For the second time in a month, a petition has been written to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, calling for the discipline of the Lagos State CAN Chairman, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, for playing a partisan role and lobbying Lagos CAN leaders for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In fact, in the latest petition, by Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi, President of Voice Of His Word Ministries an Apostolic Ministry based in Lagos, he called for the outright removal of Adegbite as the CAN Chairman in Lagos.
An earlier petition to the CAN President by Pastor Bosun Emmanuel, dated 19th November, had also frowned at the behaviour of Adegbite and asked that he be called to order.
In addition to asking for Adegbite’s removal, Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi, is seeking to know if his actions have the endorsement of clerics like Pastor E.A. Adeboye of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi of the Deeper Life Bible Church, among others, noting that these fathers of faith based in Lagos, under the purview of Bishop Adegbite as Lagos CAN chairmab, “should know that silence is no longer golden and the time to speak up is now.”
Latching on to a circular allegedly caused to be issued by Adegbite to the Chairmen of CAN in the 57 local councils in Lagos to attend the campaign rally of Tinubu in Lagos, the petitioner also sought answers to questions like: “Are they ( the senior clerics, party to the decision for them to be represented at Tinubu/Shettima campaign ground as CAN members by extension?
“Does the Catholic Archbishop and the Archdiocese of Lagos subscribe to this decision through their Rep on CAN Exco?
“Can this appearance be the endorsement of Anglican Archdiocese of Lagos and its reigning Archbishop since Adegbite is the Rep for their Bloc?
“To Adegbite’s home, the platform that granted him the privilege of being CAN Chairman, does the newly enthroned Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Archbishop Oliver Aba know he is being represented at Tinubu/Shettima campaign ground?
The petition to Archbishop Okoh, and the National Executive Council of CAN, and titled PETITION ON ABUSE OF OFFICE AND BREACH OF OATH OF OFFICE BY BISHOP STEPHEN ADEGBITE, THE LAGOS STATE CHAIRMAN OF CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA, LAGOS STATE BRANCH AND CALL FOR HIS IMMEDIATE REMOVAL, reads in full:
APOSTOLIC ROUNDTABLE (“ART”) is a project of Voice of His Word Ministry, a bonafide member of the CPFN/PFN bloc of CAN in the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. We are committed to the emancipation of Christian minds from the ignorance limiting our role in politics that has turned us to victims of bad governance and general insecurity. We are a non-partisan group seeking the face of God for spiritual revival in the Nigerian Church and political revolution in Nigeria.
For the records, let me state unequivocally that this is not anyway personal, Bishop STV Adegbite has spoken to leaders of the church in Nigeria on our platform before and all he said are on record.
I am however compelled by the understanding of one of the purpose of CAN which is to act as a liaison committee by means of which its member churches can consult together and when necessary make common statements and take common actions. I write to your esteemed office to demand the immediate removal of the Lagos State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (“CAN”), Lagos State Chapter, Bishop Stephen Adegbite on grounds of abuse of office.
I have before now made public through my writings the embarrassing partisan activities of Bishop Stephen Adegbite, not just within his official jurisdiction but as far as in Ibadan (Oyo State Branch of CAN) when he led the candidate of APC, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to hold a close door meeting with the immediate past President of CAN, Rev’d Dr Sampson Ayokunle in the presence of some Executive members of Oyo state CAN. Where he stood in as both Advocate and Campaign Director of BAT and gave reason why BAT Muslim/Muslim Ticket must be voted for. The transaction details of the meeting will be made available when the need arises. The full article was published by Church Times on the 23rd of August 2022 under the heading; Christian Association of Nigeria And A Prostrating Tinubu
The partisanship desperation of STV Adegbite to see to it that Bola Ahmed Tinubu becomes the adopted candidate of Christian Association of Nigeria at all cost was taken to the head when he publicly stated that God will not forgive all Christians from the south west if they failed to vote for Tinubu, a statement he refuted after much bashing from the general public. Details of this are stated in my article titled, “God must punish all the worms in CAN’s can”, published by several online journals, but for reference, see Street Reporter of the 19th Oct 2022.
