It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we share the news of the death of late Father in the Lord and retired Bishop of Ideator Diocese, the Most Rev’d Dr Caleb Maduoma. It was reported that he died in his sleep on Thursday 29th of April, 2020.
Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the Bishop and members of the Diocese of Ideator during this time of loss.
We rejoice in the knowledge that he is at peace and a strong believer.
Arrangements are not known at this time. We will send them out as soon as we have the information.
He retired from active service last year 2020.
Tributes as culled from memoirs: “Predestined for God’s Assignment “written by Ngozi O Adighibe
ARCHBISHOP MADUOMA, THE STABILIZING VOICE IN THE EAST – Primate Okoh (rtd)
I got to know Archbishop Maduoma when he entered into Emmanuel College, Ibadan in 1980. I was in the second year when he came in as a first-year student, so he met me there. He quickly adjusted but had some difficulties with the teachings in the school. His Scripture Union background made him consider some of the things they taught, to be tough for a Christian. But they assured him that he would adjust and that came to pass, as he later settled down. He faced his studies and was no longer agitated by the teachings. He became a leading speaker in our debates and discussions about theological issues in the College.
He was also outstanding in sports because he was a terrific footballer. He and another Kenyan were the leading footballers who led the team at Emmanuel College. They were the stars before Archbishop Chukwuma joined them, a year later. I believe that he kept up that sportsmanship to the time that age could permit.
When we all left College, we were both sent to Lagos. But we were not very close, because he was swamped with work as the General Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, working with the then Primate, Baba Adetiloye. I believe that Baba must have seen his excellent qualities because it was not an office to be given to just anybody. So, he travelled and worked with Baba Adetiloye.
We reconnected again when he was at All Saints Surulere, Lagos and he visited our Church at All Saints Abalti Barracks, where I was the Vicar. We maintained this distant relationship, and I also visited his Church at the time they were building this very high storey building.
He was preferred as Canon while working with Baba Adetiloye and later when he became a Bishop, we continued to relate; but again, from a distance, until I moved to Asaba. When I became the Bishop of Asaba, he invited me several times to his Diocese, Okigwe-South to handle programmes.
After that, we have been coming together in the House of Bishops. In the East, he has been the stabilizing voice, because some of our Bishops in the East can be very tough. So, his voice appeared to be the balancing voice, present to quiet down tense situations and to give wise counsel. At a time, it seemed that many of the Bishops in the East were quite young, so his position became very helpful.
As an Archbishop in the Church of Nigeria, I believe that he is somebody who has conviction, which in any case was already evident even as far back as 1980 when we were students. Whatever he is convinced about, it is difficult to dissuade him, to say join us to do this or that. He would prefer to follow the leading of his spirit, the Spirit of God in him. I continued to relate with him and his family till today and in the House of Bishops. At a point, he would not like to speak when others are hustling to speak. He would allow them to say all they had to say and then maybe stand up to air his view, which may be contrary to what the majority of the people are saying. To his credit, he does not bother about what the majority may be saying; he would always say what he thinks and believes. That is why when others are speaking and rushing to talk if he has not spoken, one may have to ask him about his thoughts on the issue.
The same posture he has maintained; not only in the Church but also in the issues of Paul University, Awka where we are all trying to do our best to see that the University not only survives but makes progress.
I think that the Church and the Church of Nigeria will miss him as he retires, as one of those mature voices in the House of Bishops.
When he leaves, it will create a vacuum. As students, we were in the philosophical society group called Donian. We also debated on issues regarding women ordination.
I believe that in terms of honesty, he is an honest man, sincere in his purpose. Whether you like it or not, he will stand to say what he thinks. I don’t know those who are in his camp among the Bishops. But he is always in the camp of his persuasions; that is, the camp canvassing the view that he prefers to hold. If there is none, he would say his own clearly. Thank God that he will still be available to consult by the junior ones if they are willing to ask. But certainly, he has done very well, in pastoring the Church, in giving his very best, in providing the perspective he holds very dearly, without allowing things to go haywire within the House of Bishops or among the Archbishops.
I feel that he has done very well in honesty, sincerity of purpose, and diligence of service. I think he has given his best. We thank God that all has gone well and his children have grown up to support the Church.
ARCHBISHOP MADUOMA, A MAN DEVOID OF TRIBAL SENTIMENTS – The Most Revd. Edmund Akanya (Bishop of Kebbi Anglican Diocese)
My first encounter with Archbishop Maduoma was when I was serving as a Canon in the then Lagos diocese several years ago, and we all were serving as Church of Nigeria Standing Committee delegates. Then, we were not very many at the meetings, and that enabled us to know ourselves. I started to get attracted to him because of his simplicity and forthrightness that played out in the house when he made his objective contributions, which were devoid of tribal sentiments. When they presented him for election as the General Secretary, it was not difficult for me to cast my vote for him. The same happened when his name came up during the election of the Bishop of Okigwe- South Diocese and his subsequent translation to Ideato Diocese.
