It is axiomatic that there is no human organisation, no matter its size, that can survive without some of administration. Christ Apostolic Church, as a global church, is a typical example of an organisation which has endured due to the benevolence of God and the prowess of its administrators.
Ever since the church became established through several stages of its evolution: from Precious Stone to Diamond Society and from Faith Tabernacle to Nigerian Apostolic Church, Apostolic Church, United Apostolic Church and eventually Christ Apostolic Church; the administration department has been the major human force behind its growth.
The church was incorporated on 4 May 1943, the first full time department of the church before its incorporation and even afterwards is the administrative department. At the initial stage, the administration of the church was rolled up in the office of the president who used to delegate administrative function to a secretary. As time went on, the secretary became the general secretary who shouldered the burden of administration of the church.
The General Secretariat
The church had its general secretariat at Yemetu, Ibadan after its incorporation in 1943. The office was to later house CAC Pastoral Training School in which the second general secretary, Pastor Hanson was doubling as principal. Due to space constraint, the general secretariat was moved to Kusela Street, Orita Aperin in 1983. An attempt was made in the early 80s to make all the church’s principal officers to reside in Ibadan but logistics made it impossible to do so. However, at Orita Aperin, the president of the church had an official residence. During the presidency of Pastor Olusheye, he found a way through this debacle and got official residence for his general superintendent in Ibadan as well as finding residence for the general evangelist. In January 2003, the new general secretariat building at Anlugbua, Basorun, Ibadan was declared open and movement to the new office started that same month, it was completed in May that same year.
Expansion of the General Secretariat building was undertaken in 2016. The president’s, general superintendent’s, general evangelist’s, and the general secretary’s offices, as well as the publicity, youth and the ICT departmentsall moved to the new building in 2016.
The administration department was originally saddled with record keeping, correspondences, appointment of field staff and their promotion and welfare, as well as organisation of church leaders’ activities, itineraries, communication with relevant audiences, liaising with government departments and execution of policies formulated by the church leaders.
The first general secretary of the church, Pastor Jonathan O. Sanya, was born around 1894 at Omu, Ijebu. He came in contact with the Precious Stone Society (the group later became Faith Tabernacle Movement) when he was a lecturer at Saint Andrew’s College, Oyo. He joined the Society (later Faith Tabernacle) through the encouragement of Bishop F. M. Jones of Lagos Anglican Diocese in 1921. He later became the leader of the society in the college. During the persecution of the members of the Precious Stone Society, Pastor Sanya had to resign his appointment as a Lecturer in Saint Andrew and returned to Lagos to join other members. Pastor Sanya was formally appointed into the office of general secretary of Christ Apostolic Church at incorporation in 1943 and he remained in the office till his death in 1949. He was ordained as pastor in 1947. The second general secretary, Pastor Adolphus Adebayo Hanson was born on February 20, 1904 at Ijaye Abeokuta. When he gained admission to the School of Agriculture, Moore Plantation, Ibadan in November 1925, Pastor Odubanjo wrote a letter to intimate leaders of Faith Tabernacle in Ibadan of the presence of one of his church members from Lagos. He was thus holding fellowship with the Faith Tabernacle members in Ibadan. Pastor Hanson was one of the second set of pastors ordained by the Apostolic Church missionaries in Nigeria in 1933. He was the pastor in charge of the Faith Tabernacle Church in Ekotedo, Ibadan. When the church split over differences on divine healing, Pastor Hanson aligned himself with Oba I.B. Akinyele, Pastor Odubanjo and Apostle Ayo Babalola and the assembly he was pastoring was snatched by Pastor Adegboyega for The Apostolic Church.
Pastor Hanson was appointed the second general secretary in 1949. He was the principal of CAC Pastoral Training Institute at Yemetu, Ibadan, from 1963 till he died in 1968. Pastor Nelson Eku Udofia was appointed as acting general secretary in 1968 following the death of Pastor Hanson. Before this appointment, Pastor Udofia had served as the personal assistant to the late general secretary, Pastor Hanson.
Pastor Nelson Udofia was born on February 20, 1927 in Nung Asan Ukono village, Uyo Local Government, in the present Akwa Ibom State. He had his elementary education in Afaha Six-town School, Ikot Akpabio and Obot Idim Nsit Comprehensive Secondary School in Calabar, where he studied typing, shorthand, book keeping and accounts. He had an advanced RSA certificate in book keeping and accounts.
During his school days he had a roommate named Egabor who was very prayerful. Egabor had given him a vision to the effect that Udofia had the call of God on his life, though he did not consider it for a moment afterwards but when he went to work in Cameroon and returned to Nigeria in 1949, Udofia was again told by another prophet that he had a call of God into the gospel ministry, he reluctantly accepted. The first person he went to look for was his former colleague and roommate, Egabor who was now into full time ministry as a Catechist under Christ Apostolic Church in Onitsha. During the first service he witnessed there, a prophecy came telling Udofia that he loved the world more than doing the work of God. Due to this prophecy, Udofia decided to totally surrender his life to God’s ministerial work. He later went to meet Prophet Babajide who took him as his personal secretary. While still working and training under Prophet Babajide, Apostle Babalola met Udofia there and sent him to Christ Apostolic Church Bible Training College, Erio Ekiti to assist Mrs Pearce as clerk typist. He was there when the college moved to Efon Alaaye. He was at the college when he was ordained in 1963. After his ordination, he was posted to Christ Apostolic Church general secretariat, Ibadan as Personal Assistant to Pastor Hanson, the then general secretary.
