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The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a worldwide church, found in all the continents of the world. Africa is not an exception as Nigeria is not left out. The main objective of this research study is to examine the impacts of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Yorubaland since 1914 to 2010. The study adopted historical and participatory observation research design. It was established from the findings of the study that: Seventh-day Adventist church has contributed immensely to the development of the Yorubaland in the areas of education, healthcare and economy. In education the church impacted the Yorubaland at primary, secondary and tertiary level.  Seventh-day Adventist church has provided five (5) primary schools in the Yorubaland namely; Babcock University Staff School, Ileshan Remo, Ogun; SDA Primary School, Ile-Ife, Ife Central, Osun; Seventh-day Adventist Lgea Primary School,  Kwara; SDA Primary School Oke-Bola, Ibadan; and Seventh-day Adventist Primary School, Ede South, Osun. The church has also provided three (3) secondary schools - Babcock University High School, Ileshan Remo; SDA Secondary School, Ile-Ife, Osun; Seventh-day Adventist Secondary School, Oke-Ode, Ilorin, Kwara State. At terriary level, the church provide two (2) institutions namely, Babcock University, Ilishan Remo Ogun State and SDA School of Nursing, Ile Ife, Osun State. It was also established that the church supported the Yorubaland in healthcare services and facilities with hospitals and clinic that includes:- Babcock University Teaching Hospital (BUTH) Ogun state, Ilisan Remo; Inisa Community Medical Centre; Seventh-day Adventist Hospital Ile-Ife; Aiyetoro Ekiti Medical Centre; Gbongan Adventist Health Centre; and Ilishan-Remo Adventist Health Centre. The church did not leave the economy of the Yorubaland out with her outreach and community development arm, Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA). It has been recognized and appreciated at local and state levels. The intervention programmes of ADRA has supported the region with empowerment programmes such as scholarship, vocational and skills acquisition programmes. The paper concluded that strong influence of Seventh-day Adventist church in the Yorubaland are not in doubt. It was suggested that Leadership style and performance among various past leaders of the church should be studied, so as to identify vital strategies that promoted progress within the church and its community. Finally, it was recommend among others that the church should not only focus on growing in the power of the Holy Spirit but should setup a steering team to develop and oversee a self-discovery of potentials as vital outreach activities along with expected needs.



Keywords: Yorubaland, Southwest, Development, SDA,


Word Count: 401






Table of Contents


Title Page

Certification                                                                                                 i

Dedication                                                                                                    ii

Acknowledgement                                                                                     iii

Abstract                                                                                                         iv

Table of contents                                                                                 v



1.0              INTRODUCTION                                                        1

1.1              Background to the Study                                                                        7

1.2             Statement of the Problem                                               17

1.3             Purpose of the Study                                                               21

1.4              Research Questions                                                                                         23

1.5      Research Methodology                                                                                   24

1.6              Justification of the Study                                              25

1.7              Scope and Limitation of the Study                                                                26

1.8        Literature Review                                                                               27

1.9       Gaps of the literature                                                                                      31

NOTES AND REFERENCE                                                                                     32


2.0       PERSPECTIVES AND PERCEPTION OF RELIGION                       39

2.1               Introduction                                                                                                    39

2.2               Perspectives of Religion                                                                 41

2.2.1 Perspective on how religion alters behaviours                          41

2.2.2 Perspective on how Religion Influences the Growth of the Economy   42

2.2.3 Attitudes to Economic Standard and Societal Institutions              43

2.2.4 Economic Theory of Religious Behaviour                                           45

2.2.5 The Neoclassical Insurance Model                                                       46

2.2.6 Psychological Economics                                                                     47

2.3       Models of Religious Activity                                           49

2.4       Bible Perspective on Economics                                            50

2.5      Types of Religiosity                                                 52

2.5.1        Internal Religiosity                                                                             53

2.5.2        External Religiosity                                                                            54

2.6              The Denomination Perspectives                         55

2.5              Background to Christian Religion                             63

NOTES AND REFERENCES                                                                71




3.1               Historical Perspective                                         85

3.2               The Position of the Church in the First Christian era          88

3.3               Concepts Surrounding Religion and the Church             89

3.4               Socio-Economic Concept                                                          93

3.5               Appraisal of Impacts of the Church of the Acts of the Apostles          96

3.5.1.        Unity                                                                                                   97

3.5.2.   Spirit of Fellowship                                                                97

3.5.3        Their Expectant Prayer                                                                       98

3.5.4        Turning Their World Upside Down                                                    99

3.5.5        Character Transformation                                                                   100

3.5.6        Fearless Preaching                                                                   101

3.5.7        The Worldwide Mission of the Christian Church                               102

3.5.8        Conversion of Thousands of Souls                                                     105

3.5.9        Holy Spirit Dwelling in Our Body as The temple of God                  106

3.6       Lord’s Supper and Shared Meals                                                                   106

3.6.1          Development of Ministry                                                                    107

3.6.2          The Belief in the Imminence of the Parousia                                      108

3.6.3          Correction of Misconceptions about Christianity.                              109

3.7     Appraisal of Socio-economic Impacts of the Church of the Acts of the Apostles  110

3.7.1          Faith Led Charity Work and Missionary Activities.                          110

3.7.2          Death of Ananias and Sapphira                                                          111

3.7.3          Strong Social Concerns                                                                       113

3.7.4          Riot in the Temple of Artemis                                                            115

3.7.5          Schools                                                                                                116

