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Nigerians In History: David Obadiah Lot

It is no news that Nigeria has produced an array of religious leaders. From the mainline orthodox to the charismatic Pentecostals, you cannot miss a chance to encounter great men of all sorts. One of these is the man David Obadiah Lot.


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David Obadiah Vrengkat Lot is popularly referred to as ‘Baba’, ‘Da’, ‘Pa’  or whatever word serves as a mark of respect for the elderly. A Reverend Gentleman, Baba Lot was a Nigerian religious leader of the Church of Christ denomination or properly called, Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), established by the Sudan United Mission (British Branch). He was the first pastor of the Panyam district church. But He was more than that, He was also a politician from the Middle Belt region, precisely the present Plateau state, of Nigeria; a state whose formation He was pivotal in engineering as an early leader of the middle belt political movement in the 1940s.

Early life

Born in 1907 into the family of the Baba Daniel Lot, a Maghavwul  Christian evangelist, David Vrengkat Lot was born and raised right in the midst of Christian activities and faith. Being the first male child, he was named Vrengkat which means “a precious gift.” He was born the same year the first missionaries of the Cambridge University Missionary Party arrived in Panyam (his village).

He attended a missionary primary school in his district of Panyam and was in the same class with his father, who had earlier converted to Christianity. A story of the “latter shall be greater than the former”, David excelled more than his father in class and was top of his class at graduation. From there, he was trained and mentored by missionaries in the district. In 1926, courtesy of Miss Webster his mentor, he went to St Bartholomew, Zaria, a missionary boarding school founded by Walter Miller. After completing his studies, he turned to the teaching profession as an early vocation.

Career: Pulpit and Politics

He started his teaching job at a small primary school in Panyam and got married later to Nakwar on March 5, 1929. She was baptized on May 19, 1929, and christened Christiana.  In 1939, a need arose for a pastor from the Panyam district. David was nominated and sent to a training school for pastors in Gindiri and soon thereafter became an ordained minister.


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But He was more than just a pulpit minister, He was a public minister and desired the general welfare of the masses. Because of that, David Lot joined the political scene in the 1940s with the strong interest of improving the social and political lot of Christians in the middle belt region and protecting them from the dominant Islamic Hausa-Fulani group.

In 1946, he was among a team of Nigerians who travelled to London to attend the Sir Arthur Richard’s Constitutional Conference in London. In 1949, he became the leader of the Northern Non-Muslim League (NNML), a Christian political organization that was transformed into the Middle Zone League (MZL) in 1950. A year later, He contested and won a seat in the House of Representatives.

However, by 1955, the league was looking for ways to re-invent itself and consolidate with other like-minded organizations from the region. The League later merged with another middle belt party to form the United Middle Belt Congress However, an agreement by Lot to join forces with the Northern Peoples Party was opposed by a section of the newly formed party.

Legacy and Death

Due to his selflessness in public service, Vrengkat Lot was decorated with the Queen Coronation medal in 1953. He was honoured as a Member of the British Empire (M.B.E.) in 1961 and a Member of the Federal Republic (M.F.R.) in 1964. In 1987, the University of Jos bestowed on him a Doctorate of Letters (DLitt) Honoris Causa.

The Reverend Lot is perhaps the most decorated minister of the gospel in Nigeria. He later left politics to concentrate on the Ministry of Christ. His major reason being that many missionaries still argued that the pulpit must be separated from mainstream politics.

The Reverend (Dr.)David Obadiah Vrengkat slept in the Lord on March 18, 1995, at the age of 88.

Sources:

Pauline Lere, Rev. Dr David Obadiah Vrengkat Lot: His Life and Church Development on the Jos Plateau (Jos: Jos University Press, 1996).

Dacb.org/

Wikipedia.org/

Featured Image Source: Matthias Media


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Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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