FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOMINANT PRESENCE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ODOZOR

ABSTRACT
The subject of study is the dominant presence of Roman Catholic Church in Odozor; the desire to undertake this study is motivated by the curiosity to understand the factor for the dominant presence of Roman Catholic in Odozor. In carrying out this study, simple random sampling was used to select five towns from the study area. The Five towns which constitute the population of study are Ebe, Abor, Awhum Okpatu and Umulumgbe. The researcher made use of primary and secondary sources in data collections. The review of literature revealed some dependable variable which formed the theoretical framework for the study. The data and peculiarities of missionary enterprises in Odozor was analyzed and interpreted. Based on this frame work, the following findings were made; that, the dominant presence of the Roman Catholic church in Odozor is due to the domineering influence of local chiefs and political heads. Other factors are the evangelical zeal of early converts and lay agents, mode of baptism and the Roman Catholic Church enculturation process also remains in factor. As a result the researcher therefore recommends that laity participation in evangelism should be encouraged. Secondly is that Christian denomination should adopt an enabling policy towards positioning African Christianity into African world view. Finally, rigorous subjection is not necessary for the eternal salvation of soul.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study
Christian religion has come a long way with the first missionary station at Badagry in 1842. In 1857, the church missionary society established the first mission church at Onitsha under the leadership of Rev. Henry Townsend. From Onitsha, the gospel started its slow but steady journey into the interior. The C.M.S established a station at Enugu Ngwo in 1912. The visit of Rev. Isaac Uzowulu to Ngwo triggered off an expansionist sprit among the missionaries

This itinerant evangelist embarked on house to house evangelism and established a station at Umuabi, Udi and Okpatu. From the station at Okpatu a mission station was found in Umulumgbe in 1936. In an interview with Elder Amadi of Eke,Town, he said that “Udi area witnessed missionary scramble in the second decade of the 20th Century”.

This pioneer position gave the Church missionary society added advantages. During this period many communities were desirous to open up C.M.S mission station in their communities. In the face of the increasing demand for mission contact, the Holy Ghost Congregation of the Roman Catholic mission emerged on the scene. Ilogu (1974) pointed out that 1885 witnessed the emergence of the Holy Ghost Congregation of the Roman Catholic Church in Igbo land. The entrance of Roman Catholic mission in Igbo land compelled missionary drive into the interior. This drive led to missionary rivalry in their adoption of apostolic policies. Ekeche pointed out that the Roman Catholic explored the interior through the creeks, from Aguleri, to Olo, Achalla, Owa and Oghe to Eke in 1914. Rev Fr. Aloysee Muller opened up a mission station at Eke with Mr. Ikem peter as the poiner teacher. From Eke, like the biblical mustered seed the church spread as far as Nsukka, Ogaja and Makurdi to the North, Ebenebe and Ida.

From the above description, we can have a fair picture of the enormous apostolic activities of the pioneer missionaries of Eke. By 1889, Eke mission station has gave birth to five town parishes of Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Okpatu and Umulumgbe and constitutes mainly Roman Catholic population.

1.2       Statement of the Problem
The Church Missionary Society and the Roman Catholic Church are two major actors in mission evangelism in Igboland. As early as 1912. The presence of the C.M.S. was established at Enugu Ngwo and Udi area respectively. In spite of this early development the people of Odozor are dominantly Roman Catholics when compared to other areas in Udi Local Government Council Area.


This raises a number of questions such as:

(a)                What are the factors for the sudden twist of events in the C.M.S. evangelizing mission?

(b)               Can this sudden twist be attributed to method, charisma, strategies employed, and political influence of the local chiefs or inadequacy of trained local agents and laity groups?

1.3 Purpose of the Study
The urge to undertake this study is to look into some distinctive religious and ecclesiastical issues of the various Christian missionary enterprises in Odozor Local Government Development Council with the view to find out the factors for the dominant presence of Roman Catholic Church adherents viz-a- viz other areas in Udi Local Government Area Council.

