Gideon M. Urhobo and the God's Kingdom Society in Nigeria
This thesis covers the life and work of Gideon Meriodere Urhobo (1903-1952) and the Church, God's Kingdom Society, which he founded. The approach is historical and draws on primary sources. The thesis begins with the socio-political and religious background of his own people, the Urhobo of the Midwest of Nigeria. Thereafter, it treats the early life of Gideon Urhobo which was characterized by various dangerous experiences connected with evil spirits, and in which God intervened to save him. Gideon became a Roman Catholic but desired to study the scriptures all by himself. His desire met with opposition, and he left the Catholic Church. After a while, he stumbled upon the publications of the Watchtower Society and he became a member and a travelling preacher. In 1933, he saw a "vision" of Jesus Christ who "assigned" him the duty not only to preach the gospel of the Kingdom but also to expose false teachings about God. He joined the Watchtower representative in Lagos but after some time separated from the Watchtower on doctrinal differences in October 1934. The thesis describes in four chapters, the origin and teachings of the Watchtower, Urhobo'a controversies and debates over some teachings of the Watchtower, the Mainline Churches, the Muslims and the National Church of Nigeria. The thesis discusses Urhobo's intervention in politics. He opposed the Zikiet Movement for planning violence to achieve self-rule. He preached Dr. Nnandi Azikiwe's political thought "Zikism" but later turned against Dr. Asikiwe and the N.C.N.C. because he believed them to be denouncing Jehovah and the Bible. He campaigned for the Action Group in Nigeria's first general election, 1951/1952. The study ends with an epilogue showing the growth of the G.K.S. after Urhobo, and appendices including some teachings, activities and present organization and administration of the G.K.S.