After the death of Pastor Hanson in 1968, Pastor Udofia was appointed as Acting General Secretary. The appointment was confirmed in 1969. He thus became the third general secretary of the church. He was appointed as a trustee of the church in 1985. He was removed in 1991, over the role he played in the crisis that engulfed the church.
Pastor Gideon Okegwemeh, who succeeded Pastor N. E. Udofia, was born to Elder John Okegwemeh by Madam Mary Ikpefua in Otuo, in the present Edo State in 1948. Gideon Okegwemeh attended Local Authority Primary School, Ugba, Otuo. He also attended L.A. Modern School in Otuo. He privately studied for his GCE O level with which he gained admission for Theological studies. He holds both the B.Th and M.Th as an external candidate.
He taught for many years at Azama College, Otuo. He rose to the position of vice principal in 1981. He was ordained in 1982 as pastor in Christ Apostolic Church. He left teaching and got a job as the area secretary of the Bible Society (1986-1989), and fund raising manager in 1989-91. He worked as the acting general secretary of Christ Apostolic Church from 1992-93. He was transferred and became the district superintendent of Warri District in 1993. Under him, the district progressed to become a District Coordinating Council (DCC), while Pastor Okegwemeh became the chairman.
In 1999, Pastor Okegwemeh returned to the general secretariat of the church in Ibadan as the general secretary after the demise of Pastor T.O. Obademi who served as acting general secretary. During Pastor Okegwemeh’s time, a lot of administrative improvements took place. Thus, Pastor Okegwemeh was the only general secretary who has served at two different occasions. He is the fourth general secretary and the seventh, he retired voluntarily in 2015.
Pastor Gabriel Okafor hails from Awgwu in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State. He is an alumnus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He attended Christ Apostolic Church Theological Seminary, Ile Ife and the ECWA Theological Seminary. He had worked in the Federal Government service in Lagos. He was all along very active in the church. As a result of his activities in the church, he was made to hold many positions. He was ordained a pastor in Christ Apostolic Church in 1989. On retirement from government service, he was appointed as the first Christ Apostolic Church Youth Officer in February 1993. He became the fifth general secretary when the then acting general secretary, Pastor Gideon Okegwemeh was posted to Warri, Pastor Okafor was appointed the general secretary in 1993. He was posted to the field and became Chairman, Oke Isegun District Coordinating Council, Ondo until his retirement in 2014.
Pastor Timothy Olaoyenikan Obademi was born in Omuo Ekiti around 1938. He was educated in Nigeria and in London. He attended the I.B.T.I. Sussex, Burgess Hill and the University of London. He held a diploma and a bachelor of arts degree in Theology. He worked for many years as an administrative staff of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife before he retired voluntarily. He was first appointed as the chief personnel officer at CAC general secretariat, Ibadan. He was later appointed as the acting general secretary of Christ Apostolic Church when Pastor Gabriel Okafor was transferred to the field. His appointment could not be confirmed till his death on June 24, 1999. After his death, Pastor Gideon Okegwemeh was recalled to CAC general secretariat in 1999. He served in this capacity till 2014 when he voluntarily retired.
Pastor Emmanuel Ezekiel Mapur, the eighth general secretary, was first appointed acting general secretary in 2014. He was born on 12 December 1966 to the family of late Mr Da and Mrs Ezekiel Mapur at Boot Village, Bokkos LGA, Plateau State. He attended Local Education Authority Primary School between (1974 – 1980, C.A. College, United Faith Tabernacle College (from 1983 – 1986), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained diploma in Christian Religious Education. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Theology (2007 – 2008) of the Christian Theological Seminary (CTS), Ibadan. He also attended Evangelical Church of West Africa Theological Seminary based in Jos where he obtained a master’s degree in Education.
He worked at CAC Sunday School Department, Akure as hausa translator between 1991 and 1999. He was transferred to CAC general secretariat, Ibadan as special assistant to the general secretary in 1999. He was promoted district superintendent in 2002. He left CAC general secretariat in 2003 and was appointed as pioneer Jos zonal officer the same year. He held this position until 2008 when he was promoted and transferred to CAC Kuba as the second zonal chairman. He later became the first district coordinating council (DCC) chairman in Kuba when the zone was upgraded to DCC level. He was transferred to Jos DCC as the chairman in 2011. He was in this position when he was recalled to the general secretariat, Ibadan on special assignment until his confirmation as the general secretary of the mission in 2014.