Afikpo, Ebonyi State

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa 55:8-9 NIV

Afikpo, is the second largest urban area in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. It is a Mecca of ancient Igbo tradition and ceremonial (now antique) masks which have been carefully preserved. Several archeological findings support the claim that Afikpo civilization existed as far back as the Neolithic age. Located amidst rolling hills and fertile plains of the Igbo Southeast, Afikpo boasts a rich life woven with vibrant cultures, ancient traditions, and a fascinating confluence of faiths; having the highest number of Igbo Muslims in the South-East. The Islamic Centre, Afikpo, was founded by Sheikh Ibrahim Okpani Nwagui, the father of the present headmaster, who brought Islam to Afikpo in 1958.

The dominant melody in Afikpo is undoubtedly Christianity, with numerous churches echoing praise songs across the city. Yet, Afikpo’s story is not one-note. Islam plays a significant role, with mosques punctuating the skyline and the faithful observing daily prayers. This confluence of faiths creates a unique spiritual landscape, where traditions co-exist and sometimes even intertwine.

Afikpo’s symphony of faith is far more intricate. Surprisingly, this Igbo city holds the prestigious title of being the “Islamic Hub” of the region. The largest Islamic school is not located in the Muslim-dominated North but in the largely Christian South-East. Afikpo hosts the best Islamic primary and secondary school in the country. There are plans to turn the school, known as Islamic Centre, Afikpo, into a full-fledged Islamic University.

Despite its vibrant spirit, Afikpo grapples with issues like cultism, land disputes, and nepotism. These challenges cast a shadow, particularly on the youth, who yearn for a brighter future. This yearning creates a space ripe for the Gospel message, offering hope and a sense of purpose that transcends social ills.

A Call to Prayer:

  • Pray for a spirit of openness and receptivity to the Gospel message in Afikpo, particularly among the youth.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment for missionaries and local believers as they navigate Afikpo’s unique religious landscape, fostering interfaith understanding.
  • Pray for creative evangelistic strategies that resonate with Afikpo’s cultural identity, using its artistic strengths to share the love of Christ.

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