A considerable measure of concern and apprehension is engulfing pentecostal Christians and church leaders in Lagos State over who is likely to emerge as the new chairman of the Pentecostal body in the state.
It would be recalled that the state pentecostal movement lost its former chairman, Bishop Olusola Ore when he passed on in 2021, and his term was completed by his vice, Apostle Eyinnaya Okuwonu. This month of June 2022, the pentecostal body is set to put a new executive in place, and this has thrown open the field to several candidates, one of which would be chosen by the fathers of the movement at the state and national level.
The apprehension of the Church leaders and sundry Christians in the state has to do with the quality of one of the people showing interest in the chairmanship position. Pastors and Christians in the state want the PFN leadership to investigate four-year sermons and activities of all contestants so that Christians in the state would know that the best person is leading them.
In their private groups, virtual meetings, and discussion with Christian journalists, pastors in Lagos feel it would be disastrous for the state to make mistakes in choosing any character known to be shady both in the terrestrial and spiritual milieu to be their chairman.
In a WhatsApp group meeting, Pastor Mike Ojo said, ‘we are silently observing the developments to see where the tide will blow. We wonder if the church fathers in Lagos would pander to the revival or burial of the image of the pentecostal Church by the choice they want to make in the weeks to come.
‘One of the characters showing interest is well known for his shady deals within and outside Nigeria. There were reports of him impersonating the children of one of the founding fathers of the Nigerian Pentecostal movement.
‘He would deprecate the supernatural and miracles by telling people to touch his sweat and make payment to see the power of God in their lives. He was alleged to be sleeping with women in his Church and found in shady relationships with men and women of questionable characters.
‘Suddenly, he came into a questionable wealth which he flings about as offerings to buy Church fathers so he would be reckoned with and chosen as the chairman of Lagos PFN. We are watching the development to know if the Lagos PFN would further drown its image or rescue it.’ The pastor said.
In another response, Apostle Okunmade O. Isaac, in Ikorodu speaking to journalists, said this is the time for the Lagos movement to assert that eternal life is weightier than money. ‘There has been speculations that this character is going about throwing the weight of his money to become our leader in Lagos. Some of us have decided to watch and see the credibility of our leaders. We don’t elect our leaders. We cede the power to people we regard as fathers. A body will sit on Tuesday to check the image and records of those interested in leading the pentecostal body in Lagos. This body will recommend two names to the South West chairman, and the chairman will present the names to the National President, who will pick one name.’
‘In the first place, this process of selecting a state chairman is questionable and flawed. You cannot place an organisation as big as Lagos PFN, the hub of the Nigerian Pentecostal movement, in the hands of one or two people. There should be a proper selection method where more people, even the Church as a body, would be involved. This imminent selection of Lagos chairman will show the credibility of this process.’
Pastor John Mike Nliam of a Pentecostal church in Okokomaiko, raised concern that the PFN fathers in Lagos should bring out the profiles of the candidates and do a thorough investigation of their activities and contents online, rather than just sitting in their offices to pick a name to lead such an office so holy.
Also speaking on the contestants, Bishop Simon Bode Ololade of Power of God Bible Church in Sango Ota said he has refused to associate with the pentecostal body because of this craze for money, power and influence of some of the members. ‘Just anybody, once you can dole out the cash, can be ordained a Bishop. Being a bishop has been elevated to a status symbol, especially in the South West.
‘Someone with a very dappled pedigree was consecrated a Bishop and, later, an archbishop. Today he is scheming to be the Lagos Chairman. He has been giving offerings all over the place to be selected. He was also said to have been a fundraiser for Lagos PFN recently, where he attempted to work himself into the hearts of Lagos PFN big wigs. All these shenanigans are known to us, the Bishop said. ‘But we watch if money will buy him the job.’
‘We call on all pastors, Christians, journalists and the fathers of PFN in Lagos, Pa Folorunsho Kumuyi, Pa Enoch Adeboye, Rev Wale Adefarasin, Bishops David Oyedepo and Mike Okonkwo, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, Archbishops Joseph Ojo and Osa-Oni, Mama Mercy Ezekiel, Bishop Abraham Olaleye and so many others not to watch in silence and allow the Lagos PFN be dragged in the mud.’
Praying about the forth-coming selection, the Pastor Tola T. Okeowo of one of the RCCG parishes in Egbeda, Lagos prays that the image of the Pentecostal movement, which is currently challenged by the activities of shady men like this archbishop, will not plummet any further.
‘It is time to build our image, have a strong body that can stand its own anywhere, especially now that the nation is going into a serious political era and the Church must dictate the pace. Any attempt to sell our leadership to
fundraisers and exploitative characters would bring negative results.’
*By Pastor Isaiah Johnson