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Adeboye Steps Down, Oyedepo, Olukoya, Kumuyi, Others to Follow

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It was a mixture of surprise and anxiety on Saturday for ministers in the Redeemed Christian Church of God when the respected cleric and General Overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, announced a new leader for the church arm in Nigeria.

Adeboye made the declaration at the church’s Annual Ministers Thanksgiving held at the Redemption Camp in Ogun State.

Adeboye started his speech at the service by telling the stunned ministers that he initiated a pension scheme for the church’s retired full-time pastors that would enable them earn 100 per cent of their salaries as pension.

He reportedly said that government had been meddling with the affairs of churches in Nigeria and he had to discontinue with the scheme when the government introduced a contributory pension scheme which the church later joined.

Ministers present at the gathering told one of our correspondents that Adeboye said the government also interfered in the administration of the church by stipulating mandatory office tenure for general overseers of all registered churches in the country through a regulation.

He noted that this regulation also extended to clergymen like Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church Worldwide International aka Winners Chapel, Pastor W.F. Kumuyi of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry and Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, among others.

FRC regulation

It was gathered that the Financial Regulations Council had stipulated a maximum period of 20 years for the heads of all registered churches, mosques, and civil society organisations.

The FRC established by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act, No. 6, 2011, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, is responsible for, among other things, developing and publishing accounting and financial reporting standards to be observed in the preparation of financial statements of public entities in Nigeria; and for related matters.

Governance Code 2016 of the Act encompasses three sectors: the private, the public and not-for-profit. It is the not-for-profit sector, sometimes referred to as the Benevolent Sector, the Third Sector or the Civil Society Sector, that religious bodies fall under.

The code read in part, “The founder or leader of a NFPO (not-for-profit) occupies a special position in the organisation and is committed to the success and longevity of the NFPO. Accordingly, a founder or leader should not take on too many responsibilities in the organisation or have an indefinite term in the running of the organisation.

“Where, for any reason, a founder or leader of NFPO also occupies any of the three governance positions of chairmanship of the board of trustees, the governing board or council, and the headship of the executive management (or their governance equivalents), the following provisions shall apply before the end of the organisation’s financial year in which this code takes effect.

“The founder or leader shall cease to occupy these three governance positions simultaneously. This is to ensure the separation of powers and avoid possible concentration of powers in one individual.

“The founder or leader may however choose – subject to the agreement of the organisation’s apex authority as expressed in the annual general assembly, annual meeting, annual stakeholder engagement, annual conference, annual synod, annual fellowship assembly or their equivalents – only one of these three governance positions subject to his current tenure. This is to ensure a clear division of responsibilities at the head of the organisation between the running of the governing body and the executive responsibility for the management and fulfilment of the organisation’s mission.

“Where the founder or leader has occupied all or any of these three governance positions for more than twenty years, or is aged seventy years or above, the choice in the section above should only relate to the board of trustees as in section below, except the constitution of the organisation otherwise provides.’’

Obayemi: RCCG’s new ‘Daddy GO

The code read in part, “The founder or leader of a NFPO (not-for-profit) occupies a special position in the organisation and is committed to the success and longevity of the NFPO. Accordingly, a founder or leader should not take on too many responsibilities in the organisation or have an indefinite term in the running of the organisation.

“Where, for any reason, a founder or leader of NFPO also occupies any of the three governance positions of chairmanship of the board of trustees, the governing board or council, and the headship of the executive management (or their governance equivalents), the following provisions shall apply before the end of the organisation’s financial year in which this code takes effect.

“The founder or leader shall cease to occupy these three governance positions simultaneously. This is to ensure the separation of powers and avoid possible concentration of powers in one individual.

“The founder or leader may however choose – subject to the agreement of the organisation’s apex authority as expressed in the annual general assembly, annual meeting, annual stakeholder engagement, annual conference, annual synod, annual fellowship assembly or their equivalents – only one of these three governance positions subject to his current tenure. This is to ensure a clear division of responsibilities at the head of the organisation between the running of the governing body and the executive responsibility for the management and fulfilment of the organisation’s mission.

“Where the founder or leader has occupied all or any of these three governance positions for more than twenty years, or is aged seventy years or above, the choice in the section above should only relate to the board of trustees as in section below, except the constitution of the organisation otherwise provides.’’

The information gathered showed the law would cause leadership changes in other churches, where their general overseers had spent more than 20 years in that capacity.

Kumuyi, Oyedepo, Olukoya, others to follow

Some of the general overseers to be affected by the regulation include Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, who has spent 22 years as the general overseer; Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (35 years); Pastor Kumuyi (43 years); Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of Word of Life Bible Church (29 years); Rev. Chris Okotie of the Household of God ( 29 years); Kingsway International Christian Centre’s Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo (24 years); Winners Chapel’s Bishop David Oyedepo (35 years).

