It was all joy as history was made on Sunday, March 24, 2019 as the people of Ika nation witnessed the unveiling/presentation of the entire Holy Bible translated into Ika Language at the Cathedral Church of Ascension, Church of Nigeria – Anglican Communion, Ika Grammar School, Boji-Boji Owa, Delta State.
Ika Bible translation project commenced in 1999 that is about twenty years ago, through a medical doctor and his wife, Dr. & Mrs. C.O. Anya, who in their doggedness of ensuring continuity of the project, sold their parcel of land when the financial situation became frightening as the printing was about to commence.
The advent of Ika Bible however, started with the printing of the Four-Gospels, “Ndi-ozi Eno” in the year 2000 followed by the dedication of the New Testament in 2010 and then, the epoch making event of the dedication and presentation of the complete Ika Bible (Old and New Testaments) which has now, set a landmark for generations to make reference to. More so, as so many languages in Nigeria are gradually going into oblivion, the translation of the Holy Bible into Ika Language is one of the steps made to preserve the language from going into extinction, with the collaboration of Onu-Ika and its Dictionary produced two years
The epoch making event featured the presence of many dignitaries amongst who were, Mr. Jim Ovia (represented), the Primate of the Church of Nigeria-Anglican Communion, Most Revd Nicholas Okoh; His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State; Rt. Revd. Godfrey I. Ekpenisi, Anglican Bishop of Ika Diocese; Rt. Rev. F. Udume of Church of God Mission, Rev. Mgbejume, HRM Henry Ezeagwukpo Jegbefume I, the Obi of Akumazi Kingdom and Prof. G.C. Igborgbor.
In the Keynote address presented, by the Chairman, Board of Trustees of to theIka Bible Project, Bishop, Dr. Arc. A.O. Iweriebor, while welcoming all present, appreciated God for the success of the production of the complete Ika Bible amidst all challenges. According to him, “We are here today to set a landmark which generations yet unborn in Ika nation will make reference to, stand upon as bedrock for further spiritual enhancement and lay claim to as a means of local, national and international identification.
“The Ika Bible dedication is an epoch making event which has both physical and spiritual dimensions. Since the language of the people of any ethnicity is a major pivot which the culture and custom of the people rest upon, Ika Bible will help in this regard; as well as preserve the language for posterity.”
Speaking further, he stated that in the year 2011, the King James Version of the Holy Bible was celebrated all over the world, Nigeria inclusive for having been in circulation around the world for the past four hundred years, which he prayed that in the same vein, Ika Bible will follow suit.
Continuing, he said. “Through the use of Ika Bible and by its application, God Almighty is brought nearer to the Ika people and by implication, Our Lord Jesus Christ now speaks Ika Language and has identified with Ikas as His people.
“As we embrace Ika Bible, cherish, study and make use of it in our daily devotions to God both at home and in God’s sanctuaries, the spiritual lives of our people will be deeply rooted and a better and richer understanding of God’s plan for salvation will be achieved.”
Delivering his sermon, the Guest Speaker and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh stated that the essence of the translation of Ika Bible is to help Ika people know God better, come back to God through His Son Jesus Christ, do the will of God and worship God properly.
Speaking further, the Primate remarked that God has given Ika people His manual in their mother’s tongue so that Ika people will have a better understanding of God’s word, have a proper knowledge of God and draw closer to him adding that a Bible is a double edged sword. He expressed dismay that if Ika people knew the importance of what has been brought to them, the premises would not have contained their population.
Continuing, he said, “Now that the Bible has been brought to our own mother tongue, it comes both as a blessing and stands as judgment as none can claim ignorance of the interpretation of it.”
He encouraged Ika people to read the Bible, hear it, learn it and inwardly digest it. Above all, he said that the most important part of it is using it in the area of evangelism.
In his remark, the Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa commended the Mission for Language Translation (MLT) for their relentless invaluable effort in translating the entire Bible into Ika Language, saying that the advent of Ika Bible and Ika Dictionary at their disposal will help sustain Ika language from going into extinction.
While launching the Ika Bible with the sum of N5m, the Governor commended Dr. C.O. Anya who sold his parcel of land to ensure the project came to reality, saying that such sacrifice was priceless. He however promised to compensate him by buying another land for him.
Speaking with Ika Weekly reporters shortly after the unveiling/dedication, Bishop Iweriebor said he felt fulfilled that the assignment handed over to the Committee which he headed has been accomplished as the hardcopies of the Ika Bible are now in the hands of Ika people.
He counseled Ika people to make effective use of the Bible so as to prepare well for the Kingdom of God.