Archbishop Maduoma is one person whom I have found over time that stood against any tribal insinuations. He would always stick his neck for whatever he believes to be the right thing, not minding whose ox is gored. One precise instance was the election of Primate Peter Akinola who contested with Archbishop Anikwenwa who is an Igbo man. To the consternation of some Igbo Bishops and the admiration of others, Maduoma was the one that nominated Primate Akinola.
Equally is his stand against injustice and policies that intend to rob innocent clergy of their rights, especially when we are making decisions regarding them in their absence. So many of these Christian lifestyles and virtues endeared him to me because as they say, birds of the same feather always flock together.
Also, Archbishop Maduoma is very caring and loving. He is one Bishop that you will find criss-crossing the nation to go and celebrate with his fellow Bishop or mourn with them, especially when they lose a loved one. His love for people is boundless, unlike what we notice with a lot of us, who would only embark on such visitation only if the person comes from our tribe or geographical area or Province.
Since our part crossed each other, we have worked very closely, especially when he joined us in the House of Bishops. The House of Bishops of Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion is made up of people with varying persuasions, and we who think alike in terms of our relationship with the Lord, do go together. We seem to share many ideas in common, and so he has on several occasions invited me to his Diocese to minister. Our closeness has had a very positive effect on our wives and children.
Mrs Maduoma is a very quiet and easy-going mother, in all sense of the word. She has many features in common with her husband; indeed, they are two of a kind. They have shown by their lives and character what a Christian home looks like, and I thank God for her. You would never hear an uncomplimentary report about her, even from the clergy. She is such a dutiful and hard-working woman, very organized and godly. I observed this when I visited her country home for the traditional wedding of one of their daughters.
We shall all miss this wonderful man and woman of God in the house.
CALEB: A MAN OF EXEMPLARY CHARACTER, A LIVING EXAMPLE FOR TODAY’S YOUTH – Ven. Prof Uche C. Isiugo-Abanihe (Former VC, Paul University Awka)
A lady from Isiekenesi undergoing the NYSC in Ibadan, one Joy Duru, introduced the then Rev. Caleb Maduoma to me in Ibadan in 1986. I brought him to the house to meet my family, and we had an excellent rapport. We arrived from the USA in October 1985 and didn’t know many people in Ibadan then.
So, it was refreshing to meet someone who is from home (we are from neighbouring towns in Ideato South of Imo State), and who is also a pastor, even if a student pastor. We took to each other very quickly and met several times and discussed. I found out that his family resided in Lagos, where he ministered, I think at Tugwell Memorial Church. I discovered something intriguing about him; most weekends, he would go to Lagos on his giant motorcycle both to see his family and minister in his Church. It was most daring at that time having to ply the busy and accident-prone Ibadan-Lagos Expressway. So, one day I talked to him about it and persuaded him to be leaving his motorcycle in my house, which was near the Expressway at Iwo Road, and board a vehicle to Lagos, and pick it up upon his return on Sunday or Monday. He did this many times but continued to go to Lagos on his motorcycle at other times.
It was easy for my wife and I to discover that he was a humble, gentle, amiable, appreciative and determined gentleman. Before long he completed his BA and enrolled for the MA degree programme in Religion. It appeared he was not going to Lagos as frequently as he was during his undergraduate days. So, I saw him more often at the Chapel of the Resurrection, where I officiated as a Bible Study Leader and Chief Usher under Rev Dr Latunji Lasebikan, as Chaplain.
One Sunday, I tried to introduce him to the Chaplain, now Most Rev Dr G.L. Lasebikan. And he said to me, “Uche, how can you introduce Caleb to me? He is my student; I know him very well.” I said to him, “I am doing so because he is my brother, and I would like you to use him at the Chapel as an assisting priest.” And he said to me, “But Caleb is not here most Sundays; he prefers going to his base in Lagos!” Rev Maduoma completed his MA programme and left Ibadan; we did not meet again until after many years when we ran into each other at Urualla. At that brief meeting, he excitedly showed me his 505 Peugeot car, which he told me was donated to him by his Church in Lagos. I told him this was a sign that he was doing well and encouraged him to be more conscientious and dedicated to his call and service in the Lord’s vineyard, which obviously would come with more reward in due season.
In my discussions with him then, I understood that the Most Rev Maduoma rose through the ranks with determination and hard work, obviously backed by God’s abundant grace upon him. His history was that of rising from grass to grace. As a young man, he struggled through life but was committed to church activities, including the Choir, until he gave his life to Christ. His relocating to Lagos marked the watershed in his life because as he continued to work in the Church, the call of God upon his life became evident. Thus, he was one of the few Igbo men ordained in Lagos. He had the privilege of serving in the Christ Church Cathedral, as well as in other historical or popular Lagos Churches. He became the Clerical Secretary in the Diocese of Lagos, the Secretary of the Supra West, and the Clerical Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, a rare achievement for an Igbo man working Lagos. It was by this dent of hard work and dedication that he was preferred Canon, and then elected Bishop, all in and from Lagos Diocese. I believe he was the first Igbo Clergy in Lagos to be so gloriously honoured serving the Lord. To be sure, he faced many challenges and persecutions in Lagos, but being focused, he overcame them all to the glory of God.