3.7.6          Trade or Professional Associations                                                     117

3.7.7          Gender Issues                                                                                     118

3.8       Church Appraisal Conceptual Model                        119

NOTES AND REFERENCES                                                                                              123


4.0               THE CHURCH AS AN AGENT OF CHANGE                        132

4.1              The History of Christianity in Nigeria                          134

4.2       The Religion and Economy of Yorubaland: Focus on Pre-colonial and Colonial Era 146

4.3       Origin of the Seventh-day Adventist Church                 149

4.3.1    Seventh-day Adventist Church in Yorubaland and Its Spread [1910-2000] 152

4.3.2        The Impacts of Seventh-day Adventist Church in Yorubaland.    156

4.4        Religion as a Tool for Improving Socio-Economic Situation in Yorubaland  157

NOTES AND REFERENCES                                                                   164


5.1       An Appraisal of The Seventh-Day Adventist Church’s Impacts and Challenges   171

5.2       Challenges faced by Christian Missionaries in Yorubaland             177

NOTES AND REFERENCES                                                                                  183



6.1              Summary of Findings                                   186

6.2              Recommendations                                                     193

6.3              Contribution to Knowledge                                   194

6.4              Conclusion and Suggestions for Further Research                   195

NOTES AND REFERENCES                                                               197

Bibliography                                                                                                               233

JOURNALS                                                                                                               243

ENCYLOPEDIA                                                                                                      252

INTERNET SOURCES                                                                                          253

APPENDIX A: ORAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS                                              257





History of Yoruba People                               

The Yoruba people are generally said to be one of the leading peoples of the West Africa region. They had a common origin and historical background. They possess certain characteristics in common which are evidence in their way of life. They organize themselves into networks of related villages, towns and kingdoms; with most of them headed by an OBA (KING) or BAALE (noble man or mayor). They are mostly farmers who lived in towns, their political institutions are monarchial yet democratic; their indigenous religion is polytheistic, but they recognize a supreme deity; the “OLORUN”, they are an artistic people whose culture is purely homogeneous. This group of people are mainly found in the south western part of Nigeria which are; Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Kwara, Ekiti, Lagos, and Ondo. It is observable that the yoruba traditional layout arrangement was mostly influenced by geographic location, population size, the need for expansion, trade opportunities, residents vocation and vulnerability of subordinate towns under major towns in managing strategic trade and military advantages. It was further made clear in the works of P.C.Llyod (1968)1 that the Yoruba city cannot exist without a head which is known as the OBA (I.e. KING). Thus, there an existing and an undeniable structure interaction established in the governing of the Yoruba cities, towns, and village. The duties and responsibilities of the traditional rulers can’t be eroded in the system. The power of the oba therefore resides within the degree of its tradition, influence and ability to sustain the position, while receiving help its attendant population through their political subjectiveness and contributions to the cultural and economic prosperity of their society (DR, Saburi,).

Osun People of Yorubaland

The early, Osun Osogbo was small community (smaller than the average size of 1km of many towns in the region during the seventh century. Therefore their population size was very small. The Osogbo, however conforms to the expected pattern of general spatial settlement layout in Yorubaland.2 It is a community characterized by an elaborate and diversity of material life. It is a community of farmers-hunters, traders and artisans. These community of people rely on hunting to meet their needs for meat protein, but they procured their ceramics for cooking and eating the meat from diverse sources, especially through what were predominately specialized economic exchanges. The diverse range of artifacts in the then community such as cowries, tobacco pipes, glass, ceramics, and so on showed that the community was part of a regional system of commerce and a busy cross roads of social demographic and political networks.

Osun Osogbo is a cultural yoruba ethnic group in the Yorubaland, geographically founded on the latitude 7 degree and 46 degree North and on longitude 4 degree, 34 degree and 0 degree East. This town is a town of awesome cultural interests such as Osun grove world heritage, ataoja’s old and new palace, idi baba, mosaic art, beads, painting, carving, batik, tie-dyeing amongst another art works.

Oyo People of Yorubaland

Oyo is one of the prominent Yoruba town in south western Nigeria. The ancient Oyo empire was founded in the mid-17th century. The empire was headed by the Alafin (KING). According to historical contemporary, Oyo town originated from the Yoruba town of Ile-Ife- generically referred to as the origin of the Yoruba people. This claim is evidence by the similarities of their way of life; living and housing characteristics, language, family structures, traditional beliefs and life-style. Oyo like every other Yoruba towns exhibits three patterns of spatial morphology namely; the core area, intermediate area, and the outer peripheral (outskirt). The core area is an extensive central space dominated mainly by the king’s palace and an open market-referred to as “OJA OBA”, meaning the king’s market. Administratively defined residential quarters and zones of agricultural production were deployed around the central space.3 The core and parts of the intermediate are demonstrated features of the old, while the outskirts exhibit features of the new housing typology and availability of basic social infrastructure.

They often lived in compounds containing several hundreds of inhabitants. There were structures of a series of enclosed rectangular courtyards; their lineage is a strongly corporate body of men and women.

Lagos People of Yorubaland

The Lagos city lies within the sandy, swampy island of about two square miles in size, which is located in a large lagoon that opens onto West Africa’s Bight of Benin. By history the Lagos city was inhabited by a number of people whole political activities wax and waned and those who interacts with one another culturally. The inhabitants included Gbe-speakers (Aja, Fon, and gun) in the west, yoruba speakers in the center and Edo speakers in the east. The migrant fishing people first settled in Lagos and from the beginning, water and canoes have a major role in the life of the residents. Before the sixteenth century a group of people called the Awori (southernmost part) of the yoruba speaking people, dispersed from Isheri, a small village twelve miles up the Ogun river, looking for refuge from conflict of the war of the world. Quite a number of them settled at what is now called Ebute Metta, on the mainland the need for more security drove the people to smaller island in the lagoon. There they established two settlement which are; Oto and Iddo which soon cause an attraction for new immigrants.4

Fishing was the main economic activities, but the local residents also involve hunting and farming a little, despite that their soil didn’t to permit for more agricultural production. Iron making, salt making and canoe building activities also took place among them. Limited local trade occurred along the lagoon in these goods as well as in smoked or dried fish and other foodstuff. Their family relations by kinship often dwell together in a single but large compound, with the authority of the head being the Baale. This person is considered as the eldest male but sometimes the most influential (male or female). The direction of the economic activities of the family were done independently.

