22.

[38]op.cit., p. 5.

[39]E. A. Ayandele, “Christianity in Independent Africa,” The Nigerian Baptist, No. 12, (December 1978): 3-4.

[40]Soren, op.cit., p. 1.

[41]Yusufu Turaki, An Introduction to the History of SIM/ECWA in Nigeria 1893 – 1993 (Jos: Challenge Press, 1993), p. 53.

[42]Sophie de la Haye, Tread Upon the Lion (Canada: SIM, 1971), p. 89.

[43]Maddry, op.cit., p. 91.


[45]E. A. Ayandele, op.cit., p. 279. In a wave of nationalism, residents of Lagos had argued that the high rate of infant mortality was to a great extent caused by the European clothing heaped upon children… Their conviction was reinforced by statistics which induced that in spite of sanitary measures by the administration to improve the health of Lagos, the mortality rate rose from 10/100 to 40/100 between 1881 and 1918.

[46]Report, Christian Council of Nigeria, February 23-26, 1938.

[47]Collins, op.cit., pp 29-39 Collins did observe that Dr. George Green was not an American Citizen.  Green was a British citizen attending First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginal, when he was appointed.


[49]Collins, op.cit., p. 43.

[50]David Agboola, The Seventh Day Adventist  in Yorubaland 1914-1964 (Ibadan: Daystar, 1987), p. 23.

[51]Anderson, op.cit., p. 89.

[52]Ibid., p. 85.

[53]A. C. Burn as quoted by Susan Anderson in So This Is African. P. 85.

[54]R. C. Chukwudebulu, “The Christian Church As An Instrument of National Objectives,” The Nigerian Christian, vol. 2, No. 11, (November 1975): p. 10.

[55]Walter R. Delamarter “Social Issues and Social Chang,” Review & Expositor, Vol. LXIII, No. 3, (Summer 1971): p. 348.



[58]G. A. Otunla, “Should Christians Partake in Pools?”, Nigerian Baptist, July 1959, p. 6.

[59]J. A. Afonja, “Social Evils.” Nigeria Baptist, October 1960, pp. 13-14.

[60]Paterson, op.cit., p. 53.

[61]Ibid., p. 54. See also Anderson, op.cit., pp. 95-98.

[62]“Mr. Gabriel, “Thanksgiving Service Programme, pp. 5-6. This was the thanksgiving service for the Late Solomon A. Iga (1990 -1982) held on Saturday, 18th September 1982 at Ijeru Baptist Church Ogbomoso. See also Deji Ayegboyin, “Baptist Mission Enterprise at Ogbomoso 1855 – 1975; An Analysis of the Social Significance of Mission,: M. A. Thesis (Ibadan; University of Ibadan, 1983), pp. 186-189. Here a more detailed account is given.


[64]A. P. Anyebe, Ogboni (Ikeja; Lagos; Sam Lao Publishers, 1987), p. 8.

[65]S. A. Lawoyin in his Presidential Address at the 47th Session of the Nigerian Baptist Convention at Sapele, May 4 -6, 1980 published in The Nigerian Baptist, June 1960, p. 6.

[66]Adewale Ademoyega, op. cit., p. 45.

[67]Ayegboyin, op. cit., pp. 152 – 153.

[68]Walter Schwarz, Nigeria (London; Pall Mall Press, 1968), p. 56.

[69]E. A. Dahunsi, “Memorandum on the National Situation,” The Nigerian Baptist, February/March 1966 pp. 6-7.

[70]S. T. Ola. Akande, Presidential Address, 65th Annual Session of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Kaduna, April 5, 1978, The Nigerian Baptist, June 1978, p. 13.

[71]Ayandele, op,cit., p. 342.

[72]F. Ernest Johnson, The Church and the Society (Nashville: Abingdon-Cokes bury Press, 1935), p. 126.

