Communiqué issued at the end of the first session of the Twelfth synod of the Diocese of Akoko, Ecclesiastical Province of Ondo, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) held at all Saints’ Church Ajowa- Akoko from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th June 2018

Communiqué issued at the end of the first session of the Twelfth synod of the Diocese of Akoko, Ecclesiastical Province of Ondo, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) held at all Saints’ Church Ajowa- Akoko from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th June 2018

1. The First Session of the Twelfth Synod of the Diocese of Akoko, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), was held under the guidance of the Holy Spirit with the opening and closing services held at All Saints Church, Ajowa-Akoko, from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th June 2018.

2. The Synod was presided over by the Diocesan, The Most Revd. Gabriel A. Akinbiyi. The Synod has as its theme “WHAT KIND OF MAN IS THIS?” (Matthew 8 Vs 27 (NIV).

3. The Synod appreciated the guest preacher and the Bible Study Leader, The Rt. Rev’d Dr. Stephen Ayodeji Fagbemi (Bishop of the Diocese of Owo) for a thought-provoking ministration during the Synod Session.

4. The Synod Studied, deliberated and reflected extensively on the theme and came to a consensus on some salient issues that were of great importance to move the Diocese forward. At the end of the Synod, the Diocese issued a Communiqué as follows:

2.0 THE SYNOD THEME:

2.1. The Synod noted that the theme: “What Kind of Man is this?” is apt and timely, taking into cognizance the heresies that have bedeviled the contemporary Church.

The theme points to Jesus’ christology as “The Virgin – born Messiah who came to redeem His people from their sins and whose mission is to fulfill God’s redemptive purpose.” It indicates that wherever Jesus is, the storms of life become calm.

The fact that Jesus rebuked the disciples before rebuking the sea shows “that discipleship involves a faith which is a practical trust and which excludes anxiety.”

The particular miracle of Jesus over nature shows Jesus as the eternal, uncreated Creator of the universe. It shows that in difficult times, Jesus is able to bring peace. It is also a lesson to all Christians about faith and fear. Jesus wants all of us to have faith even in the most difficult situation of life.

When the storms of doubt seek to uproot the very foundations of the faith, there is a steady safety in the presence of Jesus Christ. The lesson of the Synod theme is that when the storm of life shakes our souls, Jesus Christ is there to calm it.

3.0 STATE OF THE NATION

3.1 The Synod commiserated with the affected families who lost their loved ones in the Catholic Church attack in Benue State and noted with great concern that, of recent, Nigerians hopes and expectations have been dashed by the mishaps and devastating killings across the country making the daily newspapers always horrible for people to read. Almost every part of our dear Nation is affected and government’s response has been like one expecting a noise in the graveyard. Initially, it was Boko Haram, but now it is a more dreaded group, Fulani Herdsmen. At the early stage, their focus was the farmland of innocent farmers whose crops were destroyed under the guise of grazing. What Nigerians experience now are gruesome killings and kidnappings of harmless and unprotected people pursuing their daily works.The question is how long will innocent people continue to experience these murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen?

3.2. Attack on the Church: Recently, two Catholic Priests and seventeen other worshipers were shot dead in cold blood at the altar of God. It was another black Sunday on 3rd June 2018 in Benue State. It is most disheartening that the president of this our great nation has refused to make a categorical statement about this issue.The Synod, therefore, advises the government to make protection of lives and properties their primary duty.

3.3 National Budget: The Synod noted with great concern the constant delay in the passage of National budget. It has taken the National Assembly seven months to scrutinize the 2018 Budget. This, the Synod felt was not ideal if we are to be serious about the growth of the nation. The Synod therefore called on the National Assembly to always hasten the passage of the annual budget.

3.4 Education: The Synod called on parents to rise up to their basic responsibilities of moulding the characters of their children because parents are the first contact in educating children. The parents, should as a matter of fact make themselves enviable role models and also assist teachers in making our children good ambassadors in the society. Synod called on government to adequately fund education and upgrade educational sector for our teachers so as to enable them make teaching profession more attractive and develop skills to a perfect standard.

3.5 Power Sector: The Synod noted the failure of government in the power sector despite the huge sum of money purported to have been spent over the years. No Nigerian would love to remain in darkness at night if supply of electricity is guaranteed. For the nation to grow, government needs to provide stable electric power supply to encourage and attract foreign investors to our country.

3.6 Religious discrimination:The Synod noted that the 110 secondary school girls were abducted from Dapchi in Yobe State early this year. However, the Federal Government negotiated with Boko Haram and secured the release of all Muslim girls; while Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl was not released. The Synod, therefore, called on the Federal Government to urgently secure the release of Leah Sharibu to justify that President Buhari is fair to all irrespective of their religious inclinations.

3.7 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS: The Synod noted the preparation for the next general elections and the yearnings for a responsive Government. It therefore behoves on Christians to demonstrate their willingness to participate in the forthcoming elections by registering and obtaining their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and vote according to their conscience.

