AN APPRAISAL OF THE ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY AND ITS INFLUENCE ON TIV RELIGIOUS CIVILIZATION
The project work “The advent of Christianity to tiv land and its influence on church growth” traces the origin of Christianity in Tiv land, its impact and progress to the church in Tiv land. The project is carried out by primary sources, which an interview conducted by Zungwe Deborah, Rev. Prof. Ahaneku Anjou was interviewed on 23-06-2016 and Rev. Peter Azuara at Mkar-Gboko, Benue State of Nigeria. The project also adopted secondary sources by using books. In the research carried out, we discovered that, missionaries brought Christianity as far as 19th century with education, agriculture, gospel, medicine, thereby developing our land. But to some people, much was not done by the missionaries rather cause worst to Tiv society. Some with the opinion that, the mission did their best by giving education which is the key to success and most of the missionaries died and were buried in Tiv land for this cause of the gospel. I thereby say that, the missionaries did more good than harm. Therefore, more research should be carried out on this topic for more understanding.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY IN NIGERIA;
This project focuses on the arrival of Christianity to Tiv land, also how Christianity came to Nigeria in the 15th Century through Augustinian and Capuchin Monks from Portugal to Benin and Warri. In 19th Century most Missionaries arrived in other parts of Africa, Roman Catholics and Anglicans. In 1842, the Church of England was established in Badagry by Townsend. In 1846, Samuel Ajayi Crowther an Ethnic Yoruba and former slave was elected Bishop of Nigeria and the first Black Bishop of Anglican Communion, Lagos, which became a Diocese of its own in 1919(Erivwo 1979). In 1857, the Christianity spread to Jebba People, and the EtSU of Bida was converted to Christianity. The Missionaries to Nigeria established Christianity in Onisha, Bonny became the Headquarters. In 1889, Christianity spread to Hausa land, establishing a Mission in Zaria in 1902.
In 1930, other Missionary bodies like the Wesleyans had occupied different part of Nigeria. BENUE STATE IN PERSPECTIVE (2003).
On April, 1911, Christianity (NKST ‘’acronym’’ meaning Nongo U Kristu Hen Sudan Ken Tiv),the English meaning is ‘‘The Church of Christ in Sudan among the Tiv’’ now called ‘‘URCC’’ meaning Universal Reformed Christian Church came through the Dutch Reformed Church Missions of South Africa, under the leadership of Rev.Carl Zimmerman toJ.E. Isholibo Sai in Sai Village in Benue State (Rubingh 1969). Few months later, some catholic railway workers started spreading Christianity along Makurdi side still in Benue. (BENUE STATE IN PERSPECTIVE 2003).
In 1912, Missionaries were granted the permission to travel through Tiv areas, before that time, foreigners were not allowed to enter Tivland, because the Tiv People saw any stranger coming to their land as threat, most especially foreigners. The Tiv land was the last area of conquest in Nigeria to be brought under British control. But today, Christianity grew up in all the Tiv land, Central North Nigeria known as the Middle Belt with Schools, Hospitals, Banks, good Roads, and so on. ‘‘Tiv view on Spiritual matters could be conceptualized under four distinctive parts of the spirit; the concept of Aondo (God) which is the Supreme Being,Akombo(Rituals), Tsav(witchcraft),and Ujijingi(spirits). Ujijijngi includes Adzor’’.This is because it is on this that the entire traditional religious sect among the Tiv are embedded.
Aondo is the high God, the Creator. Aondo has personality, and He can be angry and expresses his anger even today in his roar of thunder and in spitting out the storms.
Akombo rites was made to communicates to God when men could not reach God because of the pestle a woman struck against God while pounding yam in her Mortal, God(Aondo) became angry and left man. Therefore Akimbo (Ritual) was used to communicated with God from afar.
Tsav-witchcraft; Tiv people believes that, people can turn to some animals or objects to commit evil, such as kill, run people mad, destroy destinies and so, and after committing such evil transform back to human being. This can be done using Tsav.
Ujijingi- spirits are also known as Adzor, these spirits have cult were they dwell and also move around. Those spirits could be good or bad. The Adzor Cult was believed to have helped others such as in healing, blessing or fighting for others.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The problem this project hopes to solves is the issue of the coming or Advent of Christianity and its influence in Tivland, that is, how Christianity entered Tivland,who were the persons that brought Christianity and what important has it given to Tiv people? Has Christianity added or reduced the Tiv people values?