[73]Julius Nyerere as quoted by Denton Lotz, Director of Evangelism and Educaiton, Baptist World Alliance in his lecture, “Lesson From Missionary for Strategies in the Evangelization of Africa.” Also consultation on Co-operation and Partnership Between Nationals and Missionaries in Africa (Ibadan; BWA, 1987), p. 119


Allen Olatunde


The essay, “Life and Works of Thomas Jefferson Bowen and the Challenges for Contemporary Nigerian Baptist Missionaries”, is an historical work that reflects on the good, the bad and the ugly experiences of a Southern Baptist missionary, T. J. Bowen and the relevant applications for contemporary missionaries in Nigerian Baptist context. The significance of the study lies on the ability to pioneer missions among the people of strange culture, language, colour and values successfully. This project researches into problems observable in the life and works of Bowen that need clarification. They are problem of contextualizing mission, developing means and strategy for language barriers, mission funding and support, neglecting education as mission tool and ill-health challenges of missionaries which usually truncate dreams. This essay adopts historical method using library research, interview, and online resource tools. Through critical analysis of the adventure of Bowen, it was discovered that he pioneered Baptist missions in Central Africa and Brazil from 1850 to 1860 where he faced war against slavery and gospel. It was observed that Bowen had a good beginning but ended with discouraging and pathetic trauma. In the process of the research, the mission of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC) in line with Bowen’s pioneering task was analyzed. It was discovered that the weakness and external threat of NBC missions in comparison with Bowen’ and churches outweighs her strengths and opportunities. The weak points are funding system, welfare of serving and retired missionaries, health matters and unhealthy rivalry with churches on missions. It is however recommended that the Global Missions Board (GMB) of NBC should be pragmatic in strategic making. She should be aware of the psychological welfare of her missionaries and provide a health insurance scheme for serving missionaries. 

The complete work in publication is coming soon.


Adelani Akande, PhD. (2011)
                Paul and Barnabas were great servants of God who were exemplary in missionary activities in the early church. They carried great grace of God upon themselves which the church attested to. As spiritual as these men were, the issue of including John Mark in the team for another mission trip caused a great division to the extent that Paul and Barnabas parted ways. Paul went with Silas while Barnabas went with John Mark. The good news is that the issue was later resolved amicably in the spirit of Christ and John Mark was a welcome person in the company of Paul.
This summary of a narrative in the book of Acts underscores the fact that anointing, and grace notwithstanding, crisis do occur among leaders in mission organizations. When they occur, they should not be allowed to destroy the mission endeavor of the organization; rather the crisis should be an occasion for evaluation, realignment and repositioning for greater exploits.
What factors can precipitate crisis in a mission organization? Writing on “Leadership Pitfalls: Preventing the Killer Disease” in Effective Christian Leadership in the 21st Century, Supo Ayokunle identified ten of such factors.They are: authoritarianism, communication gap, nepotism, failure to learn, failure to maintain focus, conflicting signals, apathy to workers’ welfare, and incorrigibility. The list is by no means exhaustive but it covers a wide spectrum which accounts for the crises which occur on our mission fields.
Leadership is so crucial to success in mission endeavors that it becomes prime target of the devil as it seeks where to throw the spanner with the aim to halt the wheel of progress. Or how can one explain the rigidity of Paul and Barnabas on an issue that appeared so simple?
What are the effects of crisis when they occur? Crises do cause temporary setback, separation, bad blood, rancor, distraction, low morale among other things. The degree to which all these effects take root depends on the skills employed to deal with the crisis. Where the crisis is managed with prayer and God’s wisdom, the effects are minimal and the hurts are soon healed. But where the crisis is full blown and things go haywire, the loss can be of great magnitude. The body of Christ is fractured, the testimony of the church is weakened and members are in spiritual and emotional disarray.
What can be done to avoid or minimize the effect of crisis in any missionary organization? As it is in the physical so it is in the spiritual that prevention is better and cheaper than cure. The more effective leaders are, the less vulnerable the organization is to crisis. And when crisis occurs, it will not be difficult to handle it.
In essence, leaders in missionary organizations should endeavor to grow in their relationship with God, grow in the grace of humility, be committed to a life of integrity, sincerity and accountability. They should be patient, focus on their vision, demonstrate courage in the face of crisis. They should grow in the skills that enhance leadership – communication skill, motivational skill, decision making skill, relational skill, organizational skills, and forecasting skill (Ayokunle 13-14).
Crises are inevitable because the principal actors in mission enterprise are imperfect beings with flaws, weaknesses, and prejudice tucked away from easy detection. When these vices rear their heads, crisis ensues. If the crisis is not well handled, it can cause serious damage to the overall plan of the organization. It behooves leaders to avail themselves of necessary skills to deal with it.