Ogun People of Yorubaland

The Abeokuta town, capital of the Ogun state, south-western Nigeria, is considered to be situated on the east bank of Ogun River, around a group of rocky outcroppings that rise above the surrounding wooded savana. Abeokuta (refuge among rocks) was founded about 1830 by SODEKE, a hunter and leader of the Egba refugees who fled from the disintegrating Oyo empire. The missionaries of then also settled in this land in 1840, and also the Sierra Leone creoles who later become very prominent evangelists and businessmen.

The OLUMO ROCK serve has the greatest strength and refuge of the people, as it put them at an advantage position to sight their enemies from afar and gave them the chance to properly prepare means of attacking them. The rock and caves also serve as protective shield against their enemies. The people then constituted themselves into a confederacy of unique groups and settled in the areas surrounding Olumo rock. They engage in fashioning weapons of   such as spears, bows and arrows mainly from the materials within their community which forms the major artillery of their warriors. This shows the existence of foundry and mental smelting in their region.5

Their exploit with iron and other metals is attributed to “OGUN” the god of iron. They are of the believe that all iron and iron like materials are from “OGUN” and at such they used specifically as directed by the gods for wars and for agricultural purposes which made them successful in their agricultural enterprises, producing crops such as;  yam, rice, cassava, corn, palm oil, poultry, cotton and vegetables. The residents of the Ogun people are also known to be popular for their colorful cloth known as ADIRE. They also make use of stone and rocks for construction purposes.

The Kwara People of Yorubaland

The Kwara Ilorin town has no claims of autochthones population in its historical origin. It is a well-established fact that the founders and early settlers of Ilorin, like other settlement were initially seasonal visitors, some of them who later become permanent dwellers. There are two major themes in all the extant traditional explanation on the origin and early history of Ilorin, which are migration and iron. There exist two main sources of the migration that is related with the founding of Ilorin, known as Baruba land and the old Oyo Empire.

The geological and ecological features of the Ilorin, which made it possible for certain occupational activities, seems to have brought about the early migrants into the settlement from at least two regions. The land was rich in iron-ores which were used for iron-working activities such as; iron “grinding” and smelting. There was also an abundant forest for games such as elephants provided for another major attraction and activity, hunting which the tradition of iluerin emphasizes.6

Ondo People of Yorubaland

The Ondo town is located at the south-eastern part of the yoruba kingdom which is about 64 kilometers from its location to IIe-Ife and about 45 kilometers south of Akure, which is it capital. The inhabitant of this town are claimed to have descended from ‘’ODUDUWA”, the progenitor and founder of the Yoruba people. This part of the state is located in the region of tropical rain forest, thus the people engage most in agricultural activities mostly practiced by the men of the society. Farming can be said be mainstay of the order of their economy. This people are known for the production of food crops such as; kolanut, pakala (local beans), plantain, yam, and some other notable food crops which are mostly common to the people residing in the rainforest region.

Apart from farming and trading the other occupation which are peculiar to certain lineages; are blacksmithing and brass-smiting popularly known as legede, also drumming, dancing and hunting. There also exist some other crafts practiced by individuals within the family or the clan which are mainly service to their immediate domestic needs or extended families. Among such crafts is broad loom weaving tradition practiced by their women. The people also involve themselves in trading activities such as petty traders and merchant traders. They are also known for merchants of locally woven cloth commonly called ASO-OKE. They also share similar characteristics with the other Yoruba people such as language, culture and belief.

Ekiti People of Yorubaland

The traditional layout of Ekiti kingdom was a coordinate and co-existing structure pave way for the surrounding neighborhood towns to exist as a source of defensive mechanism and warning system for the main town. It was noted by BABATOLA (2008)7 that this traditional layout of the Ado-Ekiti appeared to have taken a definite shape from the EWI AWAMARO as a matter of strategic repositioning for building the region and its political dominance of the rural and conquered communities. The traditional layout of the Ado-Ekiti relocated most of the settlers outside the area of EWI’S palace. The historical town settings of the Ekiti is synonymous to what is obtained in other parts of the Yorubaland.

The inhabitants of Ado-Ekiti were adherents   in African traditional religion with their fervent worship of the supernatural, ancestral and embodied spirits of varying categories. Their way of worship and traditional rites in Ado-Ekiti revolve around Alaponmi, Oitado, Alafonyu, Ogun Festival and Iwemoogun, Egungun Festivals-Ade, Aeregbe amongst others. They mostly engage in hunting of trees and games for economic.8


1.1      Background to the Study

The Yoruba are one of the tribes that inhabit the lands south and west of the lower Niger. They are one of the largest homogeneous groups among Africans.9 They inhabit a continuous territory and speak the same language. The Yoruba are a town-dwelling people who built kingdoms and empires before they came in contact with the Europeans. There were about fourteen major kingdoms in Yoruba land during the 18th century. The major kingdoms were Oyo, Ife, Ekiti, Igbomina, Ijana, Ijebu, and Ijesha. Others were Egba, Egbado, Ketu, Ondo, Owu, Sade, and Ilorin.

However over five hundred researches have been carried out on the Yoruba ethnic groups. The Yoruba’s are found in states like Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Lagos and parts of Kogi and Kwara. The real-life style of the Yoruba’s is not in their noble ancestries, heroes or deeds but the Yoruba’s life is their religion.10

Religion is a cultural universal. It consists of beliefs and behaviour concerned with super-natrural beings, power, and forces. Cross cultural studies have revealed many expressions and functions of religion. These include explanatory, emotional, social, and ecological functions.

Religion establishes and maintain social control. It does this through a series of moral and ethical beliefs, along with real and imagined rewards and punishments, internalized in individuals. Religion also achieves social control by mobilizing its members for collective action. Although it maintains social order, religion also can promote change. Religious movements aimed at the revitalization of society have helped people cope with changing conditions.

