Baptist Seminary President bemoans leadership failure in Nigeria, as institution holds Ministers’ Conference Sept 13 to 15

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Femi OGUNLANA
It has become glaring that the anomic and anarchic state Nigeria has descended into is now a source of concern to all strata of the Nigerian social life including religious leaders.
This is incontestable as more people are voicing out against the general insecurity bedevilling the country characterized by widespread killings, kidnappings for ransom, ethnic strifes, hersdmen attacks, banditry, cultism, gangsterism, terrorism and such heinous crimes.
This was the background against which the President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), Ogbomoso, Rev’d. Professor Emiola Nihinlola spoke this morning during a press conference to herald the 2021 Ministers’ Conference annually organized at the institution.
The Professor of Christian Theological Studies frowned bitterly at the deep malaise that currently characterizes the social, economic and political trend in the country heaping the blame rightly at the doorsteps of political leaders at various levels of governmental structure.

Rev’d Prof Emiola Nihinlola


This year’s Ministers’ Conference, which is the 61st edition (the first having been held in 1960), is scheduled to hold between September 13 and 14 at the seminary.
Thousands of gospel ministers including church pastors, Christian educators, church musicians, evangeliists, missionaries and denominational and interdenominational workers and officers, would converge to undertake life and gospel enhancing sessions, propelled by the theme: “Leadership is vision, service and sacrifice,” and Bible passage, Mark 10: 35-45.
According to Professor Nihinlola, the theme is considered germane on three bases, “The first significance is that as a theological institution the seminary programme is a leadership training to equip ministers to lead and serve others. Thus our students will be further equipped in this conference with the principles and practice of leadership for Christian work.

Prof Nihinlola flanked by Rev’d Dr Dele Oluwole, Registrar (left) and Rev’d Dr. Simon Ishola, Deputy President Academics (right)


“The second significance is that all gospel ministers that will participate – students, staff and graduates – will be renewed to offer exemplary, God-fearing leadership needed for the church to develop people and transform society.
”The third significance is that gospel ministers will help to raise and support church members, workers and officers to serve as civil leaders.”
It was while trying to expatiate on this (third) point that he delved, frankly and boldly, into the prevailing situation in the country, with a view to situating the problem and its cause.
Hear him: “I will like to elaborate a little more on this third significance which speaks to the current social, economic and political situation in Nigeria. Everyday life in Nigeria is now characterized by insecurity, kidnapping, banditry, corruption, inflation and poverty.”
Now the clincher: “One major factor responsible for the current hardship is leadership that is weak, selfish, not sincere, not responsible, not strategic and largely incompetent.” (This candid submission generated further reactions, watch out for these in part two of this report, soon).
But the Director of the International Council for Higher Education, West Africa Network, did not stop at just highlighting the problem, he went further to proffer solution. ”One major solution to approach the current challenges is human capital development for all speheres of Nigerian life: secular, religious, education, politics/corporate governance, science/technology etc.”
Throwing more light on the Ministers’ Conference, Prof Nihinlola, who is also the chairman, Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) mentioned some of the resource persons expected at the conference including Rev’d. Dr. Israel Adelani Akanji (President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, NBC), Deacon Musa Ubandoma (Vice President, Administration and Human Resources, NBC), Rev’d Dr Amos Kunat (Chairman, NBC) and Rev’d Dr Jerry Akinsola (former Director, Christian Education Department, NBC).
“We are trusting God for an enriching and empowering conference. Our spirit yearns for leadership renewal for the sake of peace, progress, transformation and development. We have concluded plans to conduct this conference with prayer that God would renew all Christian leaders, that the power of God would continue to consecrate church pastors, gospel ministers, to transform our society. O God, let this conference renew the commitment of your servants to such a lifestyle and ministries that will energize the church to be salt and light of the Nigerian society,” the Seminary helmsman remarked.
The programme in view of the covid-19 pandemic will be held both physically and virtually thus it is envisaged participants (Baptists and non-Baptists) all over the world can hook up through various online platforms.
The NBTS was founded in 1898 by the Southern Baptist Convention of the United States of America “for Christian education and leadership training.”
ogbomosoinsightonline.com further recalls that NBTS is the first tertiary institution to award degree in Nigeria (Bachelor of Theology), as far back as 1948, incidentally the year the first (secular) university in Nigeria was founded – University of Ibadan.
It became a postgraduate school in 2002 and currently focuses on postgraduate programmes in theology, Christian education, mission and music up to doctoral level. Its core values are “vibrant spirituality, sound academics and competent ministry.”
The annual Ministers’ Conference always centres on enhancing the productivity of the gospel ministers and other categories of leaders, promoted through a four-fold objective, which are a renewal of their spirituality and fellowship, updating their academic and professional knowledge, sharpening their ministry skills in leadership, communication and counselling as well as promoting the activities of the Baptist denomination in Nigeria.
Among the top officers of the Seminary who accompanied Prof Nihinlola at the press conference, which held physically and virtually, are Rev’d Dr Gabriel Olaniyan, Deputy President Advancement; Rev’d Dr Simon Ishola, Deputy President Academics; Rev’d Dr Dele Oluwole, Registrar; and Rev’d Kola Alade, PRO.

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