Adeney writes on the positions of women doing missions that during most of the history of Christianity, theology has been the domain of man. While women were leaders in the early church, as the church, women were relegated to positions of learner and follower. Men became the educated Christian teacher, as the ones that studied the word and interpreted the Bible to others (277). In the early stage of the gospel, women traveled with Jesus, formed churches in their households instructed Christian leaders, and even became apostles. Those missionary activities developed out of and supported a women’s mission theology of action, leadership, and dedication to the gospel. Woman participated in church leadership even after the middle of the second century. Tertullian decaled that woman dared “to teach, to debate, to exorcise, to promise cures probably even to baptize” (Fiorenza 1979:51). More recently, during the missionary movement beginning in the first great awakening in America, and moving on to the present, many women were called to be missionaries (Robert 1997).
Although they worked diligently alongside of man and often found themselves leading or instructing men, generally they did not hold positions of power, nor were they welcomed to study in higher institutions to prepare them for theology. Nonetheless, women have been doing mission theology during these centuries making their mark on Christian mission. Many records of women’s mission work and what they thought about it have been lost, but much is being regained through historical work like that of Dana Robert, Dianna Reistroffer, and Bonnie Sue Lewis. The experience of encounter and calling as missionary woman creates, for many woman, a huge tension in their personal lives. Many woman called to mission have neither theological understanding of leadership nor a supportive community (Frances 278-9).
Dries notes historically that in the 19th and much of 20th centuries, the Roman Catholic appropriation of “woman’s work for women” found expression in philosophical, biblical, and theological language which attempted to support the human dignity of woman but which also kept the gender domains separate (127-142).  However, commonly identified missionary virtues of zeal, self-sacrifice, prayer, generosity, improvisation, initiative, and frontier spirit knew no gender, even though standard mission theory identified woman missionary as “auxiliary” to the task of mission. Over the decades, woman’s attention to the health, education and spiritual needs of people built up the social service and educational institutions, wherever they served (Dries 301).
However, the role of women in evangelizing the pagan Roman world displays the energetic position of women in missions. As any veteran pastor can testify, women on the whole put men to shame when it comes to attending church and serving their Lord in various organizations in a local congregation. One gets a hint of a similar situation existing in the early Church. It was women, not men, who cared enough to finish embalming the dead body of Jesus, only to be rewarded with the privilege of being the first people to see the risen Christ (Pless 1985).
Throughout the book of Acts, women play a prominent role. Dorcas, Lydia, Priscilla, the four prophesying daughters of Philip, the upper-class women of Berea and Thessalonica as to name a few. While little is extant in early Christian literature about women publicly preaching the Word, Green and Harnack especially point out that the dedication of Christian women in the face of martyrdom could not but help make a deep and lasting impression on both their persecutors and the unbelieving world in general. The two most notable examples of Christian women martyrs are Perpetua (d. 203 A.D.) and Blandina (d. 177 A.D.) Green: “If women like this were at all typical throughout the varied social strata of the Church, it is hardly surprising that the gospel overcame the enormous obstacles in its way, and began to capture the Roman Empire” (Green 175).

Works Cited
Adeney, Frances. Women Doing Mission Theology. Missiology, An International Review Journal, Vol. XXXIII, No 3, July 2005.
Dries, Angelyn, OSF. American Catholic ‘Woman’s Work for Woman’ in the Twentieth Century. Dana Robert, ed. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2002.
Dries, Angelyn, OSF. U.S. Catholic Woman and Mission: Integral or Auxiliary? Missiology, An International Review Journal, Vol. XXXIII, No 3, July 2005.
Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. Grand Rapids: Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970.
Harnack, Adolf. The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries. vol. II. Translated and edited by James Moffatt. New York: William and Norgate, 1908.
Pless, Joel L. Evangelism in the Early Church. Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, November 14, 1985.
Robert, Dana. America Women in Mission: A Social History of their Thought and Practices. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1997.


     Rev. Dr. Reuben G. Maiture (JP)  
        Institute of Education, ABU Zaria

Being a paper presented at the International Conference on
Integrating Higher Education, organized by the International Council for Higher Education West Africa, held at Abokoki Ghana, from 25th -28th October 2011.

