By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
PASTOR Enoch Adejare Adeboye has appointed Pastor Joseph Obayemi as the new General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, in Nigeria. Adeboye remains General Overseer, Worldwide, of the RCCG.
This clarification came hours after the social media went abuzz with news of the retirement of the septuagenerian Adeboye, who had led the church for some 35years.
Announcing the change in the leadership of the church during a ministers’ meeting after the RCCG’s monthly Holy Ghost Service, at the church’s new auditorium held in Simawa, Ogun State, he explained that the change was necessary following a Federal Government policy which instructed some of the General Overseers in the country who have used more than two tenures in office to retire.
The policy in reference is the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of Nigeria’s Code of Corporate Governance, which was first put forward in 2015.
In a surprise move, Adeboye announced to the crowded ministers’ conference at about 10.25 a.m. yesterday, new appointments of those who will run the affairs of the church.
The RCCG leader explained that he was taking the decision in obedience to a government regulation, saying, in his absence, Obayemi becomes the General Overseer who will now oversee the Nigerian church.
Adeboye, who is the spiritual leader of the church, will now oversee the RCCG globally.
He also announced that Pastor Johnson F. Odesola will be the church’s Secretary General, while Pastor Joseph Adeyokunnu takes charge of the treasury.
Therefore, Odesola and Adeyokunnu will work with the newly appointed General Overseer in charge of RCCG Nigeria, Obayemi.
Adeboye, who had predicted surprises for the new year, stated that there is a government law that General Overseers of churches can only serve for a stipulated period of time.
He then said: “We should always be on the look out for ourselves. I don’t expect that anyone was going to ignore me. Love you all. We need to intensify our prayers and please let’s not shy away from politics.
“I see God raising influence like Daniel and his Hebrew brothers, men who know God and shall be strong and do exploits. God bless you.”.
Earlier, Adeboye had announced a 40-day fasting and praying for members of the church, beginning from midnight on January 11, 2017 .
According to him, the fasting period starts each day at midnight and runs to 6.00 p.m. praying twice a day during morning devotion and again at 5.00 p.m. at the churches.
“If you want to do it day and night without breaking (just liquid) it will be for 20 days, stressing that major prayer points will be praising God and asking God for grace to please Him in every way possible this year”.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of Nigeria, Code of Corporate Governance, took effect from Monday, October 17, 2016.
The aspect of the law, Non-For-Profit Organisations (NFPOs) Governance Code, 2015, which Adejare implicitly referred to, seeks to promote the highest standards of corporate governance.
The following are stated in Section 9, which deals with “Position of the Founder or Leader”:
“9.1. The Founder or Leader of a NFPO occupies a special position in the Organisation and is committed to the success and longevity of the NFPO. Accordingly, a Founder or Leader should not take on too many responsibilities in the organisation or have an indefinite term in the running of the organisation.
“9.2. Where for any reason, a Founder or Leader of NFPO also occupies any of the three governance positions of Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees, the Governing Board or
Council, and the Headship of the Executive Management (or their governance equivalents), the following provisions shall apply before the end of the organization’s financial year in which this Code takes effect.
“9.2.1. The Founder or Leader shall cease to occupy these three governance positions simultaneously. This is to ensure the separation of powers and avoid possible concentration of powers in one individual.
“9.2.2. The Founder or Leader may however choose – subject to the agreement of the organization’s apex authority as expressed in the Annual General Assembly, Annual Meeting, Annual Stakeholder Engagement, Annual Conference, Annual Synod, Annual Fellowship Assembly or their equivalents – only one of these three governance positions subject to his current tenure. This is to ensure a clear division of responsibilities at the head of the organization between the running of the governing body and the executive responsibility for the management and fulfilment of the organization’s mission.
“9.3. Where the Founder or Leader has occupied all or any of these three governance positions for more than ten years, or is aged seventy years or above, the choice in section 9.2.2 above should only relate to the Board of Trustees as in section 9.4(c) below.
