By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Benue State chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, has been thrown into crisis following Monday’s inauguration of a new leadership in the state by the former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, NCPC, Evangelist Tor Ujah in Makurdi.
Evangelist Ujah inaugurated Bishop Benjamin Kurudu as the new Chairman of the branch and 27 others as executive members three weeks after the national leadership of the PFN inaugurated Reverend Joseph Orinya as the substantive Chairman of the branch.
Evangelist Ujah had defended the emergence of the new leadership saying it was in line with the agreement reached in March 20, 2017 by leaders of PFN in the state including Governor Samuel Ortom and the Tor Tiv Prof. James Ayatse who are PFN patrons, to resolve the crisis bedevilling the branch.
He recalled that on that day, Governor Ortom and the Tor Tiv, who were bothered by the leadership crisis rocking the fellowship called for a reconciliatory meeting between the two factions which held at the Government House in Makurdi.
“We were about 400 in number and the Governor called us together to resolve the issue and it was agreed that the then Bishop Angou led executive should be allowed to complete its tenure after which Bishop Kurudu led team be allowed to take over the reins of leadership for a full term; thereafter, another election conducted.
“Any other thing outside that is not only illegal but ungodly. The inauguration of Reverend Orinya by the National was the fourth time they were inaugurating people in one year. That shows there’s a problem and they are looking on something to stand.
“Angou served for four years without interruption but instead of handing over peacefully to Kurudu, they said they will continue. They want to by this move put the Governor and the Tor Tiv to shame and we will not allow that,” he said.
Reacting to the development, Reverend Orinya said as far as I know I am the current PFN Chairman in Benue state. I emerged after an election on November 5, 2020. At that election, we had about 18 State Advisory Committee, SAC, members who participated in the process.
That election was between myself and Arch Bishop Benjamin Kurudu. He scored six votes while I scored 12 votes. I was declared winner, he was asked to be my Deputy, and he did not turn it down, he even attended out meetings after then.
“On December 28, 2020, the National President, North Central of PFN, came to Benue and inaugurated us in the presence of leaders from the 23 Local Government Area of the state and the SAC members. So we were all shocked to hear about the inauguration of another executive of PFN in the state.
“Whatever they did has nothing to do with PFN, maybe they are forming another organisation certainly not PFN. But I hope to bring everybody into one umbrella because this is the work of the enemy to create division in the house of God,” he said.