Some researchers have declared Nigeria’s foremost clergyman, Bishop Ajayi Crowther, as a national hero.
Bishop Ajayi Crowther was the first African Anglican Bishop.
The multi-linguist who translated the Holy Bible into Yoruba language, was born at Osogun in present-day Ibarapa East Local Government Area of Oyo State around 1807 and died in Lagos on Dec. 31, 1891.
His death predated Nigeria as a country.
Slave traders captured him alongside members of his family when he was 12 years old. He was later returned to Sierra Leone.
Mr. Pelumi Awofeso is one of the researchers who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday about Crowther.
He said it was imperative to look into the life and times of the cleric 130 years after his departure.
“I started the research about Bishop Crowther after I stumbled on a tweet that talked about his death.
“Looking at the date at which he died, I realised that it is a milestone to celebrate him and dig out more researches about him and his activities as a priest, educator, linguist, nationalist and a peacemaker.
“I thought it wise that something should be done in terms of having a documentary about him.
“I do not know the plans of the Anglican Communion, a church where he served as a bishop,’’ he said.
Awofeso said, however, that what Bishop Crowther stood for had not been fully appreciated adding that his life transcended the Bible translation to his nationalistic movement.
“Bishop Crowther did not translate the entire Bible in one fell swoop, when he was in Badagry as he moved from place to place on other assignments.
“It took him about 40 years to complete the translation.
“All what he did would be exposed in the documentary and how he created national consciousness among the people he met and his impact as an evangelist,’’ he said.
“The team of researchers has been able to unravel more about Bishop Crowther after visiting 12 states.
“The team found that there are more than a thousand things he did which are not in the peoples’ consciousness.
“Bishop Crowther could be described as a man of passion who translated the Bible when there was no formal alphabetical order, no electricity, technology or other luxury that we enjoy these days.
“The man was able to keep his sanity in spite of the harsh condition around him; he was also a linguist of repute who could be regarded as a Professor Emeritus of languages in our time,’’ he added.