1.4 Scope of the Study
The study area is Odo-Ozor Local Government Development Council. The council is made up of the following towns: Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Awhum, Okpatu, Umulumgbe, Umuoka and Ukehe. These towns share common paternal, socio-cultural and religious tie. Due to the congenial nature of the study area, a selective random area was undertaken. The representative study areas are Ebe, Okpatu, Awhum, Umulumgbe and Abor.

1.5 Significance of the Study
The response of OdoOzo people towards various Christian missionary endeavors is of great significant. An expository view at the above will help to clarify missionary enterprise in the area. Also the study stands to offer an insight into the level of commitment of the various missionaries in carrying out their primary assignment. It equally stands to contribute to scholarship on the faith ideology of the people of OdoOzor Missionary evangelism. The research finding could be used to draw conclusion on the enduring strategies in faith propagation. Finally it stands to correct the misinterpretation of the past with the view to improving the present situation and achieving a balanced view of activities in Odo-Ozor Local Government Development council.

1.6 Methodology
The nature of the research demands a multi-dimensional approach. The researcher made use of Historical and analytical approach. The nature of the study compels this study to rely more on primary sources. Under this approach interview guidelines were designed so that discussion will be focused on the content specified in the research objective. However; based on the relative criticism of the interview method, the research variable made the researcher to feel strongly that any method that would promote anonymity would yield reliable result. For this reason question were framed to cover people response, missionary strategies and factors for the dominant presence of Roman Catholic Church in Odo-Ozor.

The questions were both closed and open ended to enable respondents less bored and unable to suppress or distort basic response to the question. The researcher also made use of group discussion method. A key topic on Christian Missionary enterprise in Odo-Ozor was raised and expressed views of discussants made useful information for this study. The discussants include Traditional rulers, Academicians and clergy men who represented their interest groups and callings.

The researcher also made use of secondary sources in data collection and in the evaluation related literature on the topic of study, documented materials such as text books, journals; magazines unpublished works were also used. On the basis of logical evidence, the researcher applied logical reasoning to arrive at conclusions.

1.7       Definition of Terms
For clarification of terms, the following terms used there need to be explained in the context of their usage.


Traditionalist
These refer to people that practice or the adherents of Africa traditional religion.

Warrant chiefs
These are class of people mandated by the colonial masters to exercise political, social and economic influence on the people living in a geographical area. Their mandate was necessary because of the absence of organized political structure in Igboland.

Response
This is the level of the Peoples acceptance of specific missionary stimuli.

Christian missionaries
This refers to the group of people who go out to propagate the Christian faith to non- members.

Missionary work
This is used to refer to those activities designed to affect the expansion of the church among men and beyond its boundaries.

Mission – The sending out of religious teachers to convert people by preaching.

Mission statement – This refers to the objective or aim in embarking on a venture.


Sacrament – This refers to the solemn religious ceremony in the Christian church such as baptism, confirmation, matrimony believed to be accompanied by great spiritual benefits. Sacred - to treat something with great respect or reverence.

Itinerant Traveling from place to place.

Laity – refers to all the people not in the Holy Order, those who are not clergy.

Parishioner – inhabitants of a church parish.

Expedition – journey or voyage for a definite purpose.

Explore a)travel into or through a geographical area for the purpose of learning about something.

Explore (b) – To examine thoroughly problems, possibilities in other to test or learn about them.

Odozor Cult – A secret guild.

Christian village - An enclave where Christian live such as monastery.

Receptive – Responsiveness or unresponsiveness of the gospel message.

Gospel: The life and teaching of Jesus Christ as recorded in the first four books of the New Testament.

Pastoral- Office of the pastor, time during which he holds briefing.


Odozor- The name Odozor is derived from a compound verb root “Odo and Ozor”. “Odo” means masquerade cult and “Ozor” a prestigious traditional title. It is used to refer to a group of communities known for Odo cult and Ozor title taking.

1.8       Origin and Migration
The source for the reconstruction of the tradition of origin, migration and settlement of the people of Odozor is scanty. What is presented here represents no more than version which are at the moment generally accepted by the people concerned. A study of the oral traditions collected showed that despite the differing versions, the origin, migration and settlement of the people of Odozor focused on Ojebe and Ogene the grand parent of Odozor clan.