Others are Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Believers’ LoveWord International (26 years); Pastor Samuel Abiara of Christ Apostolic Church (39 years); Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Centre (21 years); Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly (27 years); House on the Rock’s Pastor Paul Adefarasin (22 years), among others.

When contacted by one of our correspondents, the Public Relations Officer of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Mr. Segun Babatope, declined to speak on whether Pastor Kumuyi would also step down like Pastor Adeboye did.

He referred our correspondent to the church secretary, who also declined to speak on the matter.

Babatope said, “I cannot speak on behalf of the church. We are not fully aware of what Pastor Adeboye said and we cannot comment on rumours.”

Also, calls made to the mobile of Rev. Chris Okotie were not answered. He did not also reply the text message sent to his mobile as of press time.

Similarly, when contacted on Saturday, one of Pastor Olukoya’s media aides, Mr. Idowu Ajanaku, did not respond to calls made to his mobile phone, neither did he respond to the text message our correspondent sent to him.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Adesina, who is an ally of Bishop David Oyedepo, said that he needed to read the FRC’s code to give “an informed opinion” on the issue.

How the ministers’ meeting ended

Sources said after his speech at the meeting, Adeboye introduced Pastor Joseph Obayemi as the ‘new overseer’ of the church, Funsho Odesola as the new church secretary and Joseph Adeyokunu as the new church treasurer.

Adeboye reportedly said, ‘‘At least, nobody can stop me from being a general overseer in other countries of the world.’’

By the pronouncement, Adeboye ceases to be the General Overseer of the RCCG in Nigeria while he remains the church’s spiritual leader worldwide and general overseer of its international arm. The church has branches in about 190 countries.

The clerics, who were newly appointed into key positions in the church, were not allowed to speak to the gathering. But Adeboye asked the ministers to pray for them and he also did the same.

A statement reportedly issued by Odesola after the meeting stressed that the new structure was particular to Nigeria alone as Adeboye remained the spiritual leader and global missioner of the church.

Before now, there had been expectations in the church that Adeboye would name a successor after he clocked 70 — the stipulated retirement age by the church.

In a statement credited to Leke Adeboye, Adeboye’s last son and personal assistant, he cited the FRC’s law as the reason for the church’s decision, adding, however, that Adeboye remained the General Overseer of RCCG worldwide.

Adeboye is now 74. He became the church’s general overseer in 1981 after taking over from the church’s founder, Pa Josiah Akindayomi.

Our correspondent gathered that at the service, Adeboye asked the ministers to tell all members in their parishes to join any political party of their choice.

The revered cleric noted that by joining political parties, they would be able to partake in the making of vital political decisions at the ward level in order for the country to have good representation.

He also noted that their involvement in politics would check imposition of candidates.

Lawyers’ speak on FRC regulation

Speaking with one of our correspondents, a human rights activist and lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, who commented on the FRC law, said churches, mosques and other not-for-profit organisations, as long as they are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, were bound by the new financial regulation targeted at ensuring financial transparency and seamless succession.

Adegboruwa who is also an RCCG pastor, said, “The plan of succession must not be to the benefit of a family member. By law, churches are called incorporated churches with a board of trustees. It cannot be run by a family. Pastor Adeboye, of his volition, decided to obey the regulation by handing over to a successor. I must also state that the confusion being created by some people that Pastor Adeboye is the general overseer of the RCCG Worldwide is unnecessary. There is no such organisation as the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide. He is the Global Missioner and Spiritual Leader of the Church. There is nothing like RCCG Worldwide.’’

There were reports on Saturday that the Federal Government had suspended the not-for-profit governance code of 2016. The human rights activist and lawyer explained that the law was suspended in relation to the public sector and not for organisations like churches and mosques.

He said, “There was a stakeholders’ meeting where churches, mosques and civil society organisations met with the government. We actually challenged the regulation at the Federal High Court and we lost. We decided to comply with the regulation because we didn’t want the government to see Christians as people who do not want to follow a seamless succession system. We also do not want government to see us as people who have something to hide about their finances. The RCCG is a transparent organisation and that’s why it decided to comply.

“This (regulation) is not just about Pastor Adeboye. It concerns all the churches registered in Nigeria. Any church leader who has spent 20 years has to hand over to somebody else.”

Also, Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, stated that the agency’s regulation for religious organisations was still in force.

Another legal practitioner, Moses Alao, said that the FRC regulation provides that a religious leader of a registered religious organisation should step down after 20 years in office or on attainment of age 70.

He said, “Whichever comes first, it is either the religious leader has turned 70 or has spent 20 years or more as the head of the organisation, he has to go. The person will stop being involved in administrative issues of the religious organisation. He will only be a figure head with no real authority. Pastor Adeboye, in the case of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, will still be the spiritual figure head but there will be a general overseer (a position he had relinquished).’

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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