Ijebu Ode Archdeaconry

ven_abialaSeries of attempts were made to introduce Christianity in Ijebu-Ode even before the Ijebu Expedition of 1892 by some group of people among whom were; Late Bishop James Johnson, late Otunba Payne, late Herbert Tugwell and late J.E. Elliot to mention but a few of them. But they were frustrated by some chiefs and elders in the town. Nevertheless, some people like the Late Joseph Odumosu and A. Adebogun both of Itantebo, Iwade continued practicing the new religion. Late Joseph Odumosu who had been more exposed to the practice of the new religion in Lagos even brought A, B D book to Ijebu-Ode with the aim of converting the people to Christianity through the teaching of the book. This lesson continued in secrecy in his
father’s house at Itantebo (Odubela’s Compound) until the year 1892 when Christian Missionary Society (C.M.S.) authority sent Mr. S.E. Eilliot B.A. assisted by Mr. Joshua Bolujoko Payne to Iwade, Ijebu-Ode on the advice of Mr. J. Odumosu. This was quickly followed by the dispatch of Rev. E.W. George, a Yoruba Clergyman, to Porogun, Ijebu-Ode in January 1893 to do further work on evangelism.

From records available, it is evident that since late 1892 a group of coverts who got the gospel through late Odumosu used to worship together at Ita-Ogi in Porogun. It was in recognition of the activities of this devoted group of worshippers that the C.M.S. sent Rev. E.W. George in January 1893. “It is not the building that makes the Church, it is the congregation. If there had not been this group of worshippers at Ita-ogi, Porogun in late 1892, it would have been pointless sending a full fledged Reverend gentleman to do further work on evangelism in January 1893. On his arrival in Porogun, Revd. George lived with Mr. Odejayi (later known as Balogun Odejayi) at Dogba Compound, Porogun Ijebu-Ode. From here, Rev. George travelled to the surrounding towns and villages spreading the word of God with the same A,B,D. book that had been in use secretly at Pa. Odubela’s Compound.

Amongst the early converts were:
Daddy James Kogbe Daddy Ama
I)addy Gabriel Dairo Daddy David Degun
Daddy James Osilaja Daddy Fuwa
Daddy Segun Daddy Otule
Daddy David Sote Daddy M.I. Osilaja
Daddy George Sebanjo Daddy Daniel Okusi

These new converts carried out the preaching of the gospel on a large scale in Dogba compound, Daddy Odubela’s compound and in an open place at Itantebo. The opposition to the spreading of the gospel had greatly reduced by this time. Later on, the Awujale Oba Tunwase was approached for a piece of land for worshipping; which was given to them at Ita-Ogi, Porogun, Ijebu-Ode. It was on this humble spot that the first baptism was performed by Rev. E.W. George when Mr. Theophilus Sodemuren, Madam Christianah Olusoga, (Nee Kehinde) and Mr. John Igbokoyi were baptized. This was followed in the year 1896 by the one conducted by Rev. R.A. Coker and Rev. E.W. George at Italupe when about forty-one people (41) were baptized. Christians at that time were being referred to as “Onibuuku” (book people). Many parents were against their wards being converted for they did not want ‘Onibuuku’ religion. But with the foresight and diplomacy of Late J. Odumosu and with the support of Awujale Tunwase, additional pieces of land were acquired at Italupe and Ijasi — all in Ijebu-Ode, bringing all the Christian sites to three.