Am I against BAT? May be, and may be not! If viewed through my many articles against his choice of another Muslim on his joint ticket, an intellectual position that was informed by an open decision of CAN, an umbrella body for all Christians, led then by Dr Ayokunle that CAN will never subscribe to a Muslim/Muslim ticket, would I be wrong to champion the decision of my leaders?
Tribune Online June 2022 – We won’t accept Muslim/Muslim ticket CAN warns Atiku, Tinubu.
May be Atiku would have picked a Muslim but for the warning.
Where is the motivation for heeding our cry, when our open support is for another who was defiant.
In July, CAN affirmed her position; 2023: We’ll reject Muslim/Muslim ticket. This for me foreclosed the issue for 2023, it may be considered in 2027. But the communication to the body for now is that CAN is opposed to Muslim/Muslim ticket.
May be I am being extreme and not considering that Ayokunle is out and Okoh is in. What is the disposition of CAN’s new leadership headed by your Eminence?
On the 6th of September 2022, a statement credited to you was published by many online Journals as follows – CAN remains OPPOSED to Muslim/Muslim Ticket.
Sir, would I be wrong to pledge my loyalty to the leadership of a body I hold so dearly.
If my position is judged for standing up for CAN, you will be right to conclude that I am against him. However, I have never met Tinubu personally and have no reason whatsoever to hate him. If after due consultation with all Blocs in a National Assembly it is resolved and openly stated that the Muslim/Muslim ticket of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Alhaji Kashim Shettima is the choice of Christian Association of Nigeria we will give ourselves to it. For now, we are awaiting the decision of the National Assembly of Christian Association of Nigeria.
I led a team of concerned Christians to Edo during their last governorship election. And we waited on the CAN Chairman, Bishop Oyonude Kure till CAN officially took a decision on who will have their support. My intelligence and resources were deployed to someone I have never met in that election just because CAN chose that side. I worked for the Kingdom on the decision of CAN against a friend, brother and a pastor because these are not normal times in Nigeria.
The Silence of All Bloc Heads of CAN in Lagos over the partisan activities of Bishop STV Adegbite is of concern to everyday Christians with whom we regularly interface.
This silence is what has emboldened Bishop Stephen Adegbite to throw caution to the wind by officially dragging the structure of Christian Association of Nigeria in Lagos state to the Campaign Ground of Tinubu/Shettima in Lagos.
On 26th November, 2022, we became aware of a post circulating on social media as follows:
We have the (Lagos State CAN) Chairman’s directive to inform all our beloved Coordinators that you are all invited to the program organized by APC in Lagos for Saturday, 26th November, 2022 @TESLIM BALOGUN STADIUM, Surulere, Lagos. You are expected to be there by 12 noon. The Chairman will be on ground to welcome everyone to the event. God bless you as you are planning and preparing to attend. Happy night rest. + Dele Asaju: Asst. State Secretary “
Do we have our sentiment? Yes! But we have learnt by example and still learning from credible leaders in the kingdom. A click online to profile respected Theologian and Professor of Professors, Rt Rev’d Dapo Asaju the Anglican Bishop of Ijesaland will reveal his political sentiment as a member of APC, but not for once has this coloured his leadership to divide the church. He once warned Clerics not to play politics in the church. According to him, politicians who run to some men of God to pray for them are wasting their time, adding that God would not be moved by any man of God’s prayer or prophecy but would allow the electorate to decide their choice of leaders in government through the ballot boxes.
In our individual capacity, we are not constitutionally barred from making a choice of party or candidate to support, but being privileged stewards of Christ’s estate; the Church, and fathers of the Christian Faith whose calling is to be just to all and equitable in all circumstances, it is demanded of us to be moderate in ALL things.
An official circular sent and duly signed by the Assistant Secretary for the appearance of all 57 LG chairmen of CAN on the campaign ground of APC beat public imagination, for which rebellion is already brewing. It is the lowest political depravity expected of us in support of ANY CANDIDATE OR POLITICAL PARTY.
