By Sam Eyoboka & Caleb Ayansina
ABUJA —THE Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to completely discard the controversial corporate governance code of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, warning against any attempt to weaken the church of God in the country.
Reacting to the measures taken so far by the government on the implementation of the code that had stirred up controversies in the country, General Secretary of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake, hailed the removal of FRCN Executive Secretary, Mr. Jim Obazee.
Asake, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for quickly reacting to the matter before it degenerated, said: “The sack of Jim is good riddance to bad rubbish. Anybody that wants to fight the church will find himself where he does not want.
“Jim got to the position by the grace of God but set out to probe and destroy the church of God. I spoke with him several times on this issue but he wouldn’t listen. He was going to take the church to what is worse than Armageddon.
“That code should be thrown out completely because government should not interfere with the church. The church is a no-go zone for the government. Doing that has serious implications. If they attempt it, it will lead to confusion in the nation,” he said.
Also, a statement by the National President of PFN, Rev. Felix Omobude, argued that it had consistently expressed its concern “at the non-inclusive process that brought about the code and the all-pervasive nature of it, especially as it relates to activities of the not-for-profit sector, whose activities are already regulated by provisions of the law under which they were registered.”
The Fellowship maintained that in view of the inability on the part of the FRCN to achieve the necessary buy-in from concerned stakeholders on the code of governance and address legitimate concerns raised by many, it was wrong for it to have proceeded to enforce its implementation.
Obazee’s sack an afterthought, cover-up — Fayose
However, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State described the sack of Obazee as an afterthought and cover-up to stem the tide of negative public reactions to the implementation of the controversial law.
In a statement in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Mr Lere Olayinka, he said: “When they realised the implication of their action on President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 ambition, especially a personality like Pastor Adeboye that is involved, they quickly sacked an innocent man, who must have acted on instruction.
“Obviously, their attention is more on 2019, not on justice and any love for the sustenance of Christianity in Nigeria. Mind you, they have only suspended the implementation of the regulation, they did not abrogate it. It is obvious that they have an agenda. And if you look at the president’s pattern of life, he is a sectional leader, whose appointments reflect sectionalism and nepotism.”
Fayose said it was funny that a president that is over 70 years will be the one to implement a regulation limiting the age of General Overseers, GOs, of churches to 70 years, asking; “If men of God like Pastor Adeboye, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi, Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and others cannot be GO of their church beyond 70 years of age, how do we now justify a man like President Buhari who is over 74 and still willing to be president beyond 2019 that he will be 77?”
Governor Fayose, who described those defending President Buhari by claiming that the law was made when Dr Goodluck Jonathan was president as hypocrites, asked: “Even if the law was made before President Buhari assumed office, who is to blame for its implementation? Could President Buhari have implemented a law he does not believe in and could the sacked FRC boss that they have now used as the sacrificial lamb, implemented the law without the consent of the Presidency?”
He questioned the speed at which the President reacted by sacking the FRCN boss, asking: “Why was there no such swiftness in his action on Southern Kaduna killings where a race was almost wiped out with people killed like goats? Why didn’t the President react swiftly to the Senate indictment of the EFCC, acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu?
“Obviously, it was an afterthought, which was aimed at dousing the negative outcry that greeted the action by using the sacked FRCN boss as the fall-guy. This has further made it very clear and evident that Buhari is not a leader, he is ruler. He is a religious apologist that believes that he must silence anybody that does not believe in his line of thought either politically or religious wise.
“Sadly, all those things that we have forgotten and never thought will happen again in this country are now happening. The country is now badly divided more than ever before. Nigerians have been able to read through President Buhari in this short time to realise that all he is doing now is to destroy this country like he did in 1984 but God will not allow him.’’
On Monday night, the Federal Government effected a major shake-up in the boards of some public institutions, sweeping away the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, Mr. Obazee.
FRCN, one of the parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, was the principal actor in the controversial exit of Pastor Enoch Adeboye as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church God, RCCG, Nigeria, last weekend.
The Council is responsible for setting and promoting compliance with standards for accounting, financial reporting and auditing in Nigeria, under which it created its controversial Code of Corporate Governance, now also suspended by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enalema.