Papa Abiona was born in Akarakumo village 5 kilometers away from Badagry, that ancient and historical city in Lagos.
Badagry has a significant input into the history of Christianity in Nigeria as the first Christian Missionaries of the Methodist and Anglican denominations came into the country through the port there in 1842. Indeed, the first Christmas service to hold on the soil of Nigeria took place in Badagry under the Agia tree in 1843. It was conducted by Rev. Birch Freeman of the Methodist Church.
It is of little surprise therefore, that the Methodist and Anglican Missions of the Methodist Church made a good impact upon the people of Badagry and its environs early in the history of Christianity in Nigeria. Young Joseph Hoteyin Abiona like several other young ones and their parents became Christians of the Anglican denomination. He later lived with his father’s brother, a cocoa produce trader, in Ile-Ogbo near Ibadan in the present day Oyo State and
he had his primary education covering standards one to six in a mission school there.
For lack of financial strength to continue through to the high school, J.H. Abiona had to return to Badagry after the completion of his standard 6. One of his father’s friends who was living in Lagos later took him from Badagry and brought him to Lagos. Good as the new opportunity looked, it could not take young Abiona to school to continue his education, rather it brought him a job at the Lagos City Council. At that time, it was a priviledge to be a council
worker as it had with it a lot of opportunities.
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