Contemporary religious trends include both rising secularism and a resurgence of religions are inspired by science and technology; others, by spiritualism. Rituals can be secular as well as religious.11 

Religion, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, may be defined as a set of belief, symbols, and practices (for example, rituals), which is based on the idea of the sacred, and which unites believers into a socio-religious community. The sacred is contrasted with the profane because it involves feelings of awe.12 

Scholars have defined religion by reference to the sacred rather than to a belief in a god or gods, because it makes social comparism possible; for example, some versions of Buddhism do not involve a belief in God. Some have argued that political ideologies such as communism can be the basis of a civil religion. Religion is contrasted with magic, because the latter is thought to be individualistic and instrumental.13  

The Anthropolist Anthony F. C. Wallace has defined religion as “belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, power, and forces”.14 Like ethnicity or language, religion may be associated with social divisions within and between societies and nations. Religious behavior and beliefs both unite and divide. Participation in common tribes may affirm, and thus maintain, the social solidarity of a religion’s adherents. However, religious differences may be associated with bitter enmity, again as in Nigeria, where the divide between Christians and Muslims has fueled rioting and killing.

Thus, chapter one of this current study attempts a discussion of the pre-colonial existence of the said ethnic group with emphasis on their traditional origin, geographical setting, and socio-political cum religious organization.

In this study, the researcher will pay attention not only to the social roles of religion but also to the content and nature of religious acts, events, processes, settings, practitioners, and organizations. The researcher also considers such verbal manifestations of religious beliefs as prayers, cjants, myths, texts, and statements about ethics and morality. 

The Religious Background in Yorubaland before Colonialism

There is no general acceptable definition of the word “religion” due to their various differences and diversity. Religion is mostly believed to be “an organised system of beliefs, ceremonies, practice and worship that centre on one supreme God, or the deity” while some others believe it involves a number of gods, or deities.15 In some religions, there is no particular God or gods to worship. Religion is therefore considered as the collection of cultural systems, beliefs systems, and worldviews that are related to humanity, spirituality and morals and values. 

Most of the religions share some characteristics which include:  

1.      Believing in God or deity in God or deity

2.      Doctrine of salvation 

3.      Codes, conducts and ethics 

4.      Usage of sacred stories 

5.      Religious acts or rituals and ceremonies.16  

The religions in Yorubaland have no exception in this category.

The types of religion in Yorubaland before colonialism

There are two types of religion practices in Yorubaland before colonialism which are the Traditional religion and Islam.

Religion is important in Yorubaland and it has a lot of influence in the life of the people. However it is not easy to segregate the Yoruba religion from Yoruba culture. The religion is well understood by indigenes and other people who have associated with them. The way they live and their religious practices.

In the Yoruba traditional belief, they have Almighty God which they called Olorun (Lord of Heaven) or Eledumare (the supreme God worth of great reverence). Most times they add the two words together Olorun-eledumare and used it to express their Supreme Being in Heaven. However they also worship many gods and deities as intermediaries between them and GOD of Heaven. They simply believed that God in Heaven cannot be reached directly.  This was developed from the respects they had for kings. The idea is if their kings cannot be seen or meet directly then the Oba awon Oba (Kings of kings) cannot be reached easily without intermediaries. Those connections that link them to the Almighty are called the Orisas. Those intermediaries that link them to the Almighty are known as Orisas.17 Those Orisas or Deities are in different types, some of them are Esu, Sango, Ogun, Oya Yemoja and many more but each community, city or village in Yorubaland has particular types of Orisas they worship. Sometimes different names are given to the Orisas in different places. For example, the Orisa is called Orisako at Oko, Olufin at Iwofin Orisaowu at Owu and Orisaikire at Ikire.



Islam is a religion that had enrooted itself in Yorubaland before the advent of colonialism. Islam is a monotheistic type of religion that lay it foundation one Oneness of God. Islam is an infinitive word from the word Aslama that means ‘resign oneself’ to profess Islam.18 The term is from the Arabic word “slm’ meaning peace, submission, purity and obedience. The word is defined as surrender to the will of Allah.

Also it is defined as the complete acceptance of the teaching and guidance of God revealed onto His Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w).19 It is quite difficult to precisely ascertain the exact date Islam came to Nigeria. It was unplanned and unannounced. Muslims in the area studied and worshiped secretly and privately. Therefore it was learnt that Islam has been in practiced in a mosque as far back as 1550C.E at Oyo-Ile.20 Also, he suggests the Yoruba awareness of Islam during the time of Emperor Mansa Musa of Mali (d1337 C.E) through the Malian ambassadors and traders who were living in Oyo-Ile the capital of Oyo Empire.21 This is the reason why some people call Islam “Esin Imale” that is” the religion that came from Mali” or “the religion of Malians.” Islam gained ground in Yorubaland and the two religion had existed in centuries before the advent of colonialism. 

This could be traced to some Yoruba traditional religion and some Islamic teachings that concurred with the Yoruba culture. Example

1.       Both religions believe in existence of the Supreme God but with different applications.

2.       Both religions sacred marriage and accepted polygamy

3.      Morals and values such as respect and morals are part of the both religions.22               


The Emergence of Seventh-day Adventist and Practices

The invasion of white men into the entity known as Nigeria can be classified into two phases. First, Christianity was discovered in fifteen century, in wake of geographical discovering. This was when the European explorers were on the sea seeking for route to India. The Portuguese got to Benin in 1477.23 As early as 1472 the Portuguese merchant got to Lagos and Benin.24 In 1485 the merchants engaged the people of Benin in pepper trading. The Portuguese were concerned with the trade but they were convinced that Africans had to be civilized in order to get to them and become good customers therefore to be civilized to them, is to become a Christian and have western education. In 1515 the missionary activities started and a school was established by the Catholics Missionaries for conversion of princes and children of the noble chiefs in the king’s palace. Gasper, the bishop of Diocese of Saotome sent Augustinian monks to visit Warri in the same 1515. Afterwards, a son of Olu of Warri was successfully baptized with the name Sebastian. Sebastian succeeded his father and supported the Portuguese missionaries. Then his son Domingos was sent to Portugal to train for the priesthood.  

