By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
LAGOS — THE family of the founding father of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG,has dissociated itself from the report accusing the current leadership of the church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, of changing church principles and marginalisation.
The reports by an online news service quoted one Mr. Abiodun Olukowajo on behalf of the founding pastor of RCCG, late Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, expressing dissatisfaction with the current leadership of the church and the family’s role in its management.
In the petition signed by Abiodun (Akindayomi) Olukowajo on behalf of the family, the Akindayomis said while they are proud of the growth of the church in the past 30 years since the death of the founder, from about 40 parishes to more than 22,000 parishes worldwide, their family has received no “noteworthy” support.
But in quick reaction, Mr. Emmanuel Adewale (Akindayomi) on behalf of Pastor Titi Adewale, nee Akindayomi; Pastor Ife Akindayomi (Pa Akindayomi’s son) and Pastor Bunmi Akindele, nee Akindayomi, first daughter of Pa Akindayomi wrote to disassociate the family from the petition, saying Mr. Olukowajo was not speaking on behalf of the family.
“I will like to make the following clear about the family’s position: 1. Mr. Abiodun Olukowajo or anyone representing him is not speaking on behalf of the Akindayomi family.
2. We do not view the RCCG as a private property or family inheritance. RCCG is the church of the living God and only God and whoever He chooses has the right to govern and direct the church in the way God wants.
3. We appreciate what Daddy Adeboye has done in the past, present and we know God will continue to use and strengthen him for us.”
That letter was signed by first grandson of late Pa Akindayomi, Mr. Emmanuel Adewale (Akindayomi) as agreed by Pastor Titi Adewale, nee Akindayomi, Pastor Ife Akindayomi (Pa Akindayomi’s son and Pastor Bunmi Akindele, nee Akindayomi, first daughter of Pa Akindayomi.
Another rejoinder by the family and signed for and on behalf of the Akindayomi Family (Home & Abroad) by one Pastor Titilayo Adewale and one Adetunbi Akindayomi yesterday, said the publication is untrue and has been verified by the immediate relatives of the late RCCG founder. Titilayo Adewale of the RCCG Holy Ghost Zone, New Rochelle , New York said the Church of God is marching on and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it in Jesus’ name.
In two other separate letters by members of the family they affirmed their unalloyed support for the leadership of Pastor Adeboye since he took over as the General Overseer of the church, saying that they had at no time contemplated asking for a permanent membership of the Board of the church, because the church belongs to God and not an instrument for inheritance.
“The speculation that the Akindayomis want to have a representative elected by the family, in a permanent position on the governing council to help ensure that the doctrine being taught by the church is in line with the spiritual beliefs of the late Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi is utterly unfounded, according to members of the immediate family.
This has been reported falsely and the Akindayomis were NOT aware of the petition signed by Abiodun Olukowajo (also a relative) on behalf of the family,” one of the statements obtained by Vanguard yesterday, stated.
According to a member of the immediate Akindayomi family, both the Adeboyes and the Akindayomis had a meeting on Monday at the Redemption Camp, during which Pastor Adeboye and his wife openly discussed with Pa Akindayomi’s family on the circulating petition by Mr. Abiodun Olukowajo. After the meeting, a source close to the church told our reporter that members of the immediate family of the late Akindayomi openly disassociated the family from the reports making the rounds, saying it absolutely has nothing to do with them and were actually shocked to hear of such allegations.
Both families ended the meeting on a mutual and respectful note, and all parties went home in peace. Mr. Abiodun Olukowajo was absent in this meeting. Commenting on the said petition by one member of the family, one of the sons of the late Pa Akindayomi, (Baba Alakos) said: “The Church is of God not a property of the Akindayomi”, stressing categorically that the family will never want to challenge Pastor Adeboye’s pastoral authority.
Mr. Abiodun Olukowajo whose name was mentioned in the letter, is one of the grandsons, but the immediate family now suspects that certain forces within the church might be trying to use him against Pastor Adeboye for their own selfish interests.
Nonetheless, the family has promised to talk to Mr. Abiodun Olukowajo who lives in London . Members of the Akindayomi family declared their loyalty to the leadership of Pastor Adeboye as a father not just as a spiritual father alone.