We were able to confirm that the said circular was indeed from the undersigned on the directives of Bishop STV Adegbite as stated and that “program organized by the APC in Lagos for Saturday, 26th November, 2022 @TESLIM BALOGUN STADIUM” is the TINUBU-SHETTIMA PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN RALLY IN LAGOS where the CHAIRMAN OF THE LAGOS STATE BRANCH OF THE CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA “WAS TO BE ON GROUND”.
The statement issued by Assistant State Secretary of the Lagos State Branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria is to mobilise all CAN Local Government Chairmen. Possibly as coordinators of APC church campaign in their different Local Government.
Please, let’s get it right! Like Adegbite, we are confronted daily with tempting offers from politicians across various divide to join their train and welge our influence to support them.
I was once spoken to through the phone of Engr Daniel Kadzai, one time YOWICAN President by an intelligent female voice who introduced herself as Dr Fati Atiku, the first daughter of his Excellency. She had read my several articles on Muslim/Muslim tickets and felt their decision for balance of tickets should be rewarded by joining Atiku/Okowa ticket, particularly those of us standing for justice.
But what will be the justification again if we have a Kwankwaso who chose an Archbishop on his ticket, Obi a Catholic and fellow christian who is leading a Christian/Muslim ticket with Datti. Time mustn’t fail me to mention “little” political forces in the race who “CAN” bring down Goliath of bad governance in Nigeria if they find the favour with CAN and be anointed to go out like little David and bring the head of Goliath. On this list are Omoyele Sowore of AAC , Kola Abiola of PRP, Adewole Adebayo of SDP, Peter Umeadi of APGA. These are no regular times, and investment in a David by CAN will not be out of place. We can’t be cashing out for selfish reasons at the expense of the larger family of faith.
On the request of PDP governorship candidate in Lagos Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Adeniran, (Jandor) to interface with PFN, I was privileged to accompany Bishop Theophilus Ajose the DPG Director for Lagos state to a meeting with Jandor. The only issue of importance to that seating was the denial of Dr John Kome his legitimately earned ticket for House of Assembly on the platform of PDP, much as Jandor attempted to convince us that it was a party decision we reiterated the need to allow democratic process have it’s course since Kome was already in Court, our joy it is today, to see that the rule of law has strengthened internal democracy within PDP in Lagos state by reinstating the popular choice of the PDP family for Ikeja house of Assembly.
Gboyega Rhodes-Vivour, a young vibrant leader I so much love was denied the support I gave him during the last political season. He wanted me on Labour Party Campaign Council, I couldn’t because I don’t own myself politically, the church does. I can only do my best at educating the church on making informed decision in our collective interest, good of bad, once it is made, I will stand by it and with all my energy service same as I did with my team in Edo.
Our loyalty to CAN is too costly to be trampled upon by persons whose belly have become their gods.
Article 13(B) of the Constitution of the Christian Association of Nigeria provides as follows:
“DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS OF ZONAL, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICERS OF CAN”
All provisions regarding the duties and functions of the National Officers of the Association shall apply “mutatis mutandis” to the Zonal, State and Local Government Officers of the Association.”
Article 14(b) (iii) of the Constitution of the Christian Association of Nigeria provides as follows as part of the Qualifications of the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, which is mutatis mutandis with the Qualifications of the State Chairman of the Lagos State Branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria viz:
“Be a leader without reproach, having good reputation and personal integrity, as required in I Tim 3, so as to be a good example of Christian leadership to the country; Be conversant with, and possess vast knowledge of current affairs in National, International and Local affairs, so as to be able to speak for and direct Christian opinion on any issue, on behalf of the Church in Nigeria”
Article 19 of the Constitution of the Christian Association of Nigeria (as amended) also provides for the Discipline of its officials on the basis of misconduct. We hold that the action of the Chairman of the Lagos State Branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against him.