Education at any time anywhere is capital intensive. Education is a gigantic programme and regarded as the main driver of any national development.  Funding has been a major hindrance to the expansion and rapid development of higher education in Nigeria.  This paper discusses the financing of higher education in Nigeria and the sustainability of higher education in this 21st Century in light of the global economic challenges and the dwindling economy in Nigeria.  Factors affecting the funding of education are discussed and possible solutions offered. The paper examines the budgetary allocations to education which could be regarded as a measure of government attitude to education.  The paper also examines the consequences of inadequate funding as it affects admissions into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.  It concludes with the recommendation that the state of higher education in Nigeria demands a declaration of a state of emergency in order to arrest its eventual collapse, and the participation of private sector in funding education be encouraged.
The seed for the development of higher education in Nigeria was sown in Yaba College in the 1930s.  Although the advent of the 20th century was pregnant with the need for a university education, this dream was not realized until the 19th January 1934 when Yaba College was officially opened by the then Colonial Governor, Sir Donald Cameron. According to Fafunwa (1974:143) the delay in the take up of higher education at Yaba and Zaria was caused by “the depression period and funds were hard to come by.”  This was what led to cut-backs in government spending including funding education. The Yaba College finally took up as a full grown institution, because it already had had its first in-take in 1932 and by 1934 there were second and third year students (ibid, p133).
The scarcity of funds which hindered the smooth take up of a higher education system in Nigeria left the system infested with underfunding which was inherited right from the initial establishment of higher education. The Second World War did not help Yaba College as it eventually led to the dispersion of the students and the college was turned into a military camp (op. cit. 44).
On 13th June 1943 the Elliot Commission was set up and saddled with the need for a university education in West Africa (Taiwo, 1980:88).  The Elliot Commission earmarked Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, Achimota College in Ghana, and Yaba College in Nigeria as campuses (but were designated as Colleges) each with various faculties. With this development, Ibadan took the birth right of Yaba, and the first university college was established at Ibadan in 1948.  However the establishment of a university College was not the wish and aspirations of the people; the popular yearning was a full pledged university. Nonetheless, it was received with mixed feelings. “The public and the press was critical of the institution and even refused to cooperate with it.  The reasons were firstly that Nigeria wanted a university but was given a university college (Fafunwa, op. cit. 149).
Beginning with the establishment of the University College Ibadan in the 1940s, up to the setting up of the first generation universities in Nigeria in the early 1960s, higher education had been described as having their honeymoon in terms of funding.  This was because of a number of reasons. Firstly, it fell within the period of the National Development Plan which had education as one of its top priorities. Secondly, it also fell within the period marked as Nigeria’s “Oil Boom”.  Of course at that time everything was booming, including the funding of education. Akinsanya (2011) points to the fact that during that period, “high priority was accorded to funding higher education, thereby creating the wrong impression amongst Nigerians that funding of higher education is the exclusive preserve of ‘government’.” The government was so carried away that it went ahead to take over private schools mostly mission owned schools. The questions often asked are, “How long did the oil boom last?” and “How well was funding education sustained?”
Conceptual and theoretical framework
Education means many things to many people. The National Policy on Education (NPE) which can be regarded as the encyclopedia of the goals, purposes, and guidelines covering the entire philosophy of education in Nigeria, describes education as a huge government venture. The NPE further states that, “Education is the greatest force that can be used to bring about redress; it is also the greatest investment that the nation can make for the quick development of its economic, political, sociological and human resources” (FME 1981, p5). There is no doubt that education is the largest industry in Nigeria. It is the only social service that has spread so widely into the nook and cranny of the Nigerian society, yet what has always hampered its rapid growth is funding. This implies that government alone cannot execute all that it takes to achieve education. It means that education should be everybody’s business.