His life and achievements in the ministry corroborate the biblical statement in Proverbs 22:29: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” As an Igbo proverb says, Maduoma washed his hands well and therefore had to dine with great men. This is a lesson for our youth who think they become great just by their family connections, family wealth or through other worldly means. The young Maduoma knew early in life that he did not have any connection that would make him great. He realized that he had to work hard at whatever his hands found to do; he purposed in his heart that it was only in giving one’s life to God and serving Him with all diligence that one’s success in life depended. The outcome of this resolve is what you see today in his status and sparkling achievements. He was the first son of Ideato to be made Bishop. When he translated from the Diocese of Okigwe-South to Ideato, there was overwhelming jubilation that the man who would change the fortunes of the Diocese, and give it more visibility, has come. His being made the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri is partly a fulfilment of this expectation.
His name is Caleb, and like the biblical Caleb, he could not be deterred by any looming obstacles or challenges ahead of him, because of his unflinching faith in God. He believes that nothing is insurmountable with God, and with that is his dedication and commitment to matters of spirituality. From my interactions with him, I can say he is a man with divine wisdom, intelligence and insight. Such unction or ‘a different spirit’ rightly belongs to a man appropriately called Caleb, a man of uncommon faith who followed God wholeheartedly in the face of apparent obstacles (Num. 14:24). It is therefore not surprising that the theme of his first Synod as the Bishop of the Diocese of Ideato was “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are able to overcome it.” I was highly privileged to lead the Bible Study in that Synod. He was not unaware of the spiritual, physical, monetary challenges confronting the relatively new Diocese, but was determined to overcome them all. In this, he has had tremendous success. We are all witnesses of the phenomenal progress the Diocese has made under his watch, particularly the spiritual growth. The Diocese has grown, both qualitatively and quantitatively, as well as in the spirit of giving for Divine cause.
He is a family man who raised his children well, in the true sense of Christian values, virtues, character and fear of God. He is a very loving husband, father and Pastor of the family. The home always radiated with love, warmth and smiles. The lady who introduced us to the then Rev Maduoma in 1986 had told us that his wife was a very caring Christian woman; a prayer warrior. Her testimony became evident when we finally met and interacted with her; with such a virtuous woman, it is not surprising that they have a blissful home, a home where love is liberally shared. All his eight children are university graduates, most of them with an added Master degree or professional diplomas. Four of his children came to the University of Ibadan, where my wife and I are lecturers. He gave us the responsibility of acting in loco parentis to these children even though they were in the hostel. We tried to make them feel at home in our house and mentored them; they spent weekends and holidays; visited with friends; and kept their stuff in our house. Regularly, they enjoyed the visit of their father and at times their mother as well; whenever he went to Lagos, he routed his trip through Ibadan to see them. He is a caring father who wanted the best for his children without spoiling them.
As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow rightly stated, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by a sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” The Most Rev Caleb Maduoma toiled night and day to be where he is today, not only physically, but also spiritually, patiently waiting on the Lord and refusing to be discouraged by looming obstacles, barriers or dissuasions. The profundity of this experience should be the valuable lesson for all and sundry: the clergy, the laity, but more importantly the youth some of whom now hold on to the strange doctrine that simply says ‘desire it’ and ‘have it.’ The man, Caleb worked hard on his dreams at every stage of his life, humbling himself and looking unto the Lord Jesus unto Whom he had surrendered his life. God honoured him by calling him apart as His Minister: A Clergyman, a Bishop and an Archbishop.
We celebrate such an illustrious life and congratulate the Most Revd. Dr Caleb Anaezionwuonyeogaegbu Maduoma on his enormous achievements in the Diocese of Ideato, the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri and the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion generally, as well as the example he has left behind for us to emulate.
THE MOST REV’D DR CALEB A. MADUOMA, THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DIGNITY TO PRIESTHOOD – The Ven. Tychicus I. Okoli
I don’t know how to pen down what I know about His Grace, The Most Revd. Dr Caleb Anaezionwuonyeogaegbu Maduoma (JP), the Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Ideato as it never occurred to me that I will be called upon to do so one day.
I knew him from a distance in the early 80s when I worshipped at The Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos. That time, I didn’t know his name and least expected that he was an Igbo man. Nevertheless, I admired him, but I didn’t know why then.
When he got posted to Bishop Tugwell Memorial Church, Lagos (the oldest Igbo Church in Lagos) I came to know his name and also became aware that he was an Igbo Priest.