3.8 AGRICULTURE: The Synod noted the diversification efforts of the Government in reducing hunger in the country. It appealed to the Government to do more by relaxing the interest rate on agricultural loans and equipment so that more people could embark on agriculture.

3.9 RESTRUCTURING/FISCAL FEDERALISM: The Synod noted that the incessant problems, agitations and threats to the peaceful co-existence generally in Nigeria as encapsulated in Boko Haram, murderous Fulani Herdsmen, IPOB/MASSOB, Oduduwa Republic, Niger Delta and Resource Control, are all functions of the lopsidedness in the sharing of political power.
The Synod therefore called on the Federal Government that the only panacea to end all these agitations is to restructure the country and ensure fiscal federalism.
4.0. ONDO STATE
4.1 The Synod observed that Ondo State which used to be the cynosure of eyes in the area of education is now posing a big threat to parents. Government announcement of recent increment of over 300 percent tuition fees in our institutions of learning imposes financial hardship on the parents; despite the electoral promise to make life bearable to people before coming to power. The Synod’s heart bleeds as a result of this, because many students have dropped out of School. Synod hereby called on government for a review of its recent policy and pronouncement on education.
4.2 Road Network: The Synod noted and appreciated the efforts made by the present administration in Ondo State on rehabilitation of some roads in Akoko especially Oke-Afaa Supare, Akungba-Iwaro-Oka-Epinmi-Isua, Jubilee-Ugbe roads, as well as the three box culverts in Ikare-Akoko.
It however observed that all the Federal roads passing through Akoko are in deplorable conditions. The Synod hereby called on the State and Federal Governments to speedily attend to the reconstruction/rehabilitation of the following roads: Owo-Akungba-Ikare-Okeagbe-Omuo, Ipele-Idoani-Ifira-Isua-Kabba, Irun-Ikare-Epinmi, Ikaram-Akunnu, Irun-Afin-Okeagbe, Ajowa-Igashi/Eriti-Omuo, Okeagbe-Ese-Irun-Ogbagi, etc. so as to improve the masses’ economic potentials, security of lives and properties.
In conclusion, the Synod called the attention of the government to the incessant kidnappings taking place in Akoko land particularly in certain locations which includes: Akunu road, Igasi road, Oba road, Ipesi – Ifira road and Okeagbe – Ajowa road etc. The Synod implored the government to mobilize the security agencies to these places in order to eliminate this dangerous trend of kidnapping and terrorism.

1. The First Session of the Twelfth Synod of the Diocese of Akoko, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), was held under the guidance of the Holy Spirit with the opening and closing services held at All Saints Church, Ajowa-Akoko, from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th June 2018.

2. The Synod was presided over by the Diocesan, The Most Revd. Gabriel A. Akinbiyi. The Synod has as its theme “WHAT KIND OF MAN IS THIS?” (Matthew 8 Vs 27 (NIV).

3. The Synod appreciated the guest preacher and the Bible Study Leader, The Rt. Rev’d Dr. Stephen Ayodeji Fagbemi (Bishop of the Diocese of Owo) for a thought-provoking ministration during the Synod Session.

4. The Synod Studied, deliberated and reflected extensively on the theme and came to a consensus on some salient issues that were of great importance to move the Diocese forward. At the end of the Synod, the Diocese issued a Communiqué as follows:

2.0 THE SYNOD THEME:

2.1. The Synod noted that the theme: “What Kind of Man is this?” is apt and timely, taking into cognizance the heresies that have bedeviled the contemporary Church.
The theme points to Jesus’ christology as “The Virgin – born Messiah who came to redeem His people from their sins and whose mission is to fulfill God’s redemptive purpose.” It indicates that wherever Jesus is, the storms of life become calm.
The fact that Jesus rebuked the disciples before rebuking the sea shows “that discipleship involves a faith which is a practical trust and which excludes anxiety.”
The particular miracle of Jesus over nature shows Jesus as the eternal, uncreated Creator of the universe. It shows that in difficult times, Jesus is able to bring peace. It is also a lesson to all Christians about faith and fear. Jesus wants all of us to have faith even in the most difficult situation of life.
When the storms of doubt seek to uproot the very foundations of the faith, there is a steady safety in the presence of Jesus Christ. The lesson of the Synod theme is that when the storm of life shakes our souls, Jesus Christ is there to calm it.

3.0 STATE OF THE NATION

3.1 The Synod commiserated with the affected families who lost their loved ones in the Catholic Church attack in Benue State and noted with great concern that, of recent, Nigerians hopes and expectations have been dashed by the mishaps and devastating killings across the country making the daily newspapers always horrible for people to read. Almost every part of our dear Nation is affected and government’s response has been like one expecting a noise in the graveyard. Initially, it was Boko Haram, but now it is a more dreaded group, Fulani Herdsmen. At the early stage, their focus was the farmland of innocent farmers whose crops were destroyed under the guise of grazing. What Nigerians experience now are gruesome killings and kidnappings of harmless and unprotected people pursuing their daily works.The question is how long will innocent people continue to experience these murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen?

