The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion on Monday February 19 rose in defense of the February 6 election of The Rt. Rev. Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye for translation to the See of Lagos from Osun North East, stating that the allegation of impropriety in the election as reported by some online platform was baseless and unfounded.
In a statement signed by the episcopal secretary, The Rt. Rev David O C Onuoha, the church stated that the online report which has been trending on the social media were intended to mislead the unsuspecting people and lovers of the church urging the public to disregard the malicious publication.
The report had quoted one Mr. Ade Doherty who was said to have issued a statement on behalf of some aggrieved members of the Diocese of Lagos stating that the election that brought in Olumakaiye was stage managed.
The trending report reads in part, “The so-called election of Olumakaiye at the recent Synod in Ilorin was a clear manipulation of the House of Bishops who were “tele guided” by both Ademowo and The Primate, the Most Revd. (Dr.) Nicholas Okoh. Of course, we have it on good authority that huge sums of money exchanged hands to facilitate the so-called election of Olumakaiye and majority of our members in Lagos stand united in opposition to this mischief! It is a charade and can never stand”.
But in a swift reaction, the Church stated that the allegation was mischievous and born out of malice. Explaining the circumstances that led to the election of Olumakaiye who is billed to take over from The Most Rev Adebola Ademowo, the church stated, “This particular election was held alongside four others at the Cathedral Church of St Barnabas, Ilorin in the Diocese of Kwara, Kwara State in accordance with the church’s laid down rules and regulations.
“The event was free and fair. A total of 161 bishops participated and pursuant to the provisions of Canon V of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria 1997 (as Amended), candidates were nominated after the advice from the diocese, which favoured translation, had been circulated and read. The procedure before every election in the House of Bishops is to appoint a team of returning officers to collate the results. This was strictly followed with the Rt. Rev Sosthenes Eze, Bishop of Enugu North diocese, leading eight other bishops to perform this sacred duty.
“Only two candidates, Most Rev Michael Fape and Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye were duly nominated and seconded by highly respected members of the house without any objection raised against any of them. After the voting which was by secret ballot, the result was declared as follows: Most Rev’d Michael Fape had 51 votes while Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye had 109”
The statement explained further that by the election the Rt. Rev’ d Humphrey Olumakaiye, Bishop of Osun North East became duly elected for translation to the See of Lagos adding that it is uncharitable for the online media to attempt to smear the image of the Primate of the Church, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh.
It then called “on the discerning public, especially all Anglican faithful to disregard the said malicious publications in their entirety as they are baseless and without any iota of truth. The bishops of the Church of Nigeria remain resolute and united in their determination to uphold godliness and righteousness in their service to God and humanity.”
In the same vein, the clergy and the people of the Diocese of Lagos in a statement signed by The Hon. Justice Adedayo Oyebanji Diocesan Chancellor & Chairman, Retirement and Enthronement Committee and
The Ven. Tunde Oduwole Asst. Synod Secretary & Recorder, Special Session of the Retirement & enthronement Committee .declared the loyalty of the Diocese of Lagos to the entire Church of Nigeria, Anglican communion while also expressing joy at the election of Olumakaiye whom the statement described as a renowned tele-Evangelist, fiery preacher and fire-brand prayer warrior.
The statement reads in part, “It is with a collective sense of appreciation, from hearts filled with exhilarating joy, that we the clergy, and good people of the Diocese of Lagos, through our anointed and elected representatives, meeting under God, as one body in Christ Jesus, today the 15th day of February, 2018 – do express our common gratitude, first to God, who orchestrated all things, who in His infinite mercy and benevolence has ordered our destiny, as the premier Anglican Diocese in the Church of Nigeria to be “from glory to glory advancing”; and also for the quality of leadership that the Anglican Church in Nigeria, has enjoyed not just in its glorious past, but more importantly at this very precarious time in the history of our nation and the troubled world at large”
While expressing assurance that the elected Bishop who will be translated from Diocese of Osun North East to Diocese to Lagos will improve on the great work done by the outgoing Bishop, The Rt. Rev Adebola Ademowo who is due for retirement in August.
The statement noted that the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Lagos was most impressed with the church leadership and also assured of a bright prospects, “by the collective Episcopal direction that the entire church Prelates have provided for our limping body-politic – such as was demonstrated by the divinely-ordered election of our amiable Rt. Revd Dr. Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye as successor to our beloved Father, Dean Emeritus of our National Church and outgoing Bishop of Lagos, The Most Revd Dr. E. Adebola Ademowo OON, FNAL, Ph. D.”