My closest contact with him then was when he organised a general Bible Quiz Competition for the youths and evangelicals at BTM, and I was among the two that represented All Saints Anglican Church, Surulere. Another was when he came to All Saints, Surulere for exchange of pulpit in 1989 and when he conducted vestry election at the same Church in February the same year, because of problems within groups in the Church and the then Vicar.
Then, he was posted to the same Church (All Saints, Surulere) as the Vicar with effect from July 1989.
This posting gave me a little opportunity to observe him from a closer range. At All Saints, I worked under him as a parishioner and verger. Presently, in the Diocese of Ideato, I am serving under him as a Priest.
Having written how I came in contact with him, let me mention some of the things I discovered about him.
He is a practising Christian who would not compromise nor mortgage his faith in God for any other thing. He values his relationship with God more than any other thing. He relates freely with all categories of people but never allowed such relationship no matter how intimate to affect his faith negatively. Later, I discovered that he was brought up by the Scripture Union and EFAC and had that solid foundation in the Lord that nothing can shake. As far as he is concerned, making heaven is the number one priority in his life.
He believes in divine providence and does not struggle nor strive for things in life. He believes that anything that God has proposed for him, no man can alter it. He never lobbied to get anything in life. He attributes every success that came his way to God. He believes that whatever he is, he is by the grace of God. He believes that God can use human instrumentality to work out his purpose, but does not believe that his destiny is tied in the hands of any man. One of the things that draw me closer to him is that I see in him someone who genuinely wants to make the kingdom of God (heaven).
DEVOTED TO HIS CALL AS A PRIEST
Despite being very committed in the Diocese of Lagos then, he made sure that his duty as a parish priest never suffered neglect. He had curates who assisted him, but whenever he was around, he made time to be with the choristers during their practice and attend the Tuesday Fellowship coordinated by the committee on evangelism. Sometimes he would be in the harvest committee and other sub-committees of the PCC. Occasionally, he would leave the adult service on Sundays to go and observe what was going on in the children and teenage Churches, respectively. He was always present to lead in the Friday Communicant class whenever he was around. Anytime he would not be there, he made a solid arrangement about who would stand in for him so that there was no vacuum.
During the office hours, you hardly find him in the vicarage, if he is around the Church premises. He will be in his office always. After office hours, he stays from evening till late in the night studying. Sometimes, when we came for a vigil in the Church, the office light would still be on; and between 11 pm and 12 midnight, he would quietly come down from his office and move straight to the vicarage. Even to this date, I know he still has a study room.
He can book several appointments in a day but at different times, yet will be there for each of the appointment times. He is a good time manager. One of the compliments the elderly people in All Saints positively accorded to him then was “Ara ka nma n’okorobia” (Even madness is better in a young age). Thus, working tirelessly is either inbuilt or developed by him, as he still does so even as he is approaching 70.
Then, he could schedule for a traditional marriage engagement on a Friday evening in the East and solemnisation of holy matrimony 10 am the next day in Lagos and still attend both without being late. His punctual attendance to both events was a puzzle to many of us as we kept wondering how he had been able to make it. Then we discovered that at the end of such traditional marriage engagements, he would drive straight to Benin and lodge in a hotel. He would leave Benin the following day as early as 6 am and be in Lagos between 9, and 9:30 am for the wedding at 10 am. He is a speedy driver.
DIGNITY TO PRIESTHOOD
Before coming in contact with him, in as much as I was not looking down on priests, I didn’t have much regard for them, because many were not morally sound. Most of them then were not dressing well. But in Rev. Caleb, we found someone we can be proud of as our Vicar, anywhere, any day and anytime. He always maintains his carriage. We started inviting our Pentecostal friends to come to our Church because we were sure that anytime he mounts the pulpit, believers would leave edified.
You can confide in him as a father, brother and Priest. His exemplary disposition made many of us at All Saints Surulere, Lagos desire to be priests. As at this date, over 50 of us from All Saints are priests. Many are Venerables and Canons. It is on record that none of the believers he mentored at All Saints left to establish a personal Church. Except for Pastor Goddy Chukwudebe, who he voluntarily released on request to a white garment Church whose leader decided to do away with their fetish practices and learn how to worship God in spirit and truth.
PREACHERS ON SUNDAY AND FRIDAY CLASS
In those days when many Lay Readers would mount the pulpit and say whatever they wanted in the name of a sermon, he made it mandatory that they should attend Friday class. So that if any member sought clarification from the messages preached the Lay Reader who taught should be there to explain. This injunction attracted many believers and other Church members to the Friday class as there was never a dull moment. It also made anyone privileged to mount the pulpit to prepare their sermon well to avoid embarrassment from ‘young believers’ during Friday class.
