Buhari sacks FRCN boss blamed for Adeboye’s exit as GO
‘Controversial law was a proxy war to fight cleric’
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday fired the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), Mr. Jim Obazee and ordered the reconstitution of the council.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said this in a statement. The sacking came two days after Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) stepped down as the General Overseer (GO) of the church in Nigeria based on a law by the FRCN.
The government’s position which shows a lack of confidence in the FRCN led by Obazee may see to the return of Adeboye as the GO . It may also remove the pressure to quit on other leaders of churches who are 70 years above or have spent over 20 years as heads of their ministries.
The statement by Shehu reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate removal and replacement of the Executive Secretary and the reconstitution of the board of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.
“He has appointed a new Chairman and a Executive Secretary for the council. The new Council as approved by the President has Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman as Chairman. Sulaiman is a former Managing Partner/Director of Arthur Anderson and later, Accenture. He is a Chartered Accountant and a product of the University of Lagos and Harvard Business School.”
According to the statement: “The President has also approved the appointment of Mr. Daniel Asapokhai as the Executive Secretary of the Council. Mr. Asopokhai is a partner and a Financial Reporting Specialist at the PricewaterHouseCoopers, Nigeria.
“Buhari has also instructed the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment to invite the 19 ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government and private sector organisations specified in the FRC Act to nominate members of the board of the council.”
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, it was learnt at the weekend, had written to the erstwhile FRCN boss, directing him to suspend the implementation of the controversial regulation in the wake of the controversies arising from Pastor Adeboye’s announcement of a new leadership for the church in Nigeria.
It was further learnt that though the minister’s letter to the FRCN boss was written on October 17, 2016, the council had insisted on the resignation of heads of other affected groups.
But sources said Obazee had defied the instruction of the minister, insisting that the implementation of the regulation would go ahead. According to him, the implementation of the regulation could not be suspended because there was no gazette that indicated that it had been amended or suspended.
Tracing the source of Obazee’s insistence on going ahead with the FRCN law, a source in the church, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, yesterday told The Guardian that the controversial law was “an expression of grief by a man who became aggrieved with his pastor and general overseer.
“The said man was a pastor with the RCCG but became envious of the power wielded by the general overseer. His grouse was that the church rules compelled pastors to step down when they attained the age of 70, but Daddy GO, as he is fondly called, refused to do so in 2012 and had since vowed to ensure that he used all means possible to make Adeboye to retire.”
The source further stated that all attempts to pacify him and the interests he was fronting for in the church were rebuffed when he refused to honour the invitation of the general overseer. “As a pastor himself, he carried it too far by insulting the integrity of the G.O. four years ago. That was when his status was reviewed and he got suspended from the church,” the source added.
Also, following the clarifications made by the RCCG on the new appointments within its fold which announced Pastor Joseph Obayemi as the National Overseer for Nigeria, the head pastor of the church in Lekki, Phase 1 parish and prominent human rights lawyer, Pastor Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has urged the church to adhere to its constitution on succession.
Likening the situation to unfolding events in The Gambia where elections were recently held and the incumbent president, Yahya Jammeh, conceded defeat and congratulated the winner before recanting and throwing the West African country into crisis, Adegboruwa said the church’s position was not only flouting its own constitution but the regulations of the FRCN.
According to him, the half-hearted attempt to play by the rules would only lead to more crises for the church and other Christian leaders.Also reacting to the development, former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has condemned government’s interference with the activities of churches through the FRCN’s law .
The law, which Adeboye cited as reasons for the restructuring, allows specifically limited tenure for general overseers to 20 years or 70 years of age.According to Fani-Kayode, the FRCN law is an attack on Nigerian churches. On his Twitter handle @realFFK, he asked what business the FG has with churches.