Education can be defined as communicating knowledge from one person to another.  It is the process of transferring attitude, wisdom, skills, and information, in preparation for the next generation. Ilori (2005) sees education as the process of adding value to life. Therefore, education is targeting the people to add meaning to the people’s life for national development. Education is one of the necessities for social and economic development of a nation. Education is needed to develop the economy of any nation and funds are required to develop education. Education and human capital development are the only strategies for a sustainable national economy. Education is therefore the main driver for ensuring a healthy and growing national economy. As such education must be properly funded in order to be sustained.
At present Nigeria operates a three ladder educational system namely:  Primary education (Basic education), Secondary education (Post primary), and Tertiary education (Post secondary). Higher education which is the third ladder is the pillar of every development.  It is where the final product of the education industry is completed. Higher Education is the pinnacle of all education. The tertiary level of education in Nigeria is: a) designed to produce an academically sound mind, b) aimed to equip the individual with the essentials of a teacher and leader,
c) dependent on people who are passionately devoted to the search for truth, wisdom and knowledge.
Global Economy and Globalization
The world is shrinking and being described as a village because of globalization.  There have been advances in communication and transportation; space and distance have been overcome by technology.  Globalization increases the influence one part of the world has on the other part of the world (McCain 2009).   Whenever there is a disaster in any part of the world, other parts of the world know it as it is happening. Nations are working hard to catch up with each other nations in terms of national development, vis-a-vis science, technology and ecology through providing quality education. The Global Economic Prospects, published in June 2011, explains that “global economy or world economy generally refers to the economy which is based on economies of all of the world's countries’ national economies. Also global economy can be seen as the economy of global society and national economies – as economies of local societies, making the global one”. The largest economies in the world in 2011 are the United StatesChinaJapanGermanyFrance and the United Kingdom (qtd. in http/ Beginning with the global economic meltdown from 2007 which saw the impact of the global recession on the world's poorest countries, economy of the whole world is in bad shape. Responding to the rise in inflation and the closing of output gaps, authorities in many developing countries began the process of adjusting macroeconomic policy, which had been loosened in the wake of the financial crisis, to a more neutral stance. This made the economists warn of its implications on the Nigerian economy. It could be recalled that the late President Musa Yar’adua (supported by Mr. Charles Soludo, the then CBN governor) and being so carried away with his 7 Point Agenda and the roadmap to achieving the much talked vision 202020, while reacting to the global economic meltdown in a media chat defended by saying, “Nigeria has no cause for alarm” as if Nigeria is not in the comity of nations. He was reminded that Nigeria is part of the international community, so whatever affects any country affects Nigeria.
The Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary defines, “sustainable” as having the necessary physical strength, mental power, skill, time, money or opportunity to do something. Maiture (2010) (quoting United Nation 1987) that stated that; “Sustainable development is about satisfying the needs of the present generation without compromising or diminishing the ability of future generations to satisfy their own needs”. Development is all about growing or progressing from a lower to a higher state or level.  Thus “sustainability” is holding the development that meets the needs of the present and making sure that that development can continue in the future. Every meaningful development must be sustained. Education is a development that must be sustained, maintained and supported at all cost even in the face of economic crisis.
The State of Higher Education in Nigeria
In 1970 the Ashby Commission made a recommendation that 7,500 student be enrolled in Nigeria universities.  But the facts on ground revealed an explosion of 15,272, twice the recommendation.  The admission distribution was as follows: ABU (Zaria) 2,689, UNN (Nsuka) 2,929, Ife 2,413, Unibadan 3,655 and Unilag 2,536. By 1993 the enrolment of Nigeria universities has risen to 97,000 (Baikie, 2002). As pointed out in this report the violation of the recommended enrolment figure by Nigeria universities marked the beginning of a lack of funds in university funding. Funding was expected to grow with population expansion.  The question that people are asking is why should universities that had facilities for only 7,500 students admit 15,272, twice the target? However, the admission was based on the reality on ground.  Take for instance, the UNESCO report of 1985 as in Baikie (2002:269), projected an enrolment into Nigeria’s educational systems as follow: Primary Schools 13.6 million, Secondary schools 2.24 million and Universities 130,000. These figures when compared with the Nigerian population of 120 million at that time, was too small to be contemplated.  When one looks at the demand for university education it is evident that our universities cannot cope, neither can they absorb even a quarter of the number seeking admission as shown in the table below.

