By Henry Okonkwo
Dr Sunday Mbang, the Prelate Emeritus, Methodist Church of Nigeria,
who died on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at the age of 86, was among the powerful voices that irked the military junta in the 80s and 90s.
During his time as the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr Mbang was one of the resplendent personalities that radiated hope and spoke his mind not minding the risks during the dark days of military rule.
He dedicated his entire life to serving his country and fighting for social justice and equality. His unwavering commitment to the betterment of society earned him the respect and admiration of people from all walks of life.
Born on 26th August 1936, at Idua – Eket in Akwa Ibom State, Prelate Sunday Mbang had humble beginnings and was the child of lowly but God-fearing parents. From his growing up, Prelate Mbang witnessed firsthand the injustices and hardships of colonial rule, the fight for independence and the ascendance of military rule in the country.
He saw the pains and outcry faced by marginalized communities and knew from a young age that he wanted to make a difference in his country. and all these forged him to pursue his calling with passion and conviction.
He started his educational pursuits at the Effiong Group of Schools, Salvation Army School, Akai Ubium Government School – Eket, and Methodist Boys High School – Oron.
And after waltzing through his basic education, Prelate Sunday Mbang thirsted for more knowledge and then embarked on the quest to further his education. Hence, he proceeded to Teachers College – Uzuakoli, Trinity Theological College – Umuahia, University of Nigeria – Nsukka, University of Ibadan – Ibadan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Israel, and Harvard University – USA, where God’s grace crowned his academic voyage with success.
Prelate Sunday Mbang began his employment history as a secondary school teacher and later proceeded to become a university lecturer. However, in 1961 he answered God’s call to work in his vineyard.
In 1962, he became a Pastor and Minister of Religion in the Methodist Church – Nigeria. Over the years, Prelate Mbang gained a reputation as a charismatic and inspiring speaker who could captivate his audience with his powerful sermons and was elected into the episcopal rank in 1979.
READ ALSO:Mbang, Prelate Emeritus of Methodist Church, dies at 86
He led the Methodist Church of Nigeria in different capacities for several years, until in 1995 when he became the leader of all the Christians in Nigeria when he was elected National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) – a position he held for eight years.
In his days at CAN, Prelate Mbang took up the cudgels for civil liberty by challenging the draconian Abacha administration, which was infamous for subjugating opposition, and gagging the press. He was also vocal in his call on the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to complete the National Christian Center, Abuja.
Prelate Mbang’s penchant for mutual love and understanding drove him to found and co-chair the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) alongside the then Sultan of Sokoto. Needless to say, NIREC fostered deep inter-faith dialogue and cooperation.
Indeed, Prelate Mbang’s passion and effort at fostering religious unity among Nigerians would be missed especially now that Nigeria is at the precipice due to rising religious and ethnic tensions all over the six geopolitical zones.
Nigeria, indeed, has lost a rare gem, but his memory will continue to inspire all to fight for a better country for justice and equity