…Makes Startling revelations about how he was appointed
The factional Primate of the African Church elected by the Yorubas, Most Rev. Julius Olayinka Abbe, has called on fathers of the Church and others to rescue him from the grip of the Lay President, Babatunde Odufuwa.
A Yoruba source from the church disclosed that Abbe said he never intended to vie for the position of Primate but was pressurized and deceived into accepting the position, to fight against the authentic Primate, His Eminence Dr. Emmanuel Udofia.
“He revealed that he was asked to take up the position with a promise that the House, Car and money benefits Udofia rejected will be given to him soon as he his seated as Primate”, our source said.
“Abbe said that the week before he was appointed factional Primate, he was taken to the house of the Lay President, Odufuwa, in company of the former Lay President, Evang. Okunowo; Arch Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Most Rev. Oludotun Ogunseye, and other Bishops, and was forced to take an oath of allegiance, swearing that he will not betray them if elected.
He was also asked to sign a resignation letter which will be effected one year after his swearing-in. This is to ensure that he hands over power to the Yorubas”, our source explained.
Platinum.ng gathered that the factional Primate who was born and bred in Lagos much of his life, is indigenous to Edo state. The ploy behind sitting him as the Primate was to feign fairness to the non-yorubas and oust him after one year. This was the rationale behind the said resignation letter which Abbe was asked to sign in advance before he is appointed.
“He revealed that he was forced to contest the position of Primate and given a substance to drink, to validate his promise”, said our source.
Meanwhile, Ogunseye is said to have confirmed that he accompanied the factional Primate to Odufuwa’s house and witnessed the oath-taking and substance-drinking ceremony. “He said that the substance will not harm him, its just to make him keep his promise”, our source noted.
However, the factional Primate has called on concerned members of the Church to plead with Odufuwa, Ogunseye and others, to undo the oath he was administered so that he will be free. “He says he’s having some spiritual attack and his conscience is not at rest, adding that Udofia has done him no wrong”, our source said.
In a related development, the south-south brethren of the Church have expressed displeasure at the decision of the church to unseat Primate Udofia before his time.
Another source from the region who spoke with our reporter bitterly about the play-out of events said the factional members were not warring against Udofia for lack of knowledge of his tenure’s length : “but because he’s going to be the longest serving primate of the church, they are now coming up with this sentiment to unseat him. And they are not in terms with what he has done”.
“Before now, the Church was not known overseas. Since Emmanuel Udofia came on board, he ensured that African Church is known. He was the President of the World’s Council of Churches in West Africa, and President, Christian Council of Nigeria, which has never been recorded in the Church history”.
“Before now, the Lay officers were marrying more than one wife. But the Primate abolished these practices and stopped the act of idolatry and cultism among them (Ogboni cult).
He stopped them from personalizing church funds. The former Lay President, Okonowo embezzled N80m from the church and was asked to refund the money under Udofia’s regime which he is yet to fully refund. These and others are the grave offences and reasons the faction want him out of office”, he revealed.
“Before now, the Primate was in control of so many churches but in lieu of the escalating crisis, he has been confined to only one Arch-cathedral thus, reducing his power and responsibilities”.
“Some Bishops have been made to be more powerful than the Primate. They include the Bishop in Ibadan, Warri, Calabar and Uyo central dioceses who embark on episcopal visits weekly and organize diocesan activities which takes care of the Bishops’ welfare. But the Primate resides permanently in the cathedral. He goes no where and some of his responsibilities like the ordination of Ministers, elevation of Arch deacons, have been handed over to the Arch Bishops who are also Bishops in their respective dioceses”, he decried.
“So, the Arch-Bishops will be preferring cannons, ordaining Priests and making Deacons, while the Primate sits doing nothing. Meanwhile, the persons ordained have certain requirements which are given to the Arch Bishops during ordination. The Primate is therefore deprived of these benefits”.
“And most times, they do these things on their own without consulting the constitution and the Primate. They just take decisions and send circulars to the South-south and other dioceses because they believe that the south-south people are minority and their voices should not be heard”.
“The Primate has been so neglected that his office was leaking and he was using his private car long before he was given his official car after we (south-south) clamoured so much for it. The Primate has suffered victimization and starvation under their watch yet, he smiles as though all is well, and now, they don’t want him to complete his tenure. They want to ridicule him out of office”.
Our south-south source expressed further that “the issue of the Primate’s retirement age was exhaustively discussed in Ikot Ekpene, and subjected to a motion that the then drafted constitution should take effect after Udofia’s tenure in 2024. This was moved by Elder Dayo Sobambo, and seconded by Prince Debo Oduguwa.
The meeting was presided by Elder Wole Odusanya, former Lay President of The African church, with Chancellor, Wale Akoni, in attendance, in April 2014.
However, when they returned to Lagos, they expunged those who were present at the meeting from the minutes. This shows their level of selfish ambitions”.
“Meanwhile, Dioceses in south-south pays her dues at all times. Dioceses in South-south pays not less than N1m quarterly. These monies are invested in building of schools and a textile industry in the West but none has been erected in the south-south. Its always Lagos, Ibadan, Ekiti or Ogun state. Yet, the national is maltreating us”, our source lamented.
Platinum.ng had earlier reported that the African Church crisis started after the Church’s management in its 2018 meeting, issued a retirement notice to the Primate, urging him to vacant office in May, 2019.
The Primate, in his reply to the notice had said that his retirement will be due in 2023, adding that the present constitution of the church which was amended in his regime by the general committee/congress – the highest decision making body of the church – does not apply to him, and that the apex church congress had said that he is not bound by the amended constitution.
The Yoruba faction of the church then resorted to influencing some Bishops of the church, Arch Bishops and Parishioners within and outside the church with heavy bribes to support them in sending away the Primate, Dr. Emmanuel Udofia. When this did not work out, the Yoruba members went ahead to meet secretly, against the instruction of the sitting Primate, and appointed Abbe as their preferred Primate, stating that they cannot be led by the south-south whom they described as the majority ethnic group in The African Church.