Table 1: Pattern of application and admission into Nigerian Universities 1999 – 2005
YearNo. of candidates
seeking admission
 No. admittedPercentage of admission of candidates that applied

Source: JAMB quoted in Kajuru (2011)
This table shows that less than 15 percent of the candidates secured admission into Nigerian universities. Year in year out there is always a stampede into higher education in Nigeria as the result of the mounting pressures for admission.  The admission exercise is always hectic as can be seen in what transpired at ABU for the last 5 years.
Table 2: Admission into ABU 2006 - 2010
YearCandidates seeking admissionAdmittedPercentage of admission of candidates that applied
Source: Academic Office, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
This table shows that the number of candidates seeking admission is always on the increase. Surprisingly ABU has never exceeded 20 percent of the number of candidates seeking for admission even with 63,560 as the highest number of candidates applying for admission in 2010. Out of that number ABU admitted only 8,554 candidates constituting 13 percent, which is the lowest percent it had made in five years. So as seen in both Tables 1&2 it is clear that admission into higher education in Nigeria will continue to be low as long as there are inadequate facilities that cater to the teeming number that are craving to be admitted every year. There is always a huge demand for higher education but only a tiny percentage is able to be admitted.  In a nation such as Nigeria with a rapid population explosion, the facilities on ground could not reasonably sustain education. Population growth would always force an increase in educational enrolment.  Thus there should always be economic develop to grow, support and sustain education.
With the emergence of state universities, private universities, colleges of education, polytechnics and other institutions of higher learning, one would have thought that the problem of the perilous demand for admission into tertiary education was over, but nonetheless it is like a drop in a bucket. At present there are more than a hundred universities and more than two hundred other tertiary institutions in Nigeria (refer to JAMB 2011 Brochure and NUC Bulletin 2009). One fact still remains that there has always been a wide gap between the demands for enrolment based on the desire for education and the available facilities.
Funding Education in Nigeria
Sams (2010) in an interview with Mahmood Yakubu, the executive secretary of the Education Trust Fund, asserts that funding is not the challenge to education in Nigeria but misappropriation and lack of priorities. In his words,
I used to think that the major problem of education sector is funding. But I have slightly modified my views. The major problem may not out rightly be funding. If you start by saying that the problem is funding, you miss a point. Money is supposed to help you solve problems. You have to identify what the problem is first and how much you need to solve the problem. Some institutions say they need some amount; but if you ask them to propose what they want to do with the money, they leave the core objectives and propose to spend the money on tangential issues. So even if the money is available, they will spend the money without addressing the core challenges. How can you tell me that you want to build a fire service centre when students hang around the window in your university because they don’t have enough seats? On the permanent site of a particular university, one of the first things they did was to construct a gate into the university. There is a long stretch of dual carriageway with street lights and at the end of it; the first building you will see is the senate building, housing the vice chancellor’s office. In that university, the library building is still at foundation level, but there is a beautiful edifice for the vice chancellor. In another university, they completed convocation square even before they graduated one person and there is no library building there. So, we need to think fast and prioritize (qtd. in Sams, 2010).
Mahmood Yakubu may be holding an unpopular view about government expenditure on education which he claims has been adequate. He went ahead to debunk the allegation that government has been starving education. In his word, “if there is a fundable proposal and the money is exhausted, we will go to government and ask for more; but if we don’t have fundable proposals, the money will be there unutilized. … You cannot say that the system is starved of funds whereas you have huge backlog of allocated but un-accessed funds” (ibid). Mahmood Yakubu’s claim seems to be supported by Baikie (2002:149,276)) who describes the funding of education as “one of the intractable problems.” He loads the blame on implementers. In his words, the problem is “the excesses of educational administrators, who deliberately inflate contracts, pay ghost workers, present expensive gifts to curry favour, and dot their campuses with uncompleted capital projects, mismanaging funds meant for education.” But contrary to these minority views Akinsanya (2007), Okuramiri et al (2009) hold tenaciously that funding education in Nigeria has never been encouraging, describing the Nigerian government attitude to funding education as ridiculous.  Looking at a rundown of the budgetary allocation to education by the Nigeria federal government from 1990 – 2006 shows the following:

Table 3: Federal Government of Nigeria budgetary allocation to education for 15 years 
 YearPercentage of Annual Budget to Education

Source: Shekarau (2006) quoted in Okunamiri (2009) adapted from CBN report in
Vanguard (2006)

Judging from this table it reveals that Nigeria has never met the benchmark of 26 percent recommended by UNESCO.  The highest that Nigeria has ever allocated to education was 14.9 percent in 1994.  And instead of growing, the practice has been forward and backward. Okunamiri et al (2009:213) conclude that “the fact that Nigeria has continued to budget lowly to education stands out as evidence that the leaders of this nation have not realistically decided to address the issue of poverty, disease, and hunger in the country. Available records have shown that the National University Commission (NUC), the Education Trust Funds (ETF), the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) and other sister bodies entrusted with funding education are accused of slicing even more than 50 percent of any amount requested by institutions. With such attitude Nigeria has continued to be lagging behind in terms of funding education when compared to what is obtained in other countries as seen in Table 4 below;
Table 4: Percentage of Expenditure on Education as a ratio of the total Government Expenditure by some selected countries in Africa Asia 1986-92.

