An ordained priest of the African Church, Rev. Richard Peters, has condemned the “illegal and unconstitutional” imposition of a new Primate on the Church by the Yoruba-speaking Bishops, against the provisions of the constitution and wish of the members.
Speaking to our reporter on Wednesday, May 1, the priest said that there was no need electing a new Primate as the tenure of the present constitutionally elected Primate, His Eminence, Dr Emmanuel Udofia was yet to elapse.
According to Mr. Peters, “the African Church has a constitution specifying the powers, duties and specification of offices accepted by all and was amended the 5th time on 17th May 2014”.
“Chapter V, Part 2A, s/n 12.1 of the Constitution, states that the General conference, is “The highest and supreme organ in and for the church”.
“On the 23rd of April, 2014, during the African Church’s 113th Annual General Conference at Abeokuta Diocese, the Meeting approved and accepted that the qualifying age for the Primate is 50years and Archbishop, 45 years. They are to serve for 10 years or retire at the age of 60 (whichever comes first). However, the incumbent Primate Emmanuel Udofia will retire at the age of 65years as provided in the current constitution before this amendment”.
The Priest averred that the plots by the Yorubas to forcefully unseat the incumbent Primate and install their choice Primate was unconstitutional and would be totally rejected by the Church members.
“Moreover, Chapter 5, Part 2, s/n 12.4,13.3, 14.2, 15.2, 18.2, 20.1, of the African Church constitution also states that the Primate who is the head of the church is the chairman of all the meetings and shall also be responsible for convening some specific meetings including the one they sat to elect the factional primate”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Primate, our reporter gathered, had issued a circular to all Dioceses and Provinces, suspending all meetings including the General Conference, General Committee, College of Bishops, Primate Advisory Board and Management meetings following the controversies surrounding the retirement matter, pending when it would be resolved. “But instead of adhering to the sanction, the College of Bishops and Executives went ahead to convene a meeting and elected their choice Primate, just to cause tension and ridicule the current Primate, Dr. Udofia” Rev. Peters said.
“This further confirms that the purported Yoruba factional primate is nothing but an unconstitutional, illegal and unholy alliance. Therefore, members of the church and the general public should disregard such unholy, unconstitutional, illegal and sacrilegious show of shame carried out by the Yoruba Bishops, Archbishops and lay officers” he advised.
He maintained that the sitting Primate was the authentic head of the Church and would remain so up until 2024.
“His Eminence, Dr. Emmanuel Udofia remains the current and authentic Primate of The African Church till 2024, as provided by the 2014 constitution of the African church (as amended), he is very sound and has not been found wanting in his duty since assumption of office as Primate of the African Church as such: there is no need of electing another Primate and imposing same on members of the Church”, the Priest concluded.