METHODIST COLLEGE, UZUAKOLI 1923-2012

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ABSTRACT

Missionaries, as agents of European churches established schools because education was deemed integral to the main purpose of evangelization. As time went on, graduates from Methodist College, Uzuakoli that was established in 1923 began to make inroads into politics and civil service of pre and post independent Igboland and environs. The roles that the Methodist Missionaries played in manpower development through the Methodist College, Uzuakoli has not received the recognition it deserves. This study attempts to bridge the knowledge gap by outlining the history and achievements of the College in the period under review (1923-2002). The appreciation of the numerous contributions of the Methodist College, Uzuakoli to society in terms of manpower developments in Igboland and environs will greatly help to guide reformers and policy makers to draw a lesson or two from the achievements and failings of the College. The study applies an interdisciplinary approach from religion and education to complement the historicity of the work. Data from a variety of sources that includes Primary Sources (oral interviews, archival and official document) and Secondary Source (books, journals, articles, and project works, theses and dissertation as well as seminar papers) are explored to balance the outlook of the work.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Theoretical Framework
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Significance of Study
Scope of Study
Literature Review
Sources, Methods and Organisation

CHAPTER TWO: METHODIST COLLEGE UZUAKOLI 1923-1960
Land Acquisition
Building of the College
Growth and Development

CHAPTER THREE: METHODIST COLLEGE, UZUAKOLI 1961-1970
Curriculum
The development of the Study of Igbo Language and Culture
Development/Expansion
Indigenous Administrators of the College
Methodist College during the Civil War

CHAPTER FOUR: THE COLLEGE UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL, 1971-2012
Government Control
Changes and Developments
Uzuakoli Methodist College Old Boys Association (UMCOBA)
Profile of some Old Boys

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Primary Sources
Oral interviews
Archival Materials
Secondary Sources
Books
Journals and Articles
Unpublished Materials and Project


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Uzuakoli is an ancient chiefdom in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State. It is

made up of five villages: Amamba, Eluoma, Ngwu, Amankwo and Agbozu. It is believed that

Ozu had five brave sons whose names were Oma, Ngwu, Mbah, Nkwo and Ozo. When these

sons grew up, they built their homes a little further away from their father’s, which became

the central meeting point.

It is from their five homes that the five villages which make up Uzuakoli developed. The five villages united to form Uzuakoli, a compound of the names of their father, Ozu, and their grandfather Akoli, the name was corrupted to Uzuakoli by the railway authorities and Uzuakoli is the version generally used today1.


Uzuakoli has a total landscape of 28.8 square kilometers, bounded in the North by Lohum;

East by Ozuitem; and South by Ubani and Lodu Imenyi, respectively. It falls between 7.32

and 8.36 East of the Equator. The climate of the area does not differ from the rest of the rain

forest belt of Eastern Nigeria. Uzuakoli enjoys a warm tropical climate with well-defined wet and dry seasons2.

Prior to the establishment of colonial rule in Igbo hinterland, Uzuakoli was a notable

slave market with many middlemen from Awka, Aro, Bende and surrounding communities

living and trading there. It assumed this role of an important slave market after the colonial military conquest of Bende in18963, which robbed the latter of her middlemen role as a slave market to the Aro and thus the Aro moved over to nearby Uzuakoli that was a more central location and had long lobbied for the market.4 Slaves were bought at Eke-oba and Eke-Ukwu (the two markets made up the Abangwu market in Uzuakoli), and taken through the slave route to Bende via Ozuitem, Arochukwu and then transported oversea through Cross River State.5 Apart from slave trade, Uzuakoli has remained an agrarian society noted mostly for yam and cocoyam cultivation/production with a population of 60, 000 according to the 2006 census result.

The origin of modern education in Nigeria dates back to September 24,1842 when Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman and Mr. and Mrs. William De Graft of the Wesleyan Methodist arrived Badagry to start both Christian and education work. Later, other missions such as the Church Missionary Society (CMS), the Roman Catholic Mission and the United Presbyterian Church arrived Nigeria for the same purpose. The origin of 19th century missions in Nigeria followed the evangelical revival movements in Europe during the late 18th century. The European evangelical movement was due largely to the work of John Wesley. Wesley's challenge to the established Anglican Church, led to the anticlerical and evangelical movements and, consequently, to the "Protestant awakening" which swept across Europe and America in the 19th century.6 This awakening demanded renewed zeal and commitment on the part of individual Christians as well as deep concern for the personal act of conversion. It was Wesley's message that strengthened the desire for missionary work. Other missionary groups represented in Nigeria were the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, the Presbyterian Church, Adventist, Baptist of Scotland, and the Baptists from the (American) Southern Baptist Convention, Society of African Missions (the Catholic Mission) from France and the Primitive MethodistMission.7

Colonial rule, which was also a driving force in the missionary process, was not established in Igbo hinterland until after 1900. The Aro-Expedition of 1901-1902 opened the Igbo hinterland and touched off a scramble among missionary bodies of various hues. The work of the missionaries in Southern Nigeria was not easy sailing. For a while, a few Africans and their rulers patronized the missionary enterprise, others rejected its intrusion in any form. On the whole, support or lack of it for missionary work was greatly influenced by internal developments in Southern Nigeria. Further invitations arose out of schisms over joint ownership of church bells, personality clashes or inter-village rivalry. The differences in ideology and orientation of the foreign missionaries touched off rivalry by among then to outwit each other in the capture of adherents. As it became difficult to convert adults in the African society, education was seen as the easiest and most sustainable way of winning converts. As children educated in the school of a particular mission sect, grew up to automatically become adherents/propagators of that denomination of Christian faith.

The Primitive Methodist Mission first came into Africa in 1870 through Fernando Po (present day Equatorial Guinea).It was then a Spanish territory. They built a station and started evangelical work, but their progress was hampered by the activities of the Spanish Catholic Mission who later banned it. The mission started making plans in 1890 to move to a British.....



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