Ghana26 o/o
Botswana21 o/o
Kenya20 o/o
Malaysia19 o/o
Uganda15 o/o
Egypt13 o/o
Indonesia0.09 o/o
Nigeria0.03 o/o
Source: Okunamiri et al (2009) in Shakarau (2006) adapted from UNICEF Report 1994
According to this table Nigeria being the big brother in Africa occupies the lowest position, while Ghana tops the list by satisfying the 26 percent benchmark pegged byUNESCO. It looks unbelievable and ridiculous. One would have expected that the story would be different at the lower levels of education, the secondary and primary, but an analysis of school enrolment in 1991 in some selected countries rated Nigeria as occupying the last position as seen in Table 5 below.
Table 5: Secondary and Primary Schools Enrolment in seven selected countries in 1991

CountryPercentage of Enrolment to Education
Source: Okunamiri et al (2009) quoted in Shekarau (2006) adopted from UNESCO 1995.
This table should serve as a challenge and a wakeup call for Nigeria and all stakeholders in education in Nigeria to go to the drawing table to arrest the situation before its eventual collapse.
Consequences of Inadequate Funding of Education
During the oil-boom period of the 1970s to 1980s Nigeria had a strong economy, but as described by Kolo (2011), there was a jungle approach to expand the educational system. He added that the education sector was expanded by leaps and bounds guided by overly-ambitious policy decisions which had little or no built-in strategic development approaches. So because of the scare-crow on the Nigerian economy, it resulted in a gross underfunding of education, poor resource inputs that can make education functional and qualitative, unwillingness to implement even the best policies and reforms agendas, and a massive brain drain (Kolo, 2011).
The Nigerian government attitude to education has often been evidenced with fund-starvation which has created and promoted a catalogue of corresponding consequences such as:
a)      Poor conditions of teaching and learning
b)      Lack of job satisfaction
c)      Ineffective research and innovation
d)     Weak manpower development and weak capacity building
e)      Production of a hopeless generation
f)       Creation of a generational gap
g)      Increase in armed robbery, kidnapping, trafficking, area boys, Boko Haram, etc.
h)      Prison congestion
i)        The fallen standards in education and low enrolment as well
The managers of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria are in consensus that these institutions are grossly under-funded. Evidence exists on the degree of dilapidation that characterizes the primary and secondary school buildings in all parts of the country; the non-payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances as a result of which strikes are the order of the day; the lack of necessary teaching and learning materials at all levels of the educational system; poor working conditions of all teachers in the country, among other indices. It has also been argued that financial mismanagement and lack of accountability by officials has led to diverting substantial resources from the educational institutions to other ends. In this case two issues are relevant: the need for enough funds and the need for responsible and proper management of the funds. How to achieve these two is a major problem for the Nigerian educational system, and achieving them holds the key to educational development in the country, (qtd. in Onlinenigerian Daily News, Oct. 2011).
However it is a fact that there have been remarkable advances in the nation's educational system at all levels, although bedeviled by several problems, which have continued to plague the educational system. If the proposed Universal Basic Education scheme takes care of the problem of access, those of discipline and funding are yet to be seriously addressed, and addressing them should be one of the major policy thrusts of the present democratic dispensation at both state and federal levels. Undoubtedly, education must be adequately funded if quality is to be guaranteed. In pursuing the ideals of quality, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) should be strongly supported in its efforts at curriculum reform towards greater relevance. Accountability must be enshrined in our socio-economic philosophies and policies. The anti-corruption crusade initiated afresh by the Obasanjo-led administration deserves to be widely supported.
In regards to the agitation for university autonomy, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) did clarify that, “University autonomy and academic freedom connote the right of universities to run their affairs in accordance with the laws and statutes setting them up.  It also means internal democratic governance through the committee system set up by the statutes of each university” (Baikie, 2001: 250).
Hitherto the agitation for the autonomy was necessitated by the fact that “the excessive centralization and laborious bureaucracy of the Ministry of Education could no longer cope with enormity and complexity of the task assigned to the Federal Ministry of Education (FME)” (ibid). One fact remains that autonomy was inevitable since the problems the Ministry of Education had to contend with created a serious flaw.  It could not handle the growing demand in education.  So when the autonomy was finally granted the FME issued the statement that the autonomy for universities is defined in terms of their freedom to govern themselves, appoint their key officers, determine the conditions of service of their staff, control their student admissions and their academic curricula, control their finances and generally regulate themselves as independent legal entities without undue interference from the federal government (Baikie, ibid).