Secondly the beginning of Christianity started in September 1842 by the first British Christian mission in Badagry. The slaves from Sierra lone engaged in trading with Yoruba region and spread Christianity. The first church was dominated by those ex-slaves. However, the missionaries were the custodian of education as a tool for conversion. Because education by then aimed at producing Christians who can read Bible and perform services. However, it could be said that the advent of the colonial masters lead to the introduction of Christianity in Yorubaland which added to the two available religions, Yoruba traditional religion and Islam. The western type of education came in through the coming of Christianity. Therefore, the economic aspects will be investigated.

There is an incontrovertible connection between religion and societal events such as socio-economics, politics, and moral behaviors, among others. By implication, religion and some of the societal events are two bed fellows that cannot be divorced.25 While the actual role that religion plays in has remained debatable, the nexus between the two concepts has long been established by scholars in the study of Religion.26 Religion plays a major role in the society. There has been significant growth in Churches over the years, these churches have significantly spread their tentacles to different parts of Nigeria, and have also flourished as a result of this spread.27

It is perceived that religion and societal activities are two inseparable institutions.28 Asserting that earthly governments are mere agents of God’s theocratic governance.29 Similarly, most societies “give religion a paradoxical role in human affairs—as the bearer of peace and the sword".31 For example, in social related issues, there are ample evidences that: the strength of the family unit is intertwined with the practice of religion. Church attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability and happiness. The regular practice of religion helps poor persons move out of poverty and is particularly instrumental in helping young people to escape the poverty of inner-city life.32 This shows that church influences on family can have multiple effects on the society since the family is the basic unit of the society and community.

Also, religious beliefs and practices contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment.33 Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against a host of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock, births, crime, and divorce. The regular practice of religion also encourages such beneficial effects on mental health such as less depression (avmodern epidemic), more self-esteem, and greater family and marital happiness. In repairing damage caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, and marital breakdown, religious beliefs and practices are a major source of strength and recovery. Regular practice of religion is good for personal physical health: It increases longevity, improves one's chances of recovery from illness, and lessens the incidence of many killer diseases.34 A study presented a statistical test of the hypothesis that Protestantism is positively associated with economic growth.35 To a great extent this proves that religion can have an economic impact, whether positive or negative on the society where it exist or strive.

The success story of Christianity in Nigeria actually began in September 23, 1842 with the Methodist Missionary Society, through the pioneering works of Thomas Birch Freeman, his wife and two devoted African helpers, Mr. and Mrs. William De-Graft.T.36 Freeman arrived Badagry during the reign of Warraru, theking of Badagry. The first service was held under Agia tree in Badagry and from there, Christianity spread and the increase in number of worshippers prompted thebuilding of bamboo cottage, which became the first church in Nigeria.37 More Christian missionary activities started from Sierra Leone where liberated slaves of Nigerian origin were clamouring to return home. Between 1838 and 1839, some of them arrived in Abeokuta and Badagry. It was in answer to the request of those of them who had been converted to Christianity in Sierra Leone that, the Christian Missionary Society (C.M.S.) send Henry Townsend who arrived Badagry December 1842, and at Abeokuta, in January 1843.38

Similarly, the Seventh-day Adventist Church began its work in Nigeria in 1914 with the arrival of its first missionaries, Elder D.C.Babcock, his family and two ministers, a Ghanaian R.P. Dauphin and a Sierra Leonean, S. Morgue. They left Freetown by boat in February 1914 and arrived in Lagos, on March 7, 1914. Babcock was responsible for the circulation of the Advent message in West Africa. He had been directly in charge of work in Sierra- Leone and Ghana where he administered them as a single mission until 1913. In 1913, a missionary conference was held in Freetown where Babcock and others were sent to be in charge of the work at Erunmu in Nigeria.39

Since the days of Babcock the Seventh-day Adventist Church has grown to have about 19 medical/ health institutions, primary schools, at least 10 recognised secondary schools, 1 university, several Adventist book centres across the country that develop and distribute character building resources such as books and other media resources like tape, video, picture rolls, flannels, among others. All these have been made possible through proper mobilisation of gifted church and non-members of the society who have one way or the other contributed their personal resources.40 Other institutions that the Seventh-day Adventist church have infiltrated are Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA), and Home Education Services. The Church also accepts as a cardinal role that it must resist the kind of bad governance that abuses human rights and indulges in corrupt practices.41

Indeed, Adventists are called to be a voice for liberty of conscience to the world. During the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1998, Seventh-day Adventists urged the United Nations, government authorities, religious leaders and believers, and non-government organizations to consistently work for the implementation of this Declaration. Politicians, trade union leaders, teachers, employers, media representatives, and all opinion leaders were also urge to give strong support to human rights.42 The United Nation’s 49th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women List of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) listed the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and Adventist Development and Relief Agency among the Non-governmental Organisations that promote the right of women through their services.43

Moreover, with the present situation globally, nation building is attained when citizens of a nation have unimpeded opportunities to education, commerce, jobs, availability of health care, and other facilities to develop their talents. However, such must accomodate the protection of human rights, property, and freedom of worship. Apkepuun notes the impacts of Churches generally on nation building, he states that “the mission provided the major intellectual inspiration of Nigerian activist who formed local association out of which Nigerian Nationalism emerged as an independent movement”. He continued that the Church laid the foundations for Socio-economic development of modern Nigeria.44

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Religion which is a means of believe in one GOD has become so pervasive that it is not easy to isolate from other aspects of life.45  Religion as in one way or the other have a great influence in the social system of the society at large. Every society now and then is made of both the super-structure and sub-structure, this class works together for the survival and functioning of each society. The super-structure which entails the political, law, marriage, family, education, healthcare and religion exerts an influence on the sub-structure which entails the economic and technology aspects of the society. This two structures are inter-dependent, the sub-structure exerts substantial influence on the super-structure to ensure the continuity of the society (Karl max theory of “Economic determinism”). This can therefore translates that any defaults from any of this institutions ( law, politics, religion, marriage, family, education, economy, healthcare and technology) will have effect in the growth of that society and which also means that each institution have to work together to gear the growth.

