Most Rev. Anthony Adaji, MSP

The pilgrimage of life is a tale of grace and graft, grace given from above and each individual’s ability to graft oneself by corporation into the pattern of providence. That same providence smiled upon the family of Mr. Adaji Ogili and Late Mrs. Nana Oduka Adaji (both of the then Awo/Ogbagbala Parish of the Catholic Diocese of Idah, Kogi) in the great gift of a son on the 13th of October, 1964. Will this son grow to become a noble man or an ignoble fellow? Like all mothers do, his mother did pray, that his steps may not falter from the path of grace. They named him Anthony Ademu Adaji and the town of Ukpaba was wild with joy.
The little, handsome and precocious Anthony began him Primary Education in 1970, at Roman Catholic Mission School, Ogbagbala/Okpoku in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State. Even at a very tender age, the invisible hand of the ‘Hound of heaven’ was already hone his path.
His childhood was not serene but a trying one, as a result of the demise of his mother in the year 1972. This forced him to break off his studies for two years, from the beginning of 1974 till the end of 1975. However, death will not distract the destiny of a chosen one, and so, providence made it possible for the star for the little Anthony to shine again. Anthony continued his Primary Education in the year 1976 and finished up in 1979. In 1980, Anthony as a man of great desire for knowledge proceeded to the prestigious Imperial Commercial College, Kaduna and finished up in 1985,with a brilliant result.
The voice that was once silent and unsure, at this stage in his life became lucidly clear, “I have called you by your name, you are mine (Is 43:1)”, “I chose you before I gave you life and before you were born, I selected you… (Jer 1:5). In response to the perceived call, Anthony joined the National Missionary Seminary of St. Paul, Gwagwalada, Abuja in 1986, where he did his intensive studies in both philosophy and theology and finished up in 1995. During the course of his studies in the seminary, in January 25, 1992 he was made an Acolyte. In December 3, 1994, he was ordained a Deacon and by the special grace of God ordained First Igala MSP Priest in July 1, 1995.
One must not fail to acknowledge the role played in the life of Most Rev. Dr. Anthony Adaji, MSP, by Msgr. Abel Bida, under whose tutelage Bishop Anthony became a priest. What Francis of Assisi was to St. Anthony of Padua, Msgr. Bida Abel was to Bishop Anthony a source of inspiration in selfless service to the church and humanity. No wonder then, Bishop Adaji takes him as his Father. According to Bishop Adaji, “Msgr. Bida was the one who introduced me to Bishop Ephraim Obot, during one of the recollections at Egume in 1986. May God bless him. Amen”. Those were the words of blessings from Bishop Anthony Adaji.
Bishop Anthony Adaji as a young priest had his first Pastoral Assignment after ordination as a Seminary Bursar in National Missionary of St. Paul Seminary, Gwagwalada. In 1996, he was sent to the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, where he served as the Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s Iwere-Ile till June 1997.
In July 1997, he was sent on foreign mission to the Diocese of Kroonstad, South Africa. On his arrival, he was assigned a Parish Priest of St. Augustine’s Catholic Parish Virginia in the Free State.
In his quest to know more about God, Bishop Anthony was asked in 1999 by his society to go for further studies. Just like when St. Francis of Assisi wrote St. Anthony of Padua, “It is my desire that you teach theology to the brethren and bring them to God,” Bishop Anthony listened to the voice of St. Paul Society and studied Applied Theology at the Missionary Institute Middlesex University, London and he finished up in 2001.
On his return to Nigeria his home country, Bishop Anthony Adaji was appointed Bursar General of the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria. He was on this assignment till his election as the Auxiliary Bishop of Idah Diocese by Pope Benedict XVI on 28th June, 2007.
After the transition to glory of Most Rev. Dr. Ephraim Silas Obot of blessed memory, Bishop Anthony Ademu Adaji was appointed the 2nd Bishop of the diocese of Idah by Pope Benedict XVI.
For his philosophy of life: “Nothing takes the place of charity in Christian life”.
Bishop Anthony is a lover of Marian songs, he enjoys physical exercises like running and taking a walk; enjoys reading spiritual books. As the Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese, in the brief period of sede vacante, Bishop Adaji has led the diocese very well. “Each honest calling,” wrote James Bryant, “each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance.” It is no wonder that today, this Excellency of performance has elevated him to the Cathedra of the diocese of Idah.
In the short period of time he has led the diocese of Idah after the death of Bishop Obot, Bishop Adaji has proven thus far, a leader with a vision, an incisive and fearless preacher, a leader with an invincible determination, a relentless builder, a man of prayer and one who listens.
For Bishop Adaji
Almighty God, you gave St. Anthony of Padua to your people as a preacher of great power and a patron in their needs. In the same manner, grant your servant Anthony Adaji to walk in your light and be a man after your heart in service to you and humanity, Amen.
As compiled by Rev. Fr. Samuel Osuman and Fr. Damian Amana