On one of the Friday classes, one of us (believers) asked him to spiritualise a particular passage in the scriptures. Then, we saw the whole Bible as a letter which kills and were much after the spiritual interpretation which we referred to as “Rhema”. He merely laughed at our ignorance and said, “you should first understand the meaning of every text as written before venturing into spiritualisation because those who wrote them are more spiritual than you”. From that day on, we put great value on the written word and tried to understand it before venturing into any interpretation or “spiritualisation” as we put it.
FATHER TO ALL
As a priest, he saw every parishioner as his child and gave fair treatment to all. By so doing, he bridged the gap between the poor and rich, old and young, married and unmarried, educated and illiterate, wise and foolish etcetera. He knows how to relate to every class and category of people. I also discovered in the course of his ministry that he has more respect for three types of people: the educated, the rich and the wise. If you were well-educated, whether rich or poor, he would have regard for you at least for being educated. If you are rich, he will respect you for being rich whether people see you as a stack illiterate, it doesn’t stop him from recognising you. If you are wise and intelligent, whether you are poor and uneducated, he will respect you for being smart. If you happen to combine all, he will have very high regard for you and see you as a utility person.
He believes that there must be something good and unique about every human being and takes his time to find it out in anyone that comes close to him.
Even as a Bishop and Archbishop, he has not changed. He is a father and shepherd to everyone in his Diocese and Province. He doesn’t believe in discrimination. He gives fair treatment to the Venerables, Canons, Priests, Church workers and lay men.
This trait is inborn in him, and knowing Christ, strengthened it the more. He is always highly disturbed, seeing someone being oppressed or denied justice.
As a priest, he accompanied many believers to their traditional marriage engagement ceremony to make sure that they were not intimidated or forced to do anything contrary to their faith. He was the chairman at the wedding reception of many believers at All Saints, Surulere, for the same purpose. He fought against maltreatment of any sort.
As the most senior Igbo Priest in Lagos then, though a Canon, he had the privilege of being at clergy selection and interview. There he fought against nepotism of the Yoruba priests and segregation against Igbo candidates. For instance, when the then Nnaemeka Nwosu was not selected after the interview while a Yoruba candidate who was from the Redeemed Church got chosen because he helped in taking care of Sunday school pupils, he challenged them openly. He questioned the criteria and rationale behind the disqualified: being Anglican by birth, a chorister, an organist, harvest committee secretary and a graduate. Faced with the truth, they had no option than to grant him admission. He is now a Venerable in the Diocese of Lagos West.
A similar thing happened in the case of Late Canon Rufus Ikeh. He passed the selection interview and got sent for an exam at Archbishop Vining College of Theology at Akure. He took the first position among all the candidates from Diocese of Lagos, but the “powers that be”, failed to send him to school for training. When this came to Canon Caleb Maduoma’s knowledge, he again challenged the authority, and they sent the said Rufus to Lagos Anglican Seminary where they train only graduates, even though he was not a graduate.
When the Diocese of Lagos for reasons best known to them decided not to post student priests from outside Lagos to Churches anymore, he came to the rescue of some Igbo Priests who were affected. When he spoke to the authority on behalf of those Igbo Priests, they claimed that there was no vacancy in the Church where they could post such Priests. On further pressure, they conceded that if he could accommodate them at his Parish that he had the authority’s backing. He magnanimously accommodated two of them at that time as his curates and even allocated part of his vicarage to one of them. The two priests who benefitted from him then were Revd. Maxvirgin Iheanacho, now an Archbishop in his Church and Revd. Joe Eziaghighala, now a Venerable in the Diocese of Lagos Mainland.
As a Bishop and Archbishop, he is totally against any unfair treatment meted out against junior workers from their seniors or superiors. He doesn’t punish junior workers based on the report of their seniors without first hearing from them. The saying that “you will not be where your case will be decided” doesn’t work absolutely in our Diocese. Many senior workers are not at home with his stand on the above issue and have tried to make him change it, but knowing what it will lead to, he stood his ground. That was what brought about the saying “Ndi no n’ala dara ada dagbue ndi no n’elu” (Those seated below fell and wounded those seated above).
Before he came to All Saints Church, Surulere, the Anglican Children Ministry (ACM) handled everything about evangelism. He called them and made them see the need to enlarge the scope of their operation and create room for other members of the Church to participate actively in evangelism. This advice led to the formation of the Committee on Evangelism (COE) which is a sub-committee of the PCC. Its membership came from every society and group in the Church. It also had a member of the PCC or one of the Curates as chairman.
He believes in teamwork and understands that he needs others to succeed.
Some people who wanted to stop the ACM from witnessing and bus evangelism confronted him and told him to stop them. They showed him copies of tracts produced by the ACM. Their reason was that it could lead to the formation of a new Church because they usually invite new converts to their fellowship after preaching. He investigated and found out that they also encouraged the new converts to our Sunday services and other activities of the Church, also included in the tracts. He simply told the complainants that the said group were working for the Church and him and should be encouraged to continue.
