The Founding Principal


Several towns were associated with colonial administration in Esan land including Ekpoma, Irrua, Ewu, Uromi, Ubiaja, Ewohimi and Igueben. Traditional Rulers of the towns were used as points of contacts with the natives regularly. It was in Igueben, one of the seven prominent towns in Esan Land that Rev. Fr. Anselm Isidahome Abraham was born on 5th January 1912. His father was Chief Ojefua of Afuda quarter in Igueben.

The first Catholic Church in Esan land was set up in Ubiaja in 1908. Igueben was one of the earliest outstations served by the new Church. Although Igueben was one of the earliest outstations to the Catholic Church at Ubiaja, it took ten years before a Catholic Church could be built at Igueben in 1918. It was named Saint Joseph Catholic Church. Also established in the same year, was the adjoining Saint Joseph’s Primary School.

Thus Rev. Fr. Anselm Idisahome Abraham Ojefua was born six years before Christianity and formal education reached Igueben. Young Isidahome as he was called got baptized early in life and took the name Anselm. His Father, being a Chief, had decided that young Isidahome would not go to school as was common in those days.

However, as providence would have it, Mr. Francis Okoh one of the first few educated Person in Igueben wanted the young boy to live with him.

Consequently, Isidahome went to live with Mr. Francis Okoh while there as a help boy, he was enrolled at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Primary School. He completed his standard six Education Brilliantly in 1929. In the Primary School Anselm as he became known, interacted very well with the white Catholic Priests who usually visited Igueben to say the Holy Mass. Through such contacts he developed interests in the priests and their activities. Consequently on completion of his standard six courses he opted for the seminary instead of taking up a secular job. Which had already been secured for him in the post and telegraphs department in Lagos. Thus Anselm Isidahome Ojefua entered the Junior Seminary in Asaba on 10th February 1930. After about twelve years of priestly studies, he was ordained a catholic priest at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Warri on 20t December 1942. After his ordination Reverend Father Anselm Isidahome Ojefua was posted to Onicha -Olona as Parish Priest. While at Onicha –Olona, he converted so many young men and women around, including those of Illah and Ezi parishes, to the Catholic Faith. He also had several boys living with him and one of them was later to become Bishop Anthony Gbuji.

After serving a parish priest for four years, Bishop Kelly decided to send Reverend Father Anselm Isidahome Ojefua abroad for further studies. That was in 1947. He went to Ireland where he enrolled in Cork University and studied sociology as major, and history and mathematics as subsidiaries. He earned a master’s degree in record in Cork University and studied sociology as major, and history and mathematics as subsidiaries. He earned a master’s degree in record time and had wanted to proceed for his doctorate programmed but the Church Authorities did not permit this. It was while in Ireland that he met Reverend Pedro martins who later retired as army chaplain in the Nigerian army.

Armed with a master’s Degree certificate Reverend Father Anselm Isidahome Ojefua returned to Nigerian December 1949. Thereafter, he was posted to saint Patrick’s college Asaba where he taught mathematics. Beyond teaching, he also carried out priestly duties during weekends when he visited place and out stations to officiate in the Holy Mass. He won an unprecedented number of converts to the Catholic Faith. He spends a total of four years in Saint Patrick’s College, Asaba before he was reposted.