Ibadan as a Yoruba town has been part and parcel of the Vicariate of Dahomey and then later Benin Coast even though it was not discovered early. This is so because it has been part of the Yoruba peoples of the West of Nigeria and this will continue to explain the fact why it belonged from this time to the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos until the year 1994 when it was erected as an Ecclesiastical Province with Most Rev. Dr. Felix Alaba Adeosin Job as the Metropolitan Bishop. This is why we began the history of the Church in Ibadan from its very beginning or conception until its real birth.
Msgr. Jean-Baptist Chausse (Vicar of Benin Coast) and Fr. Theodore Holley in 1884 discovered Ibadan as having the prospect for a Catholic Mission. Holley was able to observe when they reached Ojoo a village close to Ibadan town that there was a big market full of slaves. As they approached Ibadan he noticed that the houses were empty as a result of the war because the able bodied men had been enrolled into the Ibadan army. After Chausse’s death, Frs Pied and Barbaglia came to Ibadan and persuaded the Baale to obtain a plot of land but he refused. However, after much persuasion and even from some of the indigenes, the Baale decided to grant a plot of land on the hill of Oke-Are, an evil forest area where the people feared to go. Hoping that the priests would be scared away.
The little mud Church built on Oke-Are in 1900 over hundred years of existence, still stands sentinel over the ever-growing city of Ibadan. The Church on Oke-Are is rightly regarded as the cradle of the Catholic Faith in Ibadan area and the foundation stone of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan. Like the Kingdom of God with a humble beginnings, the Catholic Faith has grown to be a big shrub of the prominent religious institutions.
On the 15th December, 1907 when the new mission had developed, Frs Louis Friess and Ferriero moved down from Oke-Are to the new Father’s House in Ogunpa. The place soon be known as Oke-Padri, the “Hill of the Fathers”.
In 1952, Ibadan was carved out from Lagos as a Prefecture Apostolic, with Msgr. Richard Finn, SMA, as Prefect Apostolic. Ibadan Prefecture was raised to the Status of a Diocese in 1958 with Msgr. Finn as its first Bishop. The Diocese celebrated its Silver Jubilee on 12th November, 1983. On 4th July, 1971 Msgr. Felix Alaba Job was consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of Ibadan. On 12th December, he took canonical possession of the Diocese until his retirement on 29th October, 2013.
In 1994, Pope John-Paul II created six new Ecclesiastical Provinces in Nigeria and raised Ibadan Diocese to the Status of an Archdiocese with Most Rev. Dr. Alaba Job as the first Archbishop of Ibadan. After his retirement, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel Ojeleke Abegunrin became the second Archbishop of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province after he has been the Bishop of Osogbo since 1995 with its suffragan Dioceses Oyo, Osogbo, Ilorin, Ekiti and Ondo.
THE VICAR GENERALS IN IBADAN
Rev. Fr. Lawrence Dolan SMA 1951 – 1966, 1971 – 1978
Rev. Fr. Thomas Murray SMA 1968 – 1971
Rev. Fr. Francis O’Mahony SMA 1978 – 1984
Rev. Fr. John O’Hea SMA 1984 – 1998
Rev. Fr. Fintan Daly SMA 1998 – 2008
Rev. Fr. Peter Odetoyinbo 2008 – 2013
Rev. Fr. Gregory Oyelami 2016 till date
Most Rev. Richard Finn 1958 - 1974
Most Rev. Dr. Felix Alaba Adeosin Job 1971 - 2013
Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel Ojeleke Abegunrin 2014 till date