Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, last week, clocked one year in office, as Primate of the church. In this interview with Advent Cable Network Nigeria (ACNN TV), the Primate shares his experience.
So, all honor, all glory all adoration and thanksgiving belongs to him. He is always there to guide. His guidance and presence are real. Every day is always a new day, and he takes you from one step to the other. For every person that walks into the office or I encounter, he has a way of directing and guiding. The Holy Spirit is wonderful because he gives you the word you need when you need it. This one year has been a very wonderful experience of depending on him and he, guiding from one step to another. It is a road we had never passed through. So, the need for us to listen to the Lord, to pray, to depend on him is so obvious.
So, we thank God, it has been a wonderful time of learning, of guiding, of teaching, of listening, of Help from God. We also thank God for the bishops and Archbishops, the people of God, the clergy and the lay, for praying for us and for standing with us. We feel the prayers of God’s people. We count ourselves lucky to be where we are among God’s people.
Family Wise and Church?
One thing comes out clear: the higher you go, the hotter it becomes. This position is not what a man who is having a young family should be in because it takes everything from your time, your attention, being ready to move at the shortest possible time and always being prepared because there must be a word from God. There must be a direction, and you cannot afford to just while it away. It has been a very wonderful time for us – myself and my wife and my children. We have become strengthened in prayer, studying of the word, you dare not play with it, because that is the source of our strength.
What is your experience like, especially regarding the time between your election and inauguration?
Well, our coming to this position was something we didn’t anticipate or campaign for. If we were looking for it, we would have known what we would be expecting. It’s like a bolt from the blues. When the election was done, it was so amazing that the bishops, all came together to say, “Henry lead us, this is what we believe God is wanting of us”. It was like a dream. And I want to thank God for all who have stood around us, my predecessors, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and Baba Akinola, all were there to support and encourage us.
After the election, we continued as Bishop of Gombe and Archbishop of Jos province. It was good that our church fathers arranged it in such a way that you will have some time to prepare yourself and tune your mind to what you’re going in. So that transition period gave us opportunity to organize ourselves, and we didn’t leave any stone unturned as regarding our responsibilities.
We carried through to the end and, by the grace of God, handed over to those the Lord raised to succeed us and moved to Abuja, after more than 20 years in Gombe as bishop. I don’t know how I would describe it because I had already showed my wife where I will be buried. My intention was that we will spend the whole of our life and ministry in Gombe, and I’ve made it as a covenant of promise to God that I want to see him from where he sent me to labour. I’d already said nobody should take my corpse home. I want to be buried in the place where God called me. So, for us to be moved out of Gombe, in fact, is like uprooting a fully grown tree. Even up till now, I still feel part of Gombe, because for us that is home, that’s the place of our calling. We love the Lord, we love God’s people, we love the people of Gombe. We still feel connected and part of that place. Coming to Abuja is like coming to a totally new route.
One thing with church leadership is that there is no classroom where you are taught, this is what you’ll be doing as a Bishop, or this is how you would act as an Archbishop or this is what you would do as a Primate. It all comes from the one who calls us. One thing that we have realized within that period, is that we need to learn, we need to open our ears to hear, take instructions, ask questions, and we thank God that Archbishop Okoh was there for us. He had been with us from the very beginning with Mama Nkasiobi, and they mentored us, ministered to us and prayed with us. We visited churches together. They showed us everything that we needed to know. It was such an encouragement. The bishops and Archbishops also gave their support.
So that transition period was a time of learning, a time of looking at what God is actually bringing us into. And for the fact that we came in and we were mentored also gave us the opportunity to clarify our vision and the direction, and asked the Lord what he wanted us to do. Because for every session, I believe that God has his purpose. It is for us to discover what the purpose of God is in bringing us to the place where he is bringing us and key into that vision and that mission. It was good that we had that period, to learn and inquire from the Lord, and to get direction. So when the Load, finally dropped, we were prepared to carry through. Because this is not for us. It is not by our making. It is not by our effort. It is of God. Whatever it will take to follow him, we are willing to go all the way.