Brief on Initiator/Convener
Revd. Father Solomon Mfa Ukeyima was born to the family of Late Mr. Dennis Ukeyima Iorakpoughul and Mama Theresa Nyiepine Ukeyima of Nanev, Kwande Local Government Area, Benue State on 15th July, 1976. He underwent primary school at NKST Primary School, High Level, Makurdi in 1982 – 1988, secondary school at St. James’ Minor Seminary, Aliade (now in Yandev) from 1988 – 1994.
After his early education, Fr. Ukeyima felt called to the priesthood. The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi found him worthy after the process of discerning his vocation he proceed to the St. Thomas Aquinas’ Major Seminary, Makurdi for philosophical studies. In 1998, he graduated with a degree in Philosophy. He would then proceed to the St. Augustine’s Major Seminary, Jos in 1999 for theological studies after completing his pastoral year, and graduated with another degree in Theology.
Revd. Fr. Ukeyima was ordained a deacon in 2003 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral, Makurdi by His Lordship, Most Revd Dr. Athanasius Atule Usuh of blessed memory. On 14th August, 2004, he was ordained a priest by His Lordship, Most Rev. A.A. Usuh based on the recommendations of the people of God and those responsible for his training.
Since his ordination, Revd. Fr. Solomon Mfa Ukeyima has worked in the following places”
1. Assistant Parish Priest, St. Michael’s Parish Jato Aka 2004 – 2008
2. Assistant Cathedral Administrator, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral, Makurdi 2008 – 2010
3. Assistant Parish Priest, Sacred Heart’s Parish Udei 2010 – 2011
4. Priest-In-Charge (Pioneer), St. Francis Catholic Mission 2012 – 2017
5. Parish Priest, St. Augustine’s Parish, Demekpe 2017 – date
Besides his pastoral duties, Revd. Fr. Ukeyima has also held the following responsibilities:
1. Youth Chaplain, Adikpo Deanery
2. Youth Chaplain, Makurdi Deanery
3. Youth Chaplain, Makurdi Diocese
4. YCSN Chaplain, Makurdi Diocese
5. C.W.O Chaplain, Udei Deanery
6. Holy Family Society Chaplain, Udei Deanery
7. Member, Priests Council, Makurdi Diocese
8. Secretary, Udei Deanery
9. MOD Chaplain, Udei Deanery
Beyond his priestly calling and work, Revd. Fr. Solomon Mfa Ukeyima is a lover of community building and a promoter of unity, peaceful coexistence and social cohesion. He holds dearly a philosophy of that “Life should also be a WINDOW through which you see the face of others and not just a MIRROR through which you see only your face.”
Driven by his philosophy, Fr. Solomon believes that evangelization should include but go beyond the pulpit. This he captures in his famous quote: “When Church services are over, our services must begin. If the Church members rest, the Church rusts.” Ensuring that the Word of God goes beyond the pulpit, Fr Ukeyima Solomon founded:
1. The “Ungoov Mba-dedoo”, an association of very old women under the umbrella of Christ to better their material conditions and prepare them for the life hereafter
2. The “Mater Dei” widows. An association of widows under the umbrella of Mary the Mother of God who herself suffered widowhood. Here, they have periodic trainings learning how to be self-reliant in a society where widowhood is seen as a curse.
Fr. Solomon Ukeyima is a thoroughly baked man of culture. He believes that for the Gospel of Christ to be properly understood, it must be backed up with Christly actions and be reconciled with the culture of the people. In his most recent interview with The Voice Newspaper (10-17 May, 2020) he said, “The Church encourages enculturation. Even Jesus was born and came from a cultural background, so for you to teach the message to people, you must identify, appreciate and engage their culture. I am trying to help them achieve in full to know God better through this cultural initiative.”
The initiative is the “Kyegh Sha Shwa (KSS) Cultural Festival” which holds 26th – 27th December every year. This initiative has become the biggest and the largest gathering of the Tiv people anywhere in the world with an estimated annually attendance of Twenty Thousand (20,000), cutting across different political parties, religions and class. For this, he is fondly called “Tor Kyegh Sha Shwa” (Tor KSS)!
Fr is a member of many spiritual and temporal associations including Rotary Club of Makurdi, North Bank where he was Charter President, Rotary International District 9125, Nigeria etc. Fr has been gratuitous with his time to serve in different committees on free and fair elections, security, peace and reconciliation in Benue state. His services has earned him many awards including but not limited to the following:
1. Merit Award from the NTA Makurdi Network Centre (2014)
2. Award of honour for Excellent Services to Humanity by Guma Students Association (2014)
3. Honorary member of the Rotary Club of Makurdi Sunrise District 9125 Nigeria (2015)
4. Award of honour of Humanitarian Services to the Needy by Community of Tiv Students (CTS) BSU Chapter
5. Merit Award of Excellence as ” Beacon of Hope ” by the Integrity Club 1970
6. Award in recognition of Excellent works in the Lord’s Vineyard and Good leadership Qualities by Benue Unionist Association (2016)
7. Tiv Man of the Year by Idyu-I-Ontiv (2016)
8. Award in recognition of evangelism and empowerment of Benue Women by BEWIP
9. Award in recognition of Humanitarian Services to IDPs by BENGONET (2014)
10. Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Benue Chapter Award of recognition for Outstanding Humanitarian Services 28/10/2017
11. The Unique Disciples Club of Makurdi Award as Peace Builder in Recognition of his Peace Building Initiative in Benue State (29/7/2017)
12. Gboko Diocesan Health Care Initiative award as Great Community Mobilizer (7/10/2016)
13. Award of excellence by the Tiv Community, Lagos State Chapter, 17/11/2018 as Voice of the Voicless and Champion of Tiv Unity
In addition to these honours and awards, are chieftaincy titles – the “Oyame I”and “Agu of Demekpe” officially given to him by the Idomas and Igbos in Makurdi respectively in recognition of his outstanding performance and impacts to these communities.
As his pastime, Revd Fr Solomon Ukeyima loves making friends, reading, writing, cracking jokes and telling stories with deep seated truths. He is very sociable, but is firm and fierce in defending truth and insisting that evil be called by its name.