By Sam Eyoboka
LAGOS—Former Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Sunday Ola Makinde has debunked claims by his predecessor that the election of his successor and former Archbishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Samuel Chukwuma Uche was manipulated, saying the exercise took place in full compliance with the provisions of the prevailing Constitution of the church.
Prelate-emeritus, His Eminence Sunday Mbang, who argued that the election of the new prelate was not credible, free and fair as the Electoral College disregarded the church’s constitution on matters affecting nomination and screening of candidates, described the election as an ecclesiastical fraud.
He also protested the translation of bishops and archbishops at the emergency electoral committee of the emergency conference as lacking legal backing and therefore were null and void and of no effect.
But presenting the new prelate, His Eminence, Samuel Uche to the media at a ceremony at the Archbishop Soremekun Memorial Hall, Lagos, Makinde argued that the election was unanimously ratified by the first emergency conference of the Methodist Church Nigeria held on September 1, noting that the Conference Connexional Council, which is the highest organ of the church, the Registered Trustees and the three Conference legal advisers which met on October 4, commended the process and outcome as free, fair, transparent and credible.
“The election was absolutely devoid of manipulation and fraud of any kind, be it ecclesiastical, executive recklessness, or otherwise. In this wise, the church has continued to set the pace for society to follow,” he explained, without any direct reference to the protest by Prelate-emeritus, His Eminence Sunday Mbang.
According to Makinde, Dr. Samuel Uche was as at the time of his election, Archbishop of Enugu where he had served since 2009, contending that he had earlier served with distinction in various capacities and once served as chairman of the Kano State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria.
It was on that note that Most Rev. Makinde formally presented the new prelate, His Eminence Samuel Uche, who was formerly invested the third prelate and the eighth head of the Methodist Church Nigeria on Sunday before an impressive gathering of Methodist people and friends from sister churches.
Makinde commended the Media for the support they gave to him in the last seven years when he presided over the affairs of the church, noting that the cordial relationship he enjoyed with the media actually started in those dark days of Abacha regime when he was CAN chairman of Abuja.
He then appealed to the media to extend the same support and cooperation to the new head of the Methodist Church.
Answering questions, the new Prelate corroborated Makinde’s explanation, saying that his election was devoid of rancour and in accordance with the church’s constitution. He also called on the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities to yield grounds and resolve the protracted industrial action in the interest of Nigerian students.
Similarly, His Eminence Uche urged the Federal Government to be sincere about job creation and arrest the growing army of unemployed youths in the country, stressing that when young minds are not gainfully engaged, the nation is only creating an avenue for chaos.
On the current clamour for 2015 elections, Prelate Uche said Nigerians must begin now to show a lot more concern about the leaders they want to pilot the affairs of the nation from 2015, stressing “the quality of leaders we vote for, will determine where we want this nation to go.”