By SAM EYOBOKA
DELEGATES to the 12th national biennial conference of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN have started arriving the Akwa Ibom State capital, Uyo for the crucial meeting scheduled to open at the Uyo Township Stadium on Tuesday.
The opening ceremony will be preceded by a crucial meeting of the National Adv-isory Council, NAC, of the Fellowship tomorrow at 4.00 p.m.
The conference will run under the theme; “A People With A Mandate”. Nigeria, no doubt, is passing through trials but the leadership says “troubles have almost become part of life with Nigeria and Nigerians since 1960, with grave and dangerous events of 1966, 1967, 1983, 1993, among others. The recent developments have however become so heightened; there-by making the events of those days mere child’s plays.”
The outgoing president, Pastor Oritsejafor said the conference is scheduled to “re-awaken us as a people given a mandate! A representative with authorised charge even from the Almighty God, Our Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, founder and owner of the world, the whole earth! He takes absolute control but has put us in charge by a mandate! It is only a matter of self reflection for us to consider how the nations have faired, particularly our nation, Nigeria.
“The conference is therefore envisioned to reposition or restore us in our mandate and the task for the mandate, to the glory of our Father, and the blessing of Nigeria and her peoples,” he stated.
The PFN conferences in the past 11 editions, Oritsejafor stated, have proved to be “a platform for reawakening generals and foot soldiers for the Lord. Pastor Enoch Ade-boye and many frontline lead-ers have had cause to testify severally, to the effect that, the truths which most often general overseers, bishops, archbishops, senior pastors and other category of leaders are not opened to, within their respective denominations are found, on the platforms of PFN conferences.”
The attention of the over 80 million Christians in Nigeria will focus on Uyo for very obvious reasons, because the 12th biennial conference of the PFN is unique as it provides an opportunity for mandate renewal and of course the expected change of leader-ship.
There are tremendous exp-ectations among Christians generally because the PFN which produced the current CAN National President is already facing monumental challenges from within and without and there is an urgent need for the Fellowship to rise up to the challenge and fash-ion a fresh approach to restore confidence in the Fellowship.
Little wonder, millions of Nigerians are showing inter-est in who emerges as the next national president of the Fellowship. If the next presid-ent can be determined by human manipulations as it happens in political settings then some interest groups concerned about the outcome of that elections would not be having sleepless nights by now.
Sources say that several persons from outside the Fellowship who are not com-fortable with the audacity of the outgoing president, are working night and day for obvious reasons, to influence the outcome of the elections. Such interests, we hear, were behind recent speculations in the Media about those who have indicated interest to succeed the outgoing presid-ent. Our checks revealed that there was no truth in all the speculations, as a source close to the Fellowship said em-phatically that emergence of the Oritsejafor’s successor will be determined by an elite club known as the National Advisory Council, NAC, of the Fellowship.
The 26-member NAC has the onerous responsibility of choosing who will lead the Fellowship at the expiration of the tenure of Pastor Oritse-jafor. Our informant argued that the outgoing president was similarly picked in 2005 at the biennial conference that took place at the headquarters of TREM, in Lagos by the NAC in a similar fashion.
“He was chosen by the NAC and he grudgingly accepted the offer after due consult-ation,” our source said, adding that the elders of the Fellowship are so mindful of what ungodly people can use the Fellowship to accomplish that they have refused to subject the issue of success-ion to the vagaries of politic-ians in the Church.
According to the source, members of the NAC includ-ing Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Dr. Uma Ukpai, Pastor Ayo Oritse-jafor, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, Archbishop Margret Benson-Idahosa, Rev. William Okoye, Rev. Obiora Ezekiel, Rev. Paul Emeka, Bishop David Oyede-po, Pastor William Kumuyi, Pastor Emmanuel Kure, Rev. Moses Iloh, Pastor Wale Adefarasin and 13 other eminent clerics would first gather to pray for God’s leading before going into some kind of Conclave to choose the next set of officers.
They will now present their choice before the National Executive Council for ratifi-cation.
The offices to be filled in-clude the national president, deputy national presid-ent, 7 zonal vice presidents, national secretary, deputy national secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, finacial secretary, deputy financial secretary, publicity/media secretary, legal adviser and one auditor.
In 2005 when Oritsejafor assumed office which con-cided with the 20th anniver-sary of the Fellowship, he set a 5-point agenda for his administration which included membership drive, improved relationship with CAN, iden-tifying and empowering the Northern Church against con-stant aggression, disipline and the PFN national secret-ariat building. Former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu pledged to give the Fellowship a befitting land for the construction of a national secretariat.
The government of Lagos did fulfil its promise, but in order not to let God down, the outgoing administration took a bold step to acquire our own land in Isolo, very close to our present office in CPM, to build a five-floor edifice as National Secretariat of the PFN.
The secretariat building, we are told, was due for com-missioning in October but the contractor made an error. It will now be commissioned by the last week of April.
As far as the Northern Church is concerned, they have not had so good. On several occasions, Pastor Oritsejafor had lead PFN delegations to the troubled North for empowerment pro-jects towards ameliorating the sufferings of some of the northern pastors in the areas of micro needs for mobility on one hand, and economic empowerment for their wives, on the other hand.
These, to a large extent, have boosted the zeal of the brethren in the North to continue in Kingdom service, where they have been divinely located.