In memoriam… Pastor Onengiye C. Wariboko

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”   — Hebrews 13:7

It hath pleased Almighty God in His all-wise providence and at the time appointed by Him according to His grace in Christ Jesus, to summon out of this vale of tears to Himself in heaven the soul of our dear brother, the beloved Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kula, Rivers State, Nigeria, and also of Christ Lutheran Church in Oluama, the Rev. Onengiye Clinton Wariboko.

Pastor Wariboko, by God’s grace alone His humble and faithful servant, was born on January 1, 1957 as a precious gift of God to Mr. Clinton Gboru Wariboko and his beloved wife Ibifubara, both of whom preceded him in death.  As a child he attended elementary grades at the school of the New Church in Kula, where he was baptized in 1957 and was confirmed in 1981.  As a youth he attended the Enitonna High School in Port Harcourt; and, after having briefly attended the Government Teachers Training School there to further his education, he served as an assistant to the lay leader of the New Church.  In 1987, he left the New Church, recognizing its false position in the light of Scripture, and joined the Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations in Nigeria.  In 1995 he was recommended for theological training, and from 1995 to 1998 he studied sacred theology under Pastor Fyneface in Abonnema.  Upon completion of his theological studies, he was called in 1998 to be the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kula; and in 2002 he founded Christ Lutheran Church, which he also served as its called shepherd.  Pastor Wariboko was the Second Vice President of the Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations in Nigeria and was the valued personal assistant of Pastor Fynface in all of the FLCN’s endeavors and a dear friend and brother.

On Thursday, August 18th, the taxi in which Pastor Wariboko and his little daughter, Anthonia, were riding was involved in a horrific collision with another cab, resulting in seven fatalities.  Pastor Wariboko survived initially and was taken to a Port Harcourt hospital, where he lay in a coma on life support until Sunday.  Then, in what appeared to be a blessed turn-around in his condition, he regained consciousness, was conversant with those around him, and even developed an appetite.  However, due to undiagnosed and untreated internal injuries and internal bleeding, he suddenly took a turn for the worse and died on Wednesday, the 24th.  Little Anthonia, who suffered fractures of both legs and an injured eye, is expected, by God’s grace, to recover from her injuries.

Pastor Wariboko is survived by his beloved wife of twenty-three years, Alagbe, and nine children: Five daughters (Tamunobere, age 23; Bele, 19; Tamunowari, 17; Anthonia, 8; and little Shalom, age 4), and four sons (Lot, age 21; Daniel, 13; Aaron, 11; and little Progress, only two years and three months old).  He also leaves behind a stepson, Ibim Ide, age 24.

Funeral arrangements are pending.  Pastor Wariboko’s presence will be greatly missed by his family, his brother pastors, the members of his flocks, and by the wider fellowship of our Conference; and we share with them their tears in this bereavement (Romans 12:15).  At the same time, however, all of us together rejoice in his salvation by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, and look forward to a happy reunion with him and all true believers in heaven.

“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth!  Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”

—Revelation 14:13

D. T. M.