The AYF was planning to buy a gospel band and had organised several fundraisings to that effect. One day, without announcement, the ACM purchased a set of gospel band and brought it to the Church. This purchase did not go down well with the members of the AYF who saw it as their birthright. They went to him and protested claiming that it was their brainchild that the ACM should have embarked on another project. His reply to them was “How I wish that every group in this Church could afford a gospel band because the Church needs more than one gospel band”. With this statement, there was no more agitation.
He doesn’t take a serious decision without proper consultations. He respects other people’s views and opinions as long as it is not against the Christian faith.
He doesn’t work with hearsay or form his opinion about any person just with what other people say. He gives all an equal opportunity and extends a hand of fellowship to all. However, if on his personal or official relationship with any, he finds out that what people say about you is accurate, he forms his opinion. When he does, it becomes tough to change.
He knows his calling and as such does not envy other ministers or whatever talent God has given them.
He hates failure, and as such if he assigns any duty to anyone, he expects a success report. He knows that some tasks are very demanding but believes that if there is a will, there is a way.
If you go against his instruction in any assignment, he would frown at you and ask why; if you fail to explain, that is where you will have a problem with him. If you can explain, he is very understanding and will even encourage you. He wants you to always have a genuine reason for every action you take, even when they are opposed to his opinion.
He takes responsibility for all his actions and is not good at apportioning blame to others. If you present an idea to him, he will first criticise it and allow you to defend your idea. If you eventually convince him and he accepts it, he will present it as his idea. If it backfires at the end, he will take the blame himself and will not apportion it to any person.
In his days at All Saints Surulere, he would go through details of every financial statement presented by the wardens. He would question them in private, disagree to agree. Once they were able to defend it before him, it became his document. On presentation of the same report to the council or the congregation at the vestry meeting, he assumed responsibility for any error in it. He would demand that every question be directed to him because in his words, “I am the chief accounting officer of this Church”.
He may criticise members of his staff and rebuke them in private, but defends and protects them in public.
He is an administrator per excellence. No wonder he was given an honorary doctorate award in administration.
INITIATOR AND ACHIEVER
While he was at All Saints Surulere, the Church recorded an astronomical growth numerically, spiritually, financially and structurally. He added extensions at the sides of the Church. The increase became so much that a second service was started (7 am service). The children wing also experienced growth. Being a seasoned administrator with foresight, he suggested a total restructuring of the whole Church building and Church Hall. He asked an architect, though a member of the Church, to draw how the new All Saints would look. He also sought the advice of a structural engineer. The moment the master plan was ready, the building of the new All Saints started. It was built in four phases because the Church did not have space, and programmes still took place while work was going on. The plan had the administrative block, children’s hall, Teenage Church and Curate houses.
He started the Teenage Church, first of its kind in the then Diocese of Lagos. He did this because he noticed that children graduating from children’s Church did not easily fit into the adult Church, and as such, some got easily attracted to Pentecostal Churches. Thus, the Teenage Church was started to prepare these over-zealous youths for the adult Church and also stop them from leaving their mother Church and joining the Pentecostals.
A group of young boys, who usually did not want the gospel band to stop playing, would dance and dance. Some of them will not mind giving offering more than four times, as long as the band continued to play. Sometimes, it would take the pleading from the Vicar to restrain them. Because of the way they danced and the time they took to get to the altar, they called them “the go slow boys”. He took the time to study them and discovered that many of them were boys who were still serving their masters in the shops. Others were those who had been freed by their masters. To maintain control over the activities of these go slow boys in the Church, a new society was born and named, “The Rising Star”. He also initiated this, and today this society is all over the nation and even beyond.
Almost all the Churches apart from the Cathedral, where he served as a Priest, were crisis-stricken before he came. In all, before he left, he restored peace and love.
All Saints Church Surulere was not an exemption. Before he came to conduct vestry election in February 1989, a caretaker committee was in place because of crisis in the Church. The wisdom, knowledge and understanding with which he doused the crisis surprised everyone. It is important to note that the crisis or problem at All Saints did not just start before he came. It had outlived the tenure of many Priests before him. Within a short time of his stay, the Church united. He restored love, peace, and unity, and evangelism soared. His ability to stop this crisis gave the history of All Saints Surulere its title, “The Still Waters”. Let me quote a part of the history: Rev. Maduoma was officially posted to All Saints’ Church, Surulere, with effect from July 16, 1989. His brief was simple: to control tempers, restore peace and promote reconciliation. So, in his maiden sermon on the assumption of duties, he spoke on the need to allow peace to reign in the house of God. Rev. Maduoma however, did not stop at talking alone. He went into action in a way that signalled the end of physical, verbal and psychological hostilities. His coming made many heave sighs of relief as warring parties were persuaded to put down their arms. The youths of the Church sealed the season of truce with the apt chorus “Agha akwusigo, bomb akwusigo, okwu Chineke ga-adigide rue mgbe ebigh ebi” (war has come to an end, the bomb falls no more, the gospel of God shall endure forever). The Still Waters page 71
When there were protest and controversy over a bishop-elect in the Diocese of Northern Izon, he was the one sent by the House of Bishops to go and resolve it, and he did it successfully. He is a trouble-shooter indeed.