3.2. Attack on the Church: Recently, two Catholic Priests and seventeen other worshipers were shot dead in cold blood at the altar of God. It was another black Sunday on 3rd June 2018 in Benue State. It is most disheartening that the president of this our great nation has refused to make a categorical statement about this issue.The Synod, therefore, advises the government to make protection of lives and properties their primary duty.

3.3 National Budget: The Synod noted with great concern the constant delay in the passage of National budget. It has taken the National Assembly seven months to scrutinize the 2018 Budget. This, the Synod felt was not ideal if we are to be serious about the growth of the nation. The Synod therefore called on the National Assembly to always hasten the passage of the annual budget.

3.4 Education: The Synod called on parents to rise up to their basic responsibilities of moulding the characters of their children because parents are the first contact in educating children. The parents, should as a matter of fact make themselves enviable role models and also assist teachers in making our children good ambassadors in the society. Synod called on government to adequately fund education and upgrade educational sector for our teachers so as to enable them make teaching profession more attractive and develop skills to a perfect standard.

3.5 Power Sector: The Synod noted the failure of government in the power sector despite the huge sum of money purported to have been spent over the years. No Nigerian would love to remain in darkness at night if supply of electricity is guaranteed. For the nation to grow, government needs to provide stable electric power supply to encourage and attract foreign investors to our country.

3.6 Religious discrimination:The Synod noted that the 110 secondary school girls were abducted from Dapchi in Yobe State early this year. However, the Federal Government negotiated with Boko Haram and secured the release of all Muslim girls; while Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl was not released. The Synod, therefore, called on the Federal Government to urgently secure the release of Leah Sharibu to justify that President Buhari is fair to all irrespective of their religious inclinations.

3.7 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS: The Synod noted the preparation for the next general elections and the yearnings for a responsive Government. It therefore behoves on Christians to demonstrate their willingness to participate in the forthcoming elections by registering and obtaining their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and vote according to their conscience.

3.8 AGRICULTURE: The Synod noted the diversification efforts of the Government in reducing hunger in the country. It appealed to the Government to do more by relaxing the interest rate on agricultural loans and equipment so that more people could embark on agriculture.

3.9 RESTRUCTURING/FISCAL FEDERALISM: The Synod noted that the incessant problems, agitations and threats to the peaceful co-existence generally in Nigeria as encapsulated in Boko Haram, murderous Fulani Herdsmen, IPOB/MASSOB, Oduduwa Republic, Niger Delta and Resource Control, are all functions of the lop-sidedness in the sharing of political power.
The Synod therefore called on the Federal Government that the only panacea to end all these agitations is to restructure the country and ensure fiscal federalism.

4.0. ONDO STATE
4.1 The Synod observed that Ondo State which used to be the cynosure of eyes in the area of education is now posing a big threat to parents. Government announcement of recent increment of over 300 percent tuition fees in our institutions of learning imposes financial hardship on the parents; despite the electoral promise to make life bearable to people before coming to power. The Synod’s heart bleeds as a result of this, because many students have dropped out of School. Synod hereby called on government for a review of its recent policy and pronouncement on education.

4.2 Road Network: The Synod noted and appreciated the efforts made by the present administration in Ondo State on rehabilitation of some roads in Akoko especially Oke-Afaa Supare, Akungba-Iwaro-Oka-Epinmi-Isua, Jubilee-Ugbe roads, as well as the three box culverts in Ikare-Akoko.

It however observed that all the Federal roads passing through Akoko are in deplorable conditions. The Synod hereby called on the State and Federal Governments to speedily attend to the reconstruction/rehabilitation of the following roads: Owo-Akungba-Ikare-Okeagbe-Omuo, Ipele-Idoani-Ifira-Isua-Kabba, Irun-Ikare-Epinmi, Ikaram-Akunnu, Irun-Afin-Okeagbe, Ajowa-Igashi/Eriti-Omuo, Okeagbe-Ese-Irun-Ogbagi, etc. so as to improve the masses’ economic potentials, security of lives and properties.

In conclusion, the Synod called the attention of the government to the incessant kidnappings taking place in Akoko land particularly in certain locations which includes: Akunu road, Igasi road, Oba road, Ipesi – Ifira road and Okeagbe – Ajowa road etc. The Synod implored the government to mobilize the security agencies to these places in order to eliminate this dangerous trend of kidnapping and terrorism.

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The Most Rev’d Gabriel A. Akinbiyi
The Diocesan Bishop of Akoko and
Archbishop Elect of Ondo Ecclesiastical Province