Before now, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, who has just been announced the National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria thus succeeding Rev Felix Omobude who just completed his term was the deputy National President of the fellowship.
His emergence as the president at the ongoing 16 biennial conference of the PFN holding at Grace Cathedral, Enugu did not come as a surprise to many.
Being the Deputy National President, it is taken for granted that he would step into the post of president.
But that is not usually the case in the PFN. Some of those who had been deputy national president in the past never became the president of the fellowship.
For instance, Rev Mrs. Mercy Ezekiel of the Christian Pentecostal Ministry was deputy National President to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor but she was not elected president of the body.
Nobody knows the criteria used in arriving at who leads the PFN at the national level.
But a top PFN official told our correspondent that usually, the National Advisory Council which consists of Past Presidents of the PFN and some founding fathers decides who becomes the president of the body.
The council members are expected according to the source to have prayed and waited on God who now leads them to decide on who becomes the president.
There are no clear-cut criteria but the person who becomes the president would have been somebody who has charisma and who is a rallying figure among Pentecostals.
There is no indication if the position is zoned or rotated among the geopolitical zones.
But, usually, the NAC after waiting on God would decide who leads the body.
The source told our correspondent that members of the NAC have the ultimate power to determine who becomes president of the fellowship.
“Their decision is only passed to the National Executive Council and then passed to all member churches of the PFN.”
The pastor disclosed that nobody campaigns to become anything adding however that there may be subtle moves by some pastors to get the attention and approval of the NAC.
In the case of Bishop Wale Oke who is the President of Sword of the Spirit Ministries and founding Bishop of Christ Life Church, it was almost certain he would be the president.
“He has been around for a while. In fact, we thought he ought to have been the president after Pastor Orisejafor but then, for him to getting there now is a welcome development.” Said the source.
Some of those who spoke with our correspondent said Wale Oke will bring some panache to the fellowship.
“He will use his clout as a pastor in the south west to get support from some influential general overseers and take the PFN to a newer level,” a source said.
Bishop Oke is the 7th President of the PFN. The first President of the fellowship was Rev James Boyejo from Foursquare Church in Nigeria, was followed by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Archbishop Benson Idahosa of the Church of God Mission followed and then Founder of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, Bishop Mike Okonkwo.
Founder Word of Life Bible Church, Pastor Ayo Orisejafor, and lately Dr. Felix Omobude were the last two presidents of the fellowship.
Bishop Wale Oke: His testimony
Bishop Wale Oke once wrote this on his Facebook wall:
On the 17th of May 1982, the day I completed my final examination as an engineering student of the University of Lagos, and submitted my thesis, I returned to my room, 422 Makama Bida Hall, to give thanks for seeing me through my university education.
After giving thanks, I was still on my knee meditating in my scripture portion for the day when word of the Lord literally jumped out at me.
By now I am very familiar with God speaking to me clearly from the pages of His word.
“Lovest thou me more than these? Feed my lambs….
Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep.
I knew what the Lord was asking for.
Corporate organizations had come to our department to recruit surveyors for their services with mouth-watering offers.
I must now turn the offers down because I love Him more than these. The Lord reminded me of my July 1977 commitment ( to enter His call full time on completion of my University education) in a cocoa farm in one remote of Ile Ife village and told me the time had come to yield to the call.
By this time I had been serving as a lay preacher in my home fellowship, CAET in Ibadan; I had been serving as a Bible Study leader under Pastor Adeboye in His Christ Redeemers Ministry; I had served as the Bible Study secretary of Lagos Varsity Christian Union, the largest campus fellowship of about one thousand students for one year, and its President for two and a half year.
Now the Chief Shepherd had come to draft me into His service 24/7 for the rest of my life. I struggled. I cried. I stood on my feet and paced up and down the room. It was a Monday and my room-mate was still in the examination hall.
I cried out to the Lord and laid my entire life on His altar, for whatever He chose to make out of it.
It was my turning point, and this was my covenant with my Lord Jesus.
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