Towns
Odozor is made up of Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Awhum, Okpatu, Umulumbe, Umuka and Ukehe.

Location
The land location of Odozor as shown in the map lie at the Northern end of Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State. It is bounded in the South by Eke town and Ngwo both in Udi Local Government Area, in the West by Oghe in Eziagu, Egede and Affa town in the North West boundary.


It is bounded in the North by Ukehe, Ochima in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area, In the East by Nike in Nkanu Local Government.

Origin and Migration
In the midst of diverse tradition, myth and legend, the most acceptable, is that; the people of Odozor migrated from a common ancestral mother who was born and bred somewhere on earth. The name of the founding mother “Ojebe” remains constant. All the towns that make up Odozor agree to the consanguinity in the name Ojebe.

Another tradition by Sir Moses Iyi, points to Eziagu as a place where Ojebe migrated as a wife to the father of Ebe. He sees “Ogene” as a woman and the mother of Ojebe. However, Sir Iyi could not mention the name of Ojebe’s father nor the father of Ebe. This assertion disagreed with Mr. S.O. Attah’s view point. Mr. Attah relied on linguistic judgment to maintain that Ojebe remained feminine while Ogene is masculine. This implied that Ogene is Ojebe’s husband.

If we bear the relevance of the various traditions in mind and the contiguity of these towns, we can agree with the traditions that these towns are paternally and maternally consanguine. Furthermore, if the linguistic parameter is applied in judgment, it is observable that the dialects of all these communities have closer homogeneity than the dialect of other surrounding towns.

1.9 Traditional Pattern of Life
Uchendu (1965) speaking of igbo people generally maintain that the Igbos have a culture and a history which is unwritten. Uche (2006) see religion as a matrix of culture. This indicates that religion as exemplified in the work of Christian missionaries could offer archeological data.

Before the advent of Christianity in Odozor; traditional religion was practiced as a general rule. The people believed in the existence of a supreme being called Chineke or Chukwu. There is a belief in religious pantheon of gods. Chukwu delegated function to the Earth goddess Ani, the oracles and shrines. The Ani priest and the ofor holders were in charge of religious matters and represented their people in religious matters. The Ani priest was spiritual in settling disputes that could not be settled by the council of elders due to want of evidence.

The Earth deity was the ultimate source of morality. Oaths taking before the Ani oracle lend credence to claims and put to rest all arguments arising from one evidence. According to the District Officer’s Report of 1945 and 1957 traditional religious practices in Odozor were relevant to the religious life of the people. Archival sources recognized the guardian sprit of the departed which is symbolized in Odo-cult.

Belief in the continued existence and influence of the departed is very central in Odozor. The ancestors are felt to be still present, directly concerned with the family and watching over their well being.

Cult festivals are performed between the end of the planting season and harvest period every leap year. The people believed that the ancestors as symbolized in the Odo cult are the custodian of the people’s laws, traditions and customs; they are believed to send sickness or misfortune upon any person who violates or infringes upon their dictates. During the Odo cult festivals certain rites were accorded to the ancestors. Offering are made to commemorate the death of the dead or to elicit their support for a particular venture. Sacrifices are also made to invoke the ancestors and request them to pass on their petition for safety to the appropriate quarters.

Besides all these; ancestral rite is the provision of choice food and drinks. This is done to mark the end of the festival. During this event, the living and the dead share a common meal in harmony.

During the festival, Christians and even ordained ministers partake openly in these traditional rites. This situation is an indicator that Christian theology needs to pay more attention to some aspects of traditional African belief in the communion of saints.

Politically, the Odozor people like most Igbo communities maintain a structural system of government which is gerontocracy in nature. In this system of governance, the oha remain the highest legislative and judicial organ of governance, while the organization of young men (age-grade) form the executive organ. The executive arm of government is made of various age grades. They enforce discipline and provide labour for communal purposes. In the absence of a monarch, the most elderly man in the “oha” preside over communal matters and issue out communiqué on behalf of the communities. The political and administrative structure remained in this form until the advent of the colonial masters. The colonial masters very much conscious of the absence of a monarch introduced the warrant chief system of governance.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 101 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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