Professor Emmanuel Oyemomi is Rector of the Baptist College of Theology in Lagos. He spoke about the country’s education system and the impact of theological education in Nigeria.
What is the Baptist College of Theology’s plan for the Nigerian education system?
Going back to memory, when it comes to Nigeria, I don’t think we have a solid plan, but we have a legacy. Theological education has had a positive impact on the nation. History has told us that some great institutions started out as seminaries, but these institutions later metamorphosed into great citadels of knowledge.
Dr. JC Pool, the first principal of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho was offered a bachelor’s degree for an approved university by the then president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, which was rejected. The same seminary later became the institution awarding the first degree in Nigeria.
As far as this nation and Africa is concerned, writing and education are not our heritage, undocumented treasures and whatever education is in Nigeria, it is the consequence of theological education in Nigeria. All the schools that the government took over started out as mission schools and the government was not maintaining the heritage of mission schools. When you talk about academic integrity and soundness, we find them among mission schools across the country. They are functional.
The government took over education and made the fight against religion a political issue. It is by legislating against schools. The story was also doctored out of the program. Several topics were also deleted.
The nation has lost its influence in terms of education with constant ASUU strikes affecting the future of students. We have not yet found our place in education. Chief Obafemi Awolowo ensured that education became a natural priority for the benefit of citizens, but the reverse is the case today. It is worrying that we have no value for education because the state of the nation’s education system is dismal.
What is the impact of theological education on the Nigerian system?
The impact of theological education is multifaceted, as theological education has given rise to the birth of several churches. It also led to the proliferation of schools. These were the immediate impacts in the 1950s. Primary schools at that time were practically free.
The missionaries gave scholarships to bright but needy children. This time, Africa has no value for education. People who had an elementary education up to Standard Six back then could be compared to today’s graduates. Missionaries hired such Standard Six graduates and many lives were improved. The missionaries hired them for several government jobs. The teaching of theology has importance in the Bible.
How can theological education help train the leaders of the nation?
Theological education needs a space to train leaders. We need to monitor the track record of Nigerian leaders. Leaders even brag that citizens’ votes mean nothing to them. We have a crop of leaders who have no track record and all they do is manipulate.
Theological education has been ostracized. In recent years, war has been waged against the teaching of theology. It is a threat/war against the source of peace, which is God.
Teaching theology can have a great impact on the leadership of the country, which is a study of GOD. It is education that gives a transformation to be pious. In the teaching of theology you are taught how you should care about other human beings, when used the impact is best put aside. Theological education indicates that God is indivisible, most people with a good theological education act correctly.
Theological education can train people who will use and lead the people. Theological education has produced leaders for the country who function in various places. Theological education has helped people to be versatile, but they are being slaughtered due to selfishness, nepotism and tribalism in the country. God authenticates theological education because we will all come back to God.
What are the impacts of Baptist College of Theology in Lagos?
The impacts of the Baptist College of Technology in Lagos have been enormous. The purpose is to produce godliness, character formation, and spiritual formation for Christian ministry. The college also provides strong spirituality to shape people’s lives for 25 years. He continued to raise giants for the Lord. We have supplied many people across the world, not just in Nigeria. We have our graduates in all states of Nigeria. Some of our products have become prominent figures within denominations and also within government. Many of our students have been trained and they use their GOD-given training to help the government and be supportive. We have our products all over the world. Many of them are in key locations around the world because we provide the transcriptions. This shows that the training we provide is first class.
The college has been accredited with the Association for Christian Education in Africa. in Nigeria. It has also been a campus for the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary
NBTS. We have achieved full accreditation, the first college to be self-sustaining, we have achieved full accreditation and partnered with multiple global bodies – having a strategic focus program is about training people to know more about God. The college has a 360O transmission. We have trained over 1,500 graduates since our inception. Our calendar of activities is stable and in no way disrupted. We just graduated 72 in 2022 to join the job market and make an impact. We have also planted nearly 20 churches since our inception.
Some of our public/private sector graduates develop skills for and equip others. We also train the working class who, after graduation, advance the kingdom of God and contribute to the growth of the nation. Our graduates are the salt of the earth. We also have our trained pastors who work with the federal government and contribute their quota. The College celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and we are highlighting it through several activities.