BOLD AND FEARLESS
He hates intimidation and victimisation of any kind. He fights for his members’ rights against law enforcement officers like the police. As a priest, he would go to the police station any time his member had a case involving the police to ensure that they were not denied their rights.
He respects everybody but does not take it lightly when anyone mounts the pulpit and makes ungodly statements. I remember clearly an incident that happened when he was doing everything to restore peace to All Saints. Relatively, there was peace. However, a respected and highly placed woman lay reader went to the pulpit and tried to poison the mind of the congregation that peace had not truly been restored. When she finished and came down, he stood up and just made a few categorical statements. He told the Church that the pulpit belonged to the Vicar and whatever anyone mounts up the pulpit to say, the Vicar is answerable. He emphatically stated that the message delivered by the said lay reader was not from the Vicar and had no Vicar’s approval. It was like daring a lion. However, the congregation who knew that peace had come back were challenged and encouraged by his boldness, and they hailed his courage. Not many Priests could challenge a woman of that calibre, let alone cancelling her sermon.
There was a year when the diocesan assessment of All Saints Anglican Church was very high, even higher than that of some supper graded Churches in Lagos. The PCC wanted to send a protest delegation to the then Primate and Bishop of Lagos. He advised against it on the ground that the Bishop would hold him responsible for the protest whether he supported it or not. However, he promised to lead the delegation if such a thing re-occurred. Sure enough, it happened the following year, and so, he sent a delegation. On the appointed day, he was a bit late because of eventualities. The delegation had finished presenting the issue to the Bishop before he arrived. The Primate, and Bishop, was not happy with them, and his countenance showed this. It was at that point he came and still went on to present the matter before him (the Primate) on behalf of the PCC. Most Vicars would have denied pre-knowledge of such delegation, but he told the Primate and Bishop that he was part of that decision. He is indeed bold and fearless.
HUMBLING THE PROUD
In those days, some highly placed members of the PCC began to feel that they were superior to the PCC members; not only because they were highly placed, but because they were the Bishop’s nominees. To take this erroneous impression out of their minds, the following year he said that everyone would contest in the vestry election. For the Bishop’s nominees, they were not contesting to win, but it was a test of their popularity because they were already in the council. They eagerly participated, but the result showed them that they were not as popular as they thought. Knowledge of their unpopularity helped to curb their pride a little.
He was a Vicar in the Diocese of Lagos for many years without a personal or official car. When he got posted to BTM, the Church wanted to buy him an official vehicle, but he refused and convinced them that what they needed at that time was an evangelism bus and that the car could come later. They bought a bus but were not able to buy a car before he got transferred. When he arrived at All Saints, he was still using the Suzuki motorcycle that he was using before he entered theological college. It was with much pressure that he accepted that All Saints should buy an official car for him. All those years, he never bothered about a car as most Priests do these days. He was contented.
FREE ASSOCIATION WITH EVERY BELIEVERS’ GROUP
While at BTM, he freely associated with the EFAC and teamed up with them for the propagation of the gospel. At All Saints Surulere, it was the ACM that he used for the same purpose. Initially, we felt unsure about whether he would want to bring in the EFAC himself, being one of them, but he never did. Before he left All Saints Surulere, he was the Diocesan Chaplain of the ACM till he became a Bishop. So, we were confident that he would institute the ACM at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church Igbobi. He went there and found out that the then Anglican Praying Fellowship that they had, was a believer’s group and so, he worked with them for the propagation of the gospel. We tried all we could to take ACM to St. Stephen’s Igbobi, but he saw it as duplication and resisted our moves. He has a liberal mind towards any group that has an interest in the gospel and heaven.
INTIMIDATING PERSONALITY, YET VERY HUMBLE
The way God created him, everything about him is intimidating. People fear to come close to him. Eventually, when they do, they discover a different personality that is humble, accommodating, considerate, compassionate etcetera.
He is a very strict disciplinarian, whether at home or in the Church. He doesn’t do things without a plan. I remember being in his office in those days and he summoned one of his sons that came home for holidays and ordered him to go and prepare a time-table for his daily activities during the holidays. He stressed that “There should be time for studying and watching the television”; teaching them that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Even though he is a disciplinarian, he becomes less firm when he sees remorse or repentance in the person he wants to discipline. Many who understand this side of him have always used it to their advantage. For instance, some Priests who committed expellable offences, who went before him crying for pardon were forgiven and had their punishment reversed. Conversely, when he suspects stubbornness or pomposity in any offender, he goes the extra mile to enforce discipline on such a person.