Therefore in order for a society to maintain a stabilized social order and economic growth of their social system, it is necessary that religion as part of the social system plays its role effectively. The argument and problem here now is that the role of religion in the development of Nigerian society has been mis-represented, this which is now a major problem calls for correction. This mis-representation is said to be caused by the diversity and indoctrination in religion and this have brought about the upheavals such as insurgency and terrorism in our present day society. This upheavals has eaten deep and causes a great damage to our economy and general growth as a whole, we can even dear to say this is one of the major crisis we are experiencing in Nigeria, when ethnicity is put aside. One of these crises is the said insecurity which is affecting the country’s socio economic development and social order in the society.

Religion as an institution is meant to serve has means where cohesiveness is achieved in the society through moral standard and judgment in a common belief which should enhance the well-being of the society. The Christian missionaries of the western countries who brought the Christian faith into Nigeria society are well known for their massive contributions to the wellbeing of the people both in services and development of the nation by making positive impact in the society. This was notable in their works in the line of education, Seventh-day Adventist schools in the yorubaland, the Church impact in healthcare services and facilities. Other impact are training, housing, and so on; all which have contributed to the socio economic development of the then society but this is farfetched from what is happening now.46

Religious practices should generally inoculate individuals against a host of social problems including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock birth, divorce, corruption and crime. These practices should also encourage such beneficial effects on mental health as less depression, more self-esteem and greater family and marital happiness in preparing damages caused by alcoholism, drug addiction and marital breakdown. Religious belief should be a major source of strength and recovery gearing a form of development in the nation. Religious activities should be evidence in such that it enhance moral constraint and a decline in dubious attitude among members of the society.  Religion should be the first contact in correcting all these unlawful acts.47

Another problem of religion is the said denomination in Christianity which is justified by the given of differing value system and institutional structures of our churches and as there are so many factors militating against the church from contributing towards the development and upliftment of the society’s economy.  The church itself has a body is going through many crises as result of religious crises. Also there are many expectations required or expected from our religious bodies especially Christianity, this as it seems has overburdened the churches and causes much lapses in the society when there is a form of decline or failure to perform this expectations.48

It is worthy of note that most churches like the Seventh-day Adventist church have tried to make some impact in the society but this impact can be said to be minimal which cannot be said to have covered major aspect of the socio-economic development of the country especially in Yorubaland. The impact of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the Yorubaland is mainly based on education which has not filled any vacuum because most Christian bodies and church focus on education has making an impact but this is often generally believed to be a means of financial acquisition for the church.49 Many even see this as a means of exploitation where the fees are more than what people can afford.

Thus, there are ways in which these problems of mis-representation, diversity, indoctrination, denomination and minimal impact of the churches specifically the Seventh-day Adventist church can be looked into as well as corrected where necessary. The aim of the work is therefore to properly address such issues and crises. This study will seek to evaluate ways in which corrections can be made to religious and societal crisis and it impacts in the socio-economic development. And also incorporate some socio-economic activities in the Yorubaland to its religious activity. This study will offer suggestions on how best the Seventh-day Adventist church can respond to these problems.

The role, whether active or inactive, of any church impacts on socio-economic and religion situations of individuals at a given time. In other words, even our inactions have influences on the society. The church institutions are known for their contributions to the wellbeing of people with hundreds of institutions across the globe with Nigeria having over thirty of such institutions.50 They support the state in the building of communities with public order, public health, a clean environment, and an atmosphere that does not unduly inhibit the citizens’ ability to raise families and freely explore the facets of their humanity.51 Despite all these contributions it was stated in the work of Francis T., caption ‘Does the Adventist church impact the world?’ that, the impacts of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on geo-political and other global issues is heavily questioned.52

It is well known that Nigeria has periodic religious upheavals which are also stirred by ethnic and political rivalries, increasing incidences of corruption and poor health services.53 Many social and economic facilities are not working in the country and the political realm is unstable.54 Crime is also prevalent in the society making Nigeria a home to a substantial network of crime, such as drug trafficking. There the juvenile crimes, caused by "Area boys” mostly in Lagos and other cities. For instance, gang violence in Lagos resulted in 273 civilians and 84 policemen killed from August, 2000 to May 2001. Political corruption pervaded the entire nation. Infact, it is ranked 143 out of 182 countries in Transparency International's 2011Corruption Perceptions Index.55 Poverty has risen in Nigeria with almost 100 million (60.9%) people living on less than a $1 (0.63 pound currency) a day, despite the economic growth that statistics have revealed. This figure rose from 54.7% in 2004. It was predicted that this rising trend was likely to continue. Reports show that in 2010, respondents (93.9%) felt themselves to be poor compared to 75.5% six year earlier.56 This kind of data should help government and various institutions to know what is really happening so they can take appropriate actions and come up with policies and programmes.

Thus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a role to play in contributing positively to policies and programmes that can help solve the existing societal problems because of its position in the lives of people as an agent of positive change. Though, many Western social scientists have predicted that religion would cease to be a relevant factor in society and politics. Many trace this theory, alternatively known as modernization and secularization theory, to thinkers such as Marx, John Stuart Mill, Weber, Freud, Comte, and Durkheim.57

The desire of most people including those who participate in threatening developmental efforts, is to attain a better socio-economic and religious lifestyle. Therefore, this study is geared towards determining the impacts of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Yorubaland from 1914 to 2010. It also evaluated methods of responding to societal ills and the problems generated by such responses, and how the Church has been able to incorporate some impacts in the Yorubaland and its religious activities. This work will also identify the causes of religious, social, and economic related problems and the perception of people about the Church institutions’ impact on their immediate environment. This study also offered suggestions on how best the Church can respond to these problems.

