The Diocese of Lagos Mainland: BORN TO RUN
Following the inauguration of the Diocese of Lagos Mainland on August 23, 2006, as the 95th diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the enthronement of the Rt. Rev. Prof. Adebayo Dada Akinde as its pioneer Bishop on the same day, it became obvious that if this potential giant straddled by the legendary Diocese of Lagos and the Diocese of Lagos West must fly, it needed to walk as it were at double-quick pace. So much needed to be done to get the new diocese off and running: the bishop had no office property called and no Bishop’s court.
Even the Cathedral was not quite finished, as we know them in other places. The amount of work that had to be done looked rather intimidating and could have indeed intimidated a less determined person. The geographical area covered by the diocese was spiritually speaking a harvester’s delight but physically speaking a nightmare. With probably the highest population density of all the dioceses carved out of the old Diocese of Lagos, the territory is largely built up, with a scant allowance of virgin land for acquisition for church planting. This was only one of the many take-off challenges faced by the new diocese. The Bishop had to squeeze into an impoverished space on the middle floor of the Cathedral and make do with it as both office and his conference room. Not daunted by any of these obvious handicaps, the Diocesan set to define his mission and vision for the new diocese. His dream was to develop the Diocese of Lagos Mainland into a place where God is truly worshipped and honored by His children.
Space constraints notwithstanding, the Bishop mobilized his parishioners and Clergy toward attaining the lofty goals he was inspired to set for the diocese. Perhaps nothing captures this dream the way the diocese’s slogan does. “Fear God, do it right and flourish”. These seven words are encapsulated the spiritual underpinning of the Diocese. Put differently, the slogan underscores the vital role that righteousness plays in a man’s spiritual and material standing. With this as the focus and mantra, the Bishop and the people rolled up their sleeves trusting in God Almighty to help them build a befitting diocese, spiritually and physically.
There was so much to be done but the Diocesan was under no illusion that he could go about it alone with his parishioners and clergy. At every turn, he invoked the power and faithfulness of God who Himself founded the diocese. Through his gift of motivation and ready resort to prayers, large numbers of parishioners caught the vision and grasped the enormity of the challenges facing the young diocese. Many mindsets were transformed for good.
Each time the Diocesan speaks men and women pay careful attention because in him they see a sincere, committed leader who leads by personal example. He puts God first and above any other considerations in all matters pertaining to the diocese. It was a matter of time before the positive impact of this style of leadership began to manifest all over the diocese – more churches were opened, a new diocesan school – Canon James Pearse Anglican College – came into existence, and chapels and chaplaincies were inaugurated in a number of medical institutions including, for the first time, the Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba and the NTA Lagos in Tejuoso.