When he was my parish Priest, I visited him one day. His wife had just given birth to the twins, and there was nobody in the house. I met him in the kitchen, warming the food he would eat. I was surprised. I least expected that he would go near the kitchen. The way and manner that he was doing it reflected the joy of someone ready to welcome new babies home. How he was doing it also showed he could cook well. I learnt my lesson that day because, at that time, I had not yet married. I said to myself that if he could do such work even though a Priest, I would also do the same when I get married. Thank God, I learnt it and still do it when the situation demands that I do so. He is a very humble man.
HONOURS HIS WORDS AND PROMISES
He doesn’t speak randomly or carelessly. Therefore, he does not joke with words that proceed out of his mouth – whether past or present.
Some time ago, he transferred out a Priest, and the Church sent a delegation in protest. He did not yield after several attempts until they reminded him that during the dedication of that Church, he promised that he would not move the Priest but would give him some time. On hearing this, he gave the Priest more six months before effecting that movement.
In one of our Synods, he mistakenly addressed a Canon as Venerable, and there was an ovation. When they told him the reason for the ovation, he officially confirmed that statement.
When he was approached to ordain me as a Priest of Ideato Diocese, he initially refused. After he was reminded that as a Vicar at All Saints Surulere, I was one of the two people that he said he would ordain without training if he were a Bishop, he broke protocol and sent me to theological school without me serving as a Church teacher. He keeps his words.
In conclusion, I see in him a man who loves and fears God, and he respects man. I see in him a man whose sole aim is to make heaven. There are yet so many things to write about him. Just as I didn’t know where to start, having started, I don’t know how to stop. Nevertheless, let me end by saying that The Most Revd. Dr Caleb Anaezionwuonyeogaegbu Maduoma is God’s gift to our generation.
MRS. ONYINYECHI MADUOMA (NNECHINEMERE), GOD’S GIFT TO CALEB
The success story of the Most Revd. Dr Caleb Anaezionwuonyeogaegbu Maduoma cannot be complete without mentioning the role of his amiable and industrious wife, Mrs Onyinyechi Maduoma (Nnechinemere).
She is a great achiever and motivator who believes that “with God all things are possible”. An ardent believer, full of faith, who sees a way where many say there is no way. She hardly passes a place without leaving an enviable footprint.
Like Caleb, who said to Joshua, “Give me this mountain” when everyone was avoiding that area because of the sons of Anak, she sees challenges not as obstacles, but as stepping stones to greater heights.
She believes that all things work together for the good of them that love God.
She doesn’t allow the negative side of anything to discourage her. Instead, she draws courage from the positive side. She is very optimistic.
In all Stations where she served as a Priest’s wife in the Diocese of Lagos, she is still being remembered for good.
In the Diocese of Okigwe-South, where she served for five years as Bishop’s wife before they got translated to Diocese of Ideato, she is still being commended for taking their Women Ministry to an enviable position.
She is a woman of prayer who believes that prayer moves mountain. She tarries long with God in prayer, and this has brought many open doors to her, her husband and children.
Once she has a vision and is sure that the vision is from God, she will pray that vision into reality.
Before sinking borehole for the Women Ministry at St. Peter’s Akokwa, many others had tried to do so in Akokwa without success, and it was erroneously believed that it was not possible to sink borehole at Akokwa. She courageously and prayerfully went into that venture and successfully sank the borehole. When she succeeded, others started sinking boreholes in Akokwa.
When she caught the vision of building hostel at Umuagwo, many thought it was a mission impossible and tried to discourage her. Nevertheless, she prayerfully went on, and today, everyone is happy with that venture as it has become a mission accomplished.
She attributes all the glory to God for every good thing that comes her way. Hence, she took the name ‘Nnechinemere’.
One can summarise her life story with Psalm 84:6 “who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; rain also filleth the pools”.
At home, she is very hardworking and also an excellent cook. Her busy schedules and commitments do not stop her from performing her responsibilities as a wife and mother at home.
She has been very mindful of the wellbeing of her husband; from the time he was a Priest to his present status as an Archbishop.
Whenever God reveals anything about her husband, to her directly or through others, she never plays with such revelations. Regardless of whether it is positive or negative. She usually organises prayers and sometimes, vigils to claim and cancel the positive and the negative respectively. She does the same whenever she senses or foresees any challenge before her husband.
She sees her husbands’ success as her success and sees his failure as hers. She backs him up in prayer as Aaron and Hur did for Moses at the battle against Amalek. I don’t know how Caleb would have overcome the numerous challenges he has gone through in the ministry without her prayerful support and encouragement.
What else can I say about her and her support to her husband in the ministry, other than that “behind every successful minister there is a hardworking and prayerful wife”. Onyinyechi is a hardworking and prayerful wife, and Caleb is fortunate to have her behind or beside him. As her name implies, she is God’s gift to Caleb.
Culled from the Book, Predestined for God’s Assignment: Archbishop Caleb Maduoma – An Icon of Leadership and Impact (compiled and edited by Ngozi O. Adighibe)