He completed his primary school education at
Warri, passed and obtained his standard six first
School Leaving Certificate in 1922. In consequence of his excellent
performance Agori was appointed a teacher in that School in 1923.
To have passed the First School Leaving Certificate
so well in 1922 and be appointed a teacher in his alma mater was a feat
on the part of Agori Iwe. For, according to Rev. J.O.
Binitie even in the 1930’s only four Schools were in Warri: Government School; C.M.S. School; African Church School; and Roman Catholic Mission School. “And”, says Binitie, “a regular feature of the First
School Leaving Certificate Examination at the time, was like the West
African Coast, where many [Europeans] went and only a few returned” (J.O. Biniti, Interviewed at Warri, 16 Dec. 1969).
In 1924 Agori was selected and sent to St. Andrew’s
College Oyo to be trained as a grade II Teacher and a Catechist. The first
two years 1924 and 1925 were devoted to his training as a school teacher,
while 1926 and 1927 were devoted to theological training. When he came
out, he was in 1928 appointed a pioneer school teacher in Urhobo church
Having worked in the Urhobo church District from
1928 till1937, he was sent to St. Paul’s
Training College Awka to do an ordination course after which he was ordained
a deacon in 1938. He served his curacy in Eastern Nigeria
at St. Simeon’s Anglican Church Nnobi, in Newi District, under Rev. H.
Oggi. He was here until 1940 when, after he had been priested, he was sent
back to Urhoboland. He was placed in charge of Urhobo C.M.S. churches as
superintendent in 1942. At that same time he became Manager of C.M.S. schools
in Urhoboland, working under the general supervision of Archdeacon W.E.
Burne who was at the time based in Warri. By 1947, the population of St.
Luke’s Otovwodo, had so increased, that Agori decided that the School be this
purpose, he secured a piece of land measuring one mile square from His royal
Higness Ohaisi II, the Ovie of Ughelli (see M.E. Opharomavua,
“Bishop Agori Iwe…” A Long Essay for Bendel State University, 1985, p.9).
The land acquired by Agori Iwe for the C.M.S.
(later, Anglican) Church, was part of the Aghwar’ode (Bas
Bush) of Ughelli, where those who died in the strange circumstances were
buried. The C.M.S. parsonage, later named St. John’s
parsonage, was built there, by Agori. According to the witness of Agori’s
widow Mrs. Ruth O. Agori (Interviewed, 9 Jan. 1988) when
the movement from Otovwodo to Ovwodawanre was to be undertaken, many people
warned Agori about it, and discourage the movement because, as mentioned
above, the place was part of the Awharodo of Ughelli. But
Agori defied those warnings and moved the headquarters from Otovwodo to
Ovwodawanre. Many of the trees, according to Agori’s widow, were felled
by Agori himself, and because he had a double barrel and was a hunter,
he shot at owls which infested the new station, and through their hooting
instilled fear on the members of the Agori house hold, which were the
first set of human beings to live in Ovwodawanre, after the movement there
of the C.M.S. headquarters in 1947. The school children of St. Luke’s
primary school, (including the present writer) were from time to time
employed to up-root storms, and work on the new school ground to create
a foot ball field and other pay grounds for the school.
As a result of the nature of Ovwodawanre, as
Ughelli Bad bush, demonic spirits as aziza
were frequently encountered. Mrs. Ruth Agori Iwe recalled an instance when
aziza carried one Native Authority
school teacher, who lived at Ovwodawanre, to the burial ground in the bush
at night. The following morning, a search party had to be despatched into
the bush to search for him until he was found sitting alone at the burial
ground (cemetery). We cannot agree more with Agori’s widow that it was
by God’s name and power that her husband was able to move the C.M.S. station
from Otovwodo and establish it a Ovwodaware,
a place which, as at the time of writing has become the Headquarters of
Warri Diocese, where the Bishopscourt is built. Agori served in training
in St. Aiden’s College, Birkinghead, Liverpool, England.
When he returned from Britain
in 1950, Agori was again posted to Igboland. He was placed in charge of
Enugu Church District until December 1951. In 1952 he was sent back to
Urhobo as Superintendent of the Urhobo District Church Council. He occupied
this position until 1954 when he was appointed Archdeacon of Warri Archdeaconry.