 1.3       Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this research was to ascertain the impacts of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the Yorubaland from 1914 to 2010. The study demonstrated the responsibility of the church in relation to socio-economy and religious activities. The study evaluated the areas of the economy the church has had major impacts and what they are doing to improve on other sectors of the society in the Yorubaland. Other Objectives were to:

1.       Ascertain the perception of the selected communities towards the Church as an agent of positive change in all ramifications of human activities.

2.       Identify the factors militating against the church in contributing to the upliftment of the nation.

3.       Ascertain if the active or non-involvement of the church in nation building is taken for granted in the Yorubaland.

4.       Identify the church’s channels of influencing government and societal issues and the significant progress in addressing the ills.

5.       Ascertain the Church stands or position in socio-economic issues in the Yorubaland.


1.4    Research Questions

1.      What has been the alteration or changes in the religion of the past and now?

2.      What can bring reduction to the pervasive religious activities?

3.      To what extent has the Seventh-day Adventist church made impact in the socio-economic development of the Yorubaland?

4.      Are the impacts more of good than bad?

5.      What are the ways through which the Seventh-day Adventist church can influence governmental and societal issues?

6.      What areas has the Seventh-day Adventist church neglects to make impact on?

7.      What should happen in cases where socio economic impact of the church is criticize or deprived by the government and people?

8.      Should the Seventh-day Adventist church be criticize for not making any impact in the socio-economic development of the Yorubaland?

9.      What are the way forward towards the upheavals caused by religious diversity and demonization?

10.  Should there be a competition among churches over socio-economic impact and development?

11.  What measures should be put in place towards the checking of the imbalance in religious activities?

12.  If it is believed that religion should be a mean of cohesiveness within the society, what then brought about the religious diversity?

13.  What should be held responsible for this religious crises?

14.  In what way can the Seventh-day Adventist church help to impact more on socio-economic development?

15.  Should there be any criteria in measuring the impact of the church in socio-economic development?

16.  Should the Seventh-day Adventist church dwell on the religious crises caused by religious diversity in making impact in the socio-economic development of the society?

17.  Should the impact of the Seventh-day Adventist be restricted to their members alone?


 1.5      Research Methodology

The methods adopted is the descriptive non experimental research design, in which the primary focus for the research is to describe some phenomenon or to document its characteristics. Such studies are needed in order to document the status quo or do a need assessment in a given area of interest. For this research, it involved the analysis of documents, statistical compilations and manipulations, reference and abstract guides, as well as contents analysis. The methodologies include multi- dimensional methods of study such as the historical analytical approach, the social analytical approach, and the theological critical approach. A variety of research tools such as online articles, visits to library and historical websites; the Church archives and use of published sources (Journal articles, Biblical Commentaries, periodicals, etc) were employed to give the research a contextual base.

Apart from the target population, oral (personal) interviews were administered to field and retired Pastors of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Others such as Church leaders at the various organisational levels were also contacted. A historical approach is also necessary in that this dissertation is an extensive understanding of how Seventh-Day Adventist Church has been able to affect the religious and social-economic progress of the Yorubaland. As the researcher uses participatory observation otherwise known as phenomenological method, the researcher will attend many Saturday Services and Weekly Programmes of the church so as to garner on the spot observation of the church.

Data were collected using interviews and documented information (secondary data). Information collected through interviews and qualitative data were subjected to content and the matic analysis.

 1.6        Justification of the Study

It is always crucial to have a deeper understanding of the contribution of religion to the welfare of the nation. The practice of religion has beneficial effects on behaviour and social relations: on illegitimacy, crime and delinquency, welfare dependency, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, depression, and general self-esteem.58

Nigeria is faced with myriads of socio-economic problems, mismanagement of resources, leadership problem and other family related problems which in turn is the basic unit of social control.59 These problems affect the individuals in the society. These entire individuals have one affiliation with one religion or the other as revealed by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in 2011.60 Taking cognisance of this, it very important to know the role or impact of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on religion, politics, and socio-economic condition of the people.

The selected Church upheld a lot of teachings and ministries or principles ranging from stewardship, education, health, relief services, evangelism, character building information, among others.61 All things being equal the church programmes and community services should yield positive outcome. This study brings to limelight the impacts of the church and other related issues concerning the church making concerted efforts in developing better strategies to impact human life in all ramifications. The interaction of the Seventh-day Adventist church within religious and various socio economic issues/ problems and critical analysis of the church role in nation building were therefore highlighted.

This study did not limit itself to religious matters alone. It was the researcher’s expectation that this study will bring to light the holistic role the Seventh-day Adventist Church has played and should continue to play to create a better society and improve governance. It was speculated that, in the end, this study will aid an understanding of the relationship between church and society as well as its impacts on the life of the Yoruba people.

 1.7              Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study encompassed the history of Seventh-day Adventist Church in Yorubaland, and the activities of the church, as it will be of benefit to the public within southwestern part of the country. A historical background is also relevant to help readers understand how Seventh-day Adventist Church is fairing or what they are doing that stand them out as it pertains to the development of this region. An understanding of the impacts of Seventh-day Adventist church on the religion and socio-economy of Nigeria is the motivation for this study. This study will demonstrate that the responsibility of the church have more to do with socio- economy and religious activities. Other specific issues looked into are evaluating the economic impacts of the church, and what they are doing to improve the socio- economic life of Yorubaland. The perception of selected communities towards the church as an agent of positive change in all ramifications of human activities; the factors militating against the church in contributing to the upliftment of the nation; the church channels of influencing government and societal issues; the significant process in addressing the ills coupled with the trials and triumphs of Adventism in selected areas of Yorubaland emphasizing developmental strides and the causes of religious, social, economic and political problems.