With the granting of autonomy to Nigerian universities, one would have thought that the problem of funding would become a thing of the past, but alas! the situation every time has been going backward.  The National University Commission (NUC), the regulatory body for universities, would always insist that universities should operate within the confines of funds made available to it.  In 1984 an analysis of the disbursements of money to universities shows that hardly any university ever received up to 50 percent of what it demanded from the NUC.  There was always just a slice of the amount approved from what was required. But today whenever there is a showdown between the ASUU and government, the later would go to the media and tell the world that the ASUU is asking for a pay raise for its members. Take for example the 2009 agreement which the ASUU entered into with the Federal Government which centered on the conditions of service, funding of education, university autonomy and academic freedom, as well as other related matters including non-salary components. For two years the government would not honour its part of the bargain, thereby forcing ASUU to issue this resolution: “Budgetary allocations to education have continued to decrease in curious violation of the terms of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement. The agreement provided for a gradual but progressive push towards the provision of 26 percent budgetary allocation for education. On the contrary, budgetary allocation to education in the last two years has continued to diminish while facilities in universities have remained grossly inadequate and in very serious state of disrepair. The attempt by the FGN to convert the ETF into a funding agency rather than the intervention agency that it was meant to be is very unfortunate, (ASUU, Special Bulletin, Vol. 12.No 1, August 16, 2011). The lack of heeding to this agreement made the ASUU go on a one week warning strike thereby grounding academic activities nationwide.
Turaki (2009) summarizes the problems of Nigeria to financial recklessness which has become a cankerworm.  So is the problem of Nigeria’s education a lack of funds?  Does it mean that Nigeria is a poor country?  Absolutely not! Our problem it is said is that of corruption which has become an incurable disease. Nigeria depends so much on one source of revenue; that is oil. There is need to explore other ways of diversifying the sources of funding education in order to get everybody involved.
Ways to Improve Funding of Higher Education in Nigeria
Kolo (2011) argues that a “fledgling economy is no excuse for not making the policy functional if the maxim that no Education System can rise above the quality of its teachers is to be used to anchor an era of functional and quality education system in Nigeria.” For in order to achieve adequate funding of education in Nigeria, a number of deliberate policy measures should be taken and the actions forward are not farfetched. First and foremost there is need for overhauling and reforms in the economic and education sectors. Secondly there should be a change of mindset towards the nation’s economy and education by imbibing positive values and attitudes. Thirdly there should be stringent instruments for transparency and accountability in funds management.
The era of lip service is over. Many people have advocated several cost sharing measures in funding education:
  • Government contributions; governments at all level to provide grants, scholarships, bursaries and loans, etc.
  • Student contributions; fees, tuition, registration, etc.
  • Parents contributions; PTA, levies, etc
  • Alumni Association contributions; levy, sponsoring projects, etc.
  • Private sector contributions; endowment funds, grants, voluntary donations, scholarship schemes, etc.
  • Institutional contributions; investments, printing press, farms, etc.
  1. Government should declare a state of emergency in the higher education sector and government should try to meet the UNESCO benchmark at all times.
  2. Government should finance education properly as underfunding can strangle the development of education. Money should be made available in order to sustain education.
  3. Private sector participation, individuals, organizations, communities, and groups should be encouraged to invest in education as government alone cannot shoulder the burden. The establishment of private universities, colleges of education, and polytechnics is a welcomed development. But there should be strict supervision in order to safeguard against giving people a substandard education.
  4.  Failure to meet the demand for higher education has escalated many of the problems in Nigeria. There is the need for the establishment of more tertiary institutions in order to absorb all the qualified candidates to avoid the stampede in admission exercise that has become an annual saga.
  5. Companies and industries both national and international should be levied to contribute a certain percentage towards education.
  6. In spite of the economic crisis which is a global phenomenon, Nigerians should follow the Rule of Law; shun corruption and misappropriation that have always drained education funds. For Nigeria that is all that it takes to sustain education even in this time of global economic challenges.

There are financial constrains in Nigeria which has made education to suffer. Financing education is supposed to be a crucial, top priority of the government. In order to sustain higher education Nigerian government needs to adhere to the UNESCO 26 percent benchmark of its annual budget. As it is today the demand for university admission has continued to outweigh the available spaces in the universities. The growth in the education sector should attract corresponding growth in funding. There is also the need to adopt a cost sharing formula which will make education everybody’s’ business by participating in funding education. It is only when stake holders strive to play their part in funding education that we can be sure that education will be sustained in the face of seeming comatose state of global economic challenges. The state of higher education in Nigeria demands a declaration of a state of emergency in order to arrest its eventual collapse.

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