News Release

Church Leaders Visit Traditional Council of Chiefs of Opu-Nembe Kingdom, Nigeria 

Return Visit to King Who had Attended a Nigeria Yenagoa Stake Activity

In July 2021, Jonah Akekere, President of the Nigeria Yenagoa Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, invited the King of the Opu-Nembe Kingdom to a church activity at the Stake Center.  His Royal Majesty, King Biobelemoye J. Josiah (Ogbodo the VIII) honored that invitation and attended the activity.  During the activity, Victor O. Bassey, the President of the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission, established a relationship with the King and worked together with President Akekere to pay a return visit to the king in the Opu-Nembe Kingdom.

On Saturday, 8th April 2023, President Bassey and President Akekere paid a returned courtesy visit to the King and the Council of Chiefs of the Opu-Nembe Kingdon, in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

Also attending from the Church were Opu-Nemben natives Youpele Dumofete, President of the of the Nigeria Port Harcourt Central Stake, and A.B. Stephen Johnson, Patriarch of the Yenagoa Nigeria Stake. They were joined by Sister Winifred Wonodi, National Communications Director, Port Harcourt & Uyo Coordinating Councils, and President Igoniwari Meni S.J., 1st Councilor in the Yenagoa Stake Presidency.  The full-time missionaries also attended.

The Council of Chiefs were represented by Chiefs D.K Derri, Arisemo, Sokari, Wanghagha Deyi, Kinoneryigha, Natein, Efere, Egbelyha Ovuwari, and Amaebite. The Chairman of the Council is Chief Barr. Ezekiel Samuel Teigbenyo-Ikoli.

In his opening speech, the Mission President, President Victor Bassey, extended the love and prayers of the Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, his associates and brethren and thanked the traditional council of chiefs for their hospitality and humility.   He recalled his childhood memories in the Nembe kingdom where his (President Bassey’s) late father had served as a Police Officer.

The Mission President went further to state the mission of the church which is “to help all of God's children to come to Jesus Christ through learning about His gospel, making and keeping covenants with God and practicing Christlike love and service."

He further declared his missionary purpose for the entire kingdom as he quoted from 1 Nephi 6:4 "For the fullness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, and be saved."

President Jonah Akekere, President of the Yenagoa Nigeria Stake, testified of the goodness and blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as preached by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Akekere who is married from the kingdom, expressed his joy and desire to see the people of the kingdom partake of the fruit of the restored gospel. He shared his testimony by reading from 1 Nephi 8:12 " And as I partook thereof, it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit."

The Stake President also stressed on the importance of the family in God's plan of salvation. He equally talked on temple and family work with a promise to return on another day to commence on genealogy work in the kingdom for records to be kept for future generations to know their lineage. President Alfred Youpele Dumofete, a native of Opu Nembe and Stake President of the Nigeria Port Harcourt Central Stake bore testimony of the restored gospel.

The Church was received on behalf of the King by Chief Barr. Ezekiel Samuel Teigbenyo-Ikoli, the Chairman, Council of Chiefs of Opu Nembe Kingdom.

The Mission President presented a picture frame, scriptures and other Church literature and magazines to the Council of Chiefs of Opu Nembe Kingdom. Receiving the gifts, the Chairman of Opu Nembe Council of Chiefs, Chief Barr. Ezekiel Samuel Teigbenyo – Ikoli said, “I want to thank you on behalf of the King, all the other chiefs and the entire people of Opu-Nembe kingdom and that the door is open to the Church to preach in our land, the Church can send their missionaries to us.”


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