The study was therefore limited to the examination of the planting, growth and development of Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nigeria especially in Yorubaland. Emphasis was also placed on the impacts of the church on the Yorubaland. Attention was given to certain towns and cities in Yorubaland where Adventism has made and is still making positive impacts in area of religion and socio- economy.


1.8       Literature Review

Virtually all the activities and way of life of Nigerians are influenced by religious activities or religious traditions. There are also significant traces of decisions taken as a nation base on religious affiliation that are embedded in Nigeria constitution such as the customary Court Act and Sharia Court Act.62 Outside the constitutions are government involvements with pilgrimage activities to the extent of sponsorship. These few examples should warrant appropriate assessment of the impact of religious institutions on national affairs and values placed on vital issues that affect the society. Even in societies where the church is separated from the state, the people found in the society are also found the church. This entanglement leaves room for two way impartation directly or indirectly. That is, the church influence the people found in the society and the society can likewise affect the church.63

Given their prominent place in the societies, religious leaders are well positioned to significantly contribute to a change of attitude towards economic growth. Whether they use their influence in a positive or negative way remains to be seen. Holy books contain various texts which are applicable to many situations in life.64 At several places in the Bible, the rulers are criticized for the harsh treatment of their people and the poor in particular. Religious leaders can use these phrases for criticizing their governments, without being very specific about the situation they are referring to. This can be a successful strategy in case of oppression by dictatorial leaders. Sermons were the vehicle through which protest against oppression were conveyed. These sermons and related ones obtained much attention by the press and thus inspired public opinion and encouraged others to question the government on issues such as corruption, human rights and political freedom.65 There are clear examples of religious leaders stimulating change through important roles played in their respective countries. Examples are; South Africa (Bishop Tutu), the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik (Evangelische Kirche),1987 sermon From Bishop Gitari of the Anglican Church, Kenya and Poland (Roman Catholic Church).66

Religious arguments can, however, also be used for legitimizing the status quo. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank, reports of resistance by religious conservatives against the increasing role women obtain as a result of the loans provided.67 Rumours are spread about the evil that will be caused by joining the Grameen bank. It is said to convert women to Christianity, to destroy Islam andsteal houses and property etc. Female workers of this bank often used bikes for travelling between the various villages. The Muslim conservatives, however, could not accept a woman on a bike. He also reported of a case in which a branch of Grameen was closed after its manager was threatened by the local mullah. Women of the village persuaded the local mullah to ask the manager to reopen the branch. In this process the women argued that the bank’s manager knew more of the Quran than the mullah himself.68

These are evidence of how religion can cause socio-economic empowerment of some groups in the society which can have multiple effect on societal growth. Moreover, the loans would help them to work at home, which would, they argued, be in more accordance with Islamic rules than necessitate them to go out. Using the argument that the new situation is in more accordance with the religious tradition than the current one is found frequently in the literature.69 In general, reform is more successfully established if promoted in society’s dominant religious framework.

On the other hand, according to Plateau, the lack of a centrally determined interpretation of the holy books makes some religions such as Islam vulnerable for misuse; every ruler can choose the imam he likes best.70 Some studies take this view as a starting point and investigate the relationship between religion and institutions as well as types of governance that are known to positively or negatively affect economic growth.71 Religious upbringing and active religious participation increase trust toward government institutions and reduce the willingness to break any sort of legal rule.72  Another claim is that the adaptability of institutions is important for economic development. Quran nicely illustrates the importance and the historical evolution of adaptability of law for economic development. He argue that there are few economic rules in some religions which has led to underdevelopment in some region of this world.73 Therefore, the lesson for this present generation is to adopt good values that can bring about socio-economic growth and spiritual growth since they are all indispensable aspects of societal balance.

Mbiti, in his work ‘The Crisis of Mission in Africa’, notes that in matters of politics, the church cannot stand aloof like a spectator since in fact the Kingdom of God is a political Kingdom. He says that Christians have to be fully involved in political development because the church has something to offer in the way of removing injustices, corruption, exploitation and bringing about reconciliation in society. However, Mbiti has not explained the impact of the church’s involvement in removing these social ills in development.74

Gilpin considers the relationship between education, social and economic change in the context of the growth and development of the village church in Western Kenya in Kakamega and Bungoma Districts. He considers how the church developed sufficient roots to enable it remain a vital part of village life, where it is considered as a vehicle for wider
contact and communication, a stimuli to self-help and a resource in time of hardship or need.75

Getui covers the SDA Church’s establishment and its role in social economic development from a historical perspective. He concluced that SDA Church has tremendously imparted  South Nyanza District of Kenya.76

Amayo covers the SDA Church and the role it plays in education in the whole country. Like Getui’s, Amayo’s work has taken a historical approach to the study of the church by could read the Bible in order to adhere to the teaching standards of the church. However, he notes that this trend is changing gradually and now the church could encourage higher education for its members.77

From the literature reviewed above, there is clear evidence that the church understands development as a general improvement in economic, social, political and spiritual aspects of life.


1.9       Gaps of the literature

From the literature reviewed above, a number of studies have been carried out to study the impacts of Seventh - day Adventist Church. None of these studies had focused on a particular race in Nigeria.

The Scopes of most of the existing studies are limited to either a single category of development or cover limited geographical regions, particularly in developed countries. Moreover, there are a very few studies on SDA church in Nigeria.

There is further evidence that previous studies on the SDA Church have given very little attention to development activities outside the field of education.

Thus, a further study on the SDA church is necessary to highlight its establishment in the Nigeria, particularly in the Yoruba region where it was first established and to highlight its development activities in the region.

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