By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA – The lingering crisis rocking the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Diocese of Yewa, Ilaro, Ogun State has taken a dangerous dimension as the members of the congregation demand the removal of their Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Revd Michael Adebayo Oluwarohunbi from office.
The festering crisis took a turn for the worse last Sunday following a fresh directive from Bishop Oluwarohunbi banning all priests under the Yewa Diocese from officiating and ministering at the church’s officially designated prayer ground, popularly called the “Prayer City.”
According to a copy of the memo dated September 28, 2015 signed by Bishop Oluwarohunbi and obtained by our correspondent in Abeokuta,the cleric barred the members of the congregation under the diocese from attending spiritual programmes organised as groups or individuals in the “prayer city.”
He said “Prayer City is an abberation. Therefore, any priest who is in the habit of taking our members for prayers or special programmes in places other than the church should desist from such habit forthwith.”
But the bishop’s directive almost prevented last Sunday’s service from holding inside the cathedral of the diocese as it met stiffer resistance from the members of the congregation who described Bishop Oluwarohunbi’s action as “unscriptural” and unbecoming of an Anglican bishop.
Vanguard gathered that in a bid to prevent break down of law and order, the standing committee of the cathedral hurriedly convened an emergency meeting of the members of the congregation immediately after last Sunday’s church service to take a stand on the issue.
At the end of the meeting, the congregation was said to have mandated the steering committee of the church to communicate their grievances in writing to the Primate of the Church, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh.
While some members of the congregation were also said to have called on the primate to call the bishop to order, others allegedly demanded his outright removal from office “for peace to reign in the diocese.”
According to a copy of the letter written to the primate by the Diocesan People’s Warden, the Provost’s Warden and Secretary, Secretary Standing Committee, Taiwo Olatunji, Dada Sunday and Mrs. Toyin Bammeke, respectively, the congregation pleaded with the head of the Anglican Church in Nigeria to save the Cathedral and the Yewa Diocese from the alleged excesses of the bishop.
The copy of the letter dated October 5, 2015 and obtained by Vanguard , read in part, “The church is hereby pleading with our Primate to please save our spiritual lives in the cathedral and Yewa Diocese as a whole, based on the directive that came out from the bishop’s letter that it was an abberation in the Anglican Communion to have a place of prayer where people from every nook and cranny of Ilaro and its environs and even Muslims gather to pray on specifics.”
Also, a press statement signed by the trio and made available to our correspondent further stated, “It is necessary to inform your Grace that the same “Ori Oke” called “Prayer City” was commissioned by our late Bishop, Rt. Revd. Simon Adebola on November 17, 2012 and it has been a place regularly attended by all denominations and Muslims.”
It also stressed, “We recall several testimonies given by members that since the inception of the prayer city, they have stopped patronising herbalists and occult groups as they continue to reap the result of prayers observed as the prayer city in abundance.”
Efforts by our correspondent to get the reaction of Bishop Oluwarohunbi proved abortive.
He did not pick calls made to his phone and did not reply SMS text messages sent to him.