Flowing from the above provisions of the Constitution of the Christian Association of Nigeria, we are forced to ask the following questions:
1. Why did the Lagos State Branch Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria mobilize Chairmen of CAN from the 57 LGAs in the state, if not to serve as Coordinators of CAN campaign structure in their Local Government Areas to TINUBU-SHETTIMA PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN RALLY IN LAGOS STATE when neither the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY or NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL of the CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA have met or resolved to support a particular Presidential candidate or not?
2. Does the conduct of the Lagos State Branch Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria not bring reproach to the Church of Christ in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole as constituted in the Christian Association of Nigeria?
3. Was there consultation with all member churches in Lagos?
Clarification should be made on statements credited to Bishop STV Adegbite, are they common statements necessarily made as agreed upon by all blocs of CAN? i.e:
Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN Lagos State.
Christian Council of Nigeria, CCN Lagos State.
Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, CPFN/ Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Lagos State.
Organization of African Instituted Churches, OAIC.
CAN is a liaison of all the blocs, are the following representative on the Bloc Exco members:
CSN – Rev. Ftr. Mathew Ogunyase
CCN – Bishop Stephen Adegbite
CPFN/PFN – Dr. Dickson Asaaju
OAIC – Snr. Apostle Opasola
ECWA/TEKAN – Rev. Simeon Adekeye, part of the decision to openly campaign for Tinubu/Shettima?
Is this decision informed by consultation with their Blocs?
For example is my Chairman in PFN, Apostle Ennyinaya Okwonu part of that decision after due consultation with pentecostal Fathers and their church families for which he is serving as steward of PFN.
Not to mention Pastor E.A Adeboye of RCCG with Headquarters in Ebutemeta, Pastor W.F Kumuyi of the Deeper Life Bible Church with Headquarters in Gbagada, Rev Sam Aboyeji of the Foursquare Church with Headquarters in Yaba, Pastor DK Olukoya of Mountain of Fire Ministry, with Headquarters at Onike, Yaba, and Pastor Lazarus Muoka of the Chosen with Headquarters at Oshodi, this list is endless of churches and ministries within PFN whose members may misinterpret the appearance of CAN as endorsement of their denominations of Tinubu/Shettima ticket.
Our dear fathers should know that silence is no longer golden and time to speak up is now!
Are they party to the decision for them to be represented at Tinubu/Shettima campaign ground as CAN members by extension?
Does the Catholic Archbishop and the Archdiocese of Lagos subscribe to this decision through their Rep on CAN Exco?
Can this appearance be the endorsement of Anglican Archdiocese of Lagos and its reigning Archbishop since Adegbite is the Rep for their Bloc?
To Adegbite’s home, the platform that granted him the privilege of being CAN Chairman, does the newly enthroned Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Archbishop Oliver Aba know he is being represented at Tinubu/Shettima campaign ground?
If so, sir, we may need to ask if souvenirs shared at the campaign ground in cash, kind and materials were delivered to His Lordship?
Is the action of being “on Ground” at TINUBU/SHETTIMA Campaign an agreed common action by all the five (5) Blocs of CAN as the objective of CAN implies?
Since 2015, the medium of political communication has been through body language, is Adegbite’s actions an expression of CAN’s body language and their inactions an official support for the same?
It is on these grounds that we call for the immediate removal of the Lagos State Branch Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop STV Adegbite by your esteemed office, with subsequent ratification by the National Executive Council of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
This is no way the washing of our dirty linen in the public, linebs soiled in the glare of the public are better washed outside for the redemption of our corporate integrity as Christian Association of Nigeria.
We sincerely appreciate the speedy consideration of our petition in advance.
Yours in the Service of Our Lord,
Apostle Dr. Bolaji O. Akinyemi,
President Voice Of His Word Ministries and
Convener Apostolic Round Table.
cc: Bloc Heads:
CSN Lagos state.
CCN Lagos state.
CPFN/PFN Lagos state.
OAIC Lagos State
TEKAN/ECWA Lagos state.