The Tiv people were known as united group, in unity of power, language, in human and the Tar may be seen in the early practice of preserving the excrement of leaders who left the tribal area when the time came to go back to his Tar, the leader carried his excrement with him and threw it away at home (tar) but it’s not so today. (Rubingh 1969:66)
Tiv people do things in common, love, care and were united together, this is one of the reason Islam could not penetrate Tiv land, with their oneness said no to Islam and Islam faded away in Tivland accept now.
In Tiv contemporary Society, there is ‘‘no’’ such unity, now that we have Christianity that can even make the unity stronger, instead, we are in disunity.
1.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This research work seeks to know the origin of Christianity in the land.
To know how the Tiv people reacted to the arrival of Christianity when they already had their traditional Religion.
To know the influence of Christianity to Tivland.
To know if Christianity is real growing in Tiv.
To know if Christians are not united among themselves in Tivland.
1.4. JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY
The interviews and reviewed of books carried out by me indicates that, Christianity actually came to Tivland at Sai now Katsina-Ala Local Government of Benue State in 1911 by missionaries, with Education, Agriculture, Medicine and Bible. These things mentioned are tools for development. But some persons are still with the opinion that, the Missionaries could not do the best they should, rather, contributed to problems we are having today, well, I can say that, Missionaries gave their best by giving their to die for the gospel, let us continue where they stopped and make it greater by sacrificing and giving out our love to others.
1.5. SCOPE OF STUDY
This project focuses on the Origin of Christianity in the Tiv land, reaction of Tiv people to Christianity, and also influence on Church growth in Tivland.
The study has adopted the following methods for the research work; it includes primary sources by using oral interviews, conducted by Zungwe Deborah. The persons interviewed were; Rev. Prof. Anjov Ahenakaa, Department of Philosophy And Religions, Benue State University Makurdi and also Seminary School Mkar on 23 June, 2016. And Rev. Peter Azuana. The General Secretary “NKST” “Nongo U Kristu U i Ser U Sha” meaning Universal Reformed Church Headquarters Mkar on 25th June, 2016. And also secondary sources such as consulting Textbooks,Journals,Articles,internet,Encyclopedia,Dictionaries,academic project ,data collection and so on for a better research.
1.7. RELEVANCE OF STUDY
This research work is relevant in the following ways:
It serves as a source of reference Book.
It serves as research material.
It relevant to Churches (to gain more Knowledge).
It is a sense of History.
Lack of Books for research Purposes.
Insecurity, most people are not open to people even their community because of evil society.
The dead of my Daddy while in Mkar-Gboko for the first day of the oral interview.
1.9. DEFINITION OF TERMS
Advent: Advent means coming or arrival, first appearance.
Advent is from a Latin word ‘‘Adventus’’ meaning Arrival.
Advent also means a season observed in many Western Christian Churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of nativity of Jesus at Christmas.
Latin Adventus is the translation of Greek word parousia commonly used to refer to the second coming for Christians.
Advent means the coming of an important event, person, invention, and so on.
But in this context, Advent is the coming of Christianity.
Christianity: Christianity is a ‘‘Monotheistic religion’’ based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament.
Christianity is the World’s largest religion with over 2.4 billion adherent known as Christians.
Christianity is based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and the teaching of inspired Apostles and
Evangelist as recorded in Acts of the Apostles in the Holy Bible.(Nnaji 2009:3).
TIV: Tiv has a dual meaning, is a name of group of people in Benue State and the name of the Father of all Tiv People. But in this context, Tiv, a group of people in Benue State, Middle Belt of Nigeria. (Makar 1994:4).
Tiv originated from Bantu in Congo to the South East and inside Cameroom, settled on Hills located a few miles South-East of Obudu, Akiga located Swem Karagbe hill (1969:62), finally settled in Benue State.
The Tiv bordered to the East by the Hausa-speaking, Mada, Jukum,and Chamba to the North by the Alago and Akwe to the West by the Idoma and South by theUdam.
Tivland stretches from approximately 60 to 300 North and from 80 to 100 East Longitude.Tiv also lived on both Banks of the Benue River about 150 miles from its Confluence with the Niger. (Rubingh 1969:62)