In the case of religious or cultural organisations, nothing in this code is intended to change the spiritual leadership and responsibilities of Founders, General Overseers, Pastors, Imams and Muslim Clerics, Presidents, Bishops, Apostles, Prophets, etc. which are distinguishable from purely corporate governance and management responsibilities and accountabilities of the entities”
According to records, only 89 out of the 23, 216 registered churches in the country complied as at last year.
Section 39 of the Code deals with “Sanctions“39.1. Compliance with the provisions of this Code is mandatory.
Accordingly, violations of the provisions of this Code will occasion both personal sanctions against the persons directly involved in the violation, and sanctions against the NFPOs involved in such violation.
“39.2. Where sanctions have been imposed on any NFPO or person for the violation of this Code, the NFPO is precluded from making any reimbursements to that person for the sanctions.”
Last year, some pastors, lawyers and workers of some pentecostal churches in the country had instituted a suit against the FRC, regarding plans to effectuate the “Not-for-Profit Code 2015”.
They were pressing for the enforcement of Order II of the Fundamental Right Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, and Articles 8 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Right.
They also claimed that the “enforcement of the Code amounts to quasi-duplication of the work of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, which is saddled with the responsibility of registration and monitoring of compliance of charitable organizations/groups; that the term of reference being muted and promoted by the second and third respondents i.e. term of reference in section 1.1 of the 2015 Code as well as 8-40, specifically, sections 8,9,10 and 37 of the code are illegal and unconstitutional being inconsistent with section 7 and 8 of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act Cap F42, Law of Federation, 2011 setting up the third respondent among others”.
Others to quit
Meanwhile, there were indications, yesterday, that leaders of some prominent pentecostal churches in the country, who have either served 10 years at the helm of affairs of their organisations or are above 70 years may follow the Adeboye example by also quitting the headship of their churches in Nigeria.
They include the Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith World Outreach, David Oyedepo; Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM); Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of the Word of Life Bible Church, Warri; Pastor W. F. Kumuyi of Deeper Life Bible Church and Pastor D.K. Olukoya of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries.
Until his surprise appointment as the Nigerian Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Joseph O. Obayemi, a financial expert, was an Assistant General Overseer and the Pastor-in-charge of RCCG Region 2.
Pastor Johnson Odesola, who, until yesterday was the Special Assistant to the General Overseer in charge of Personnel and Administration, will now hold the position of General Secretary of the Nigerian church.
Pastor Odesola, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard last night, urged members of the church to remain steadfast and be more prayerful, and refrain from spreading unfounded rumours capable of derailing established authorities.
ADEBOYE: A Profile
Pa Enoch Adejare Adeboye was born on March 2, 1942, in Ifewara, Osun State. Pastor Adeboye had his B.Sc. in Mathematics at University of Nigeria Nsukka, and subsequently got his PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Lagos, and worked as a lecturer in Mathematics at the universities of Lagos and Ilorin, before going into full time priesthood in 1984.
After joining the RCCG in 1973, he began working to translate the sermons of its then Pastor and founder, Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, from Yoruba into English.
In 1981, Adeboye was appointed General Overseer of the church. He took over from Papa Akindayomi, who had died the previous year.
For three years he performed the role part-time, still lecturing at Unilorin. He finally gave up his university position to preach full-time. The church, which was not well known prior to Adeboye’s ascendancy, has grown phenomenally, to become Nigeria’s biggest, with branches globally in about 190 countries, including more than 14,000 in Nigeria.
Adeboye has stated that his aim is to put a church within five minutes of every person on Earth. He married Adenike, now 68, in 1967. She was born on 13th July 1948.
RCCG was founded in 1952 by Rev. Josiah Akindayomi (1909–1980) after he had been involved in a number of other churches. Rev. Akindayomi chose Adeboye as his successor.
Adeboye was ordained a pastor of the church in 1975, and his appointment as leader (General overseer) of the church was formalised by the posthumous reading of Akindayomi’s sealed pronouncement.
In 1990, Redeemed Christian Church of God Bible School was founded.
The newly appointed RCCG leaders are:
Overseer – Pastor Joseph Obayemi;
Secretary – Pastor Odesola;
Treasurer – Pastor Adeyokunnu