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Bishop Wale Oke, Lagos PFN leadership and the circus game

by Church Times

Perhaps, nobody would have thought the home call of Bishop Sola Ore while he was chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria would throw a spanner in the wheel of the fellowship.

His death not only disrupted the smooth transition enjoyed by the fellowship over the years, but it also exposed the underbelly of church leadership and some of the PFN fathers.

Bishop Ore

Bishop Ore died in October 2020. His deputy, Apostle Eyinnaya Okwuonu stepped into his shoes. That was about all. After Okwuonu concluded Ore’s tenure, the PFN elders who were supposed to engineer a transition developed clay feet.

Nothing was done to encourage Eyinnaya to formally start a fresh term. And they did not bring in a new person to lead the fellowship either. That issue was kept in abeyance. But Okwuonu continued leading the fellowship to the best of his ability. He took good charge and displayed uncanny leadership skills.

Call for a New Chairman

But then after a couple of years in the saddle, there was agitation for a new leadership in the state. A mix of tribal sentiments and unfounded insinuations came into play.

The National President of the Fellowship, Bishop Wale Oke who has papal oversight over all the state chapters subsequently gave an order to the Vice President of the fellowship, South West, Archbishop Alagbala John Osa-Oni to appoint a new chairman for the chapter.

Osa-oni took up the challenge. He fell back to an 11-member advisory committee that has been in existence for years in the fellowship to carry out the assignment.

The committee met and organised an election that produced Rev Toyin Kehinde, a mission-minded, charismatic teacher of the word. He is the founder of Agape Generation International Church.

The election

The idea of an election was a novel thing. Before now, the executives of the Lagos PFN were appointed based on consensus by the elders in the fellowship. That had been the trend. The call for election was, however, to carry people along and not repeat the age-long tradition of imposing leaders.

That election however seems to have thrown up a fresh challenge for the fellowship going by what has happened lately. Bishop Wale Oke seemed not to be at home with the result of the election. He believed the election was not transparent enough and that it came suddenly, meaning many people were not aware. It was not clear where he was going and he did not betray any thought of working towards an agenda.

Bishop Oke annulled the election. He wrote to the South West Vice President and gave instructions that the process of getting a new chairman had to be repeated in June. That was the situation. And everybody was waiting with bated breath for the time for another election.

But rather than wait till June, the new chairman was elected on May 28. Many were caught unawares. Some of the gladiators in the first election including Rev Kehinde did not show up at the event.

Changed goal post

This time, the goalpost had changed.  A new face in the person of Pastor Yemi Davids founder of Global Impact Churches participated in the election and won. He beat Rev Yomi Kasali and Rev Esosa Eze-Iyamu.

How Davids came into the race is still a surprise to many. He was not known to have shown any interest in the PFN leadership before then. He was just by the sideline running his ministry. But stories fly around that he is a protégé of Bishop Wale Oke. There are insinuations that Bishop Oke had to prevail on him to take up the challenge. This can’t be verified though.

While the idea of election is a great one that should be encouraged, it seemed the handling of the exercise itself is a big distraction and a recipe for ungodly politicking.

PFN President

In the first place, the PFN president operates in a papal office. Nobody queries his decision. One would have thought he would follow in the steps of his predecessors identify one of the pastors in the state and make the person the PFN chairman after due consultation.

On the other hand, if he had wanted a free-for-all participation, he should not have tampered with the process. You can’t give a man goat and still hold onto the rope. That seems to be what he has done with the committee that was set up to usher a new chairman.

He put people on their toes and made consultations only to arrive at a result some feel was predetermined. While this may not be the case, it will be hard to fault the conclusion of people.

Read also: Apostle Jesulere, his Pentecostal Aluta, and the Lagos PFN: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/apostle-jesulere-his-pentecostal-aluta-and-the-lagos-pfn/

No need for drama

Many think Bishop Oke went too far in creating drama out of a seemingly innocuous process that would have been done without the eye of the public. All past chairmen in the Lagos PFN have been a consequence of consensus. But the politicking that went into the last election creates an impression that Bishop Oke was taking the fellowship on a bumpy ride.

The 11-member panel that conducted the first election was reduced to 8 and later expanded to 33. That was the number that produced the chairman in the election which was contested among Rev Kasali, Pastor Davids, and Rev Esosa. The result has been ratified and confirmed by Bishop Oke according to a statement issued on May 30 by the National PFN.

While Davids deserves to be congratulated and encouraged to take up the challenge of leading the Lagos PFN, there are indications that the election has left trails behind. One, there is now this feeling of mutual distrust among leaders of the fellowship.

The Vice President, Osa Oni, has already resigned from his position as PFN Vice President, South West.

He must have felt slighted by the action of Bishop Oke; who according to sources was a beneficiary of his support when he was to be appointed President of the National body of the fellowship.

The New Chairman

But then, there is work to do for the new chairman. He has the energy, being a young man. He also seems to be at home with the avant-gardist generation. It is only hoped that he will bring to bear this new energy for the good of Lagos Pentecostals.

 

By Gbenga Osinaike

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1 comment

Areogun Adeogun May 30, 2024 - 11:30 pm

While the idea of election is a great one that should be encouraged, it seemed the handling of the exercise itself is a big distraction and a recipe for ungodly politicking…All past chairmen in the Lagos PFN have been a consequence of consensus. But the politicking that went into the last election creates an impression that Bishop Oke was taking the fellowship on a bumpy ride…While Davids deserves to be congratulated and encouraged to take up the challenge of leading the Lagos PFN, there are indications that the election has left trails behind. One, there is now this feeling of mutual distrust among leaders of the fellowship.

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