The decision of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide to step aside from overseeing the affairs of the church in Nigeria was as a result of a code in the Financial Regulation Council rules.
The FRC was established by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act, No. 6, 2011.
It is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The Council is responsible for, among others, developing and publishing accounting and financial reporting standards to be observed in the preparation of financial statements of public entities in Nigeria and for related matters.
One of the rules stipulates a maximum period of 20 years for the heads of all registered churches, mosques and civil society organisations.
The Governance Code 2016 of the Act encompasses three sectors: the private, the public and not-for-profit.
It is the not-for-profit sector, sometimes referred to as the Benevolent Sector, the Third Sector or the Civil Society Sector, that religious bodies fall under.
This is covered by section 9.
Section 9.1. states: The Founder or Leader of a NFPO occupies a special position in the Organisation and is committed to the success and longevity of the NFPO. Accordingly, a Founder or Leader should not take on too many responsibilities in the organisation or have an indefinite term in the running of the organisation.
9.2. Where for any reason, a Founder or Leader of NFPO also occupies any of the three governance positions of Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees, the Governing Board or Council, and the Headship of the Executive Management (or their governance equivalents), the following provisions shall apply before the end of the organisation’s financial year in which this Code takes effect.
9.2.1. The Founder or Leader shall cease to occupy these three governance positions simultaneously. This is to ensure the separation of powers and avoid possible concentration of powers in one individual.
9.2.2. The Founder or Leader may, however, choose – subject to the agreement of the organisation’s apex authority as expressed in the Annual General Assembly, Annual Meeting, Annual Stakeholder Engagement, Annual Conference, Annual Synod, Annual Fellowship Assembly or their equivalents – only one of these three governance positions subject to his current tenure. This is to ensure a clear division of responsibilities at the head of the organisation between the running of the governing body and the executive responsibility for the management and fulfilment of the organisation’s mission.
9.3. Where the Founder or Leader has occupied all or any of these three governance positions for more than twenty years, or is aged seventy years or above, the choice in Section 9.2.2 above should only relate to the Board of Trustees as in section 9.4(c) below, except the constitution of the organisation otherwise provides. In the case of religious or cultural organisations, nothing in this code is intended to change the spiritual leadership and responsibilities of Founders, General Overseers, Pastors, Imams and Muslim Clerics, Presidents, Bishops, Apostles, Prophets, etc. which are distinguishable from purely corporate governance and management responsibilities and accountabilities of the entities.
9.4. Conflicts with Founders or Leaders should therefore be addressed by: (a) recognising and respecting past achievements and strategy of the Founder or Leader with assurances that change has become inevitable to enable his dream live on; (b) making provisions if not already in existence, or drawing the Founder’s or Leader’s attention to the maximum tenure already stipulated by the Charter and imploring the Founder or Leader to respect it; (c) considering and ensuring Founder’s or Leader’s continued advisory or spiritual role by creating a Board of Trustees (BOT) for which the original Founder or Leader can become the First or Life Chair; and (d) elevating deserving and senior members of the organisation to the Board of Trustees.
Adeboye alluded to this when he spoke at the Annual Thanksgiving of the church at Redemption Camp on Saturday.
He said the “new law that has been announced, they said that nobody can be overseer for more than a certain number of years.
“And according to that law, people like me, Bishop David Oyedepo, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, we are already gone.”
Apart from Oyedepo of Living Faith Church, Kumuyi of Deeper Life Bible Church and Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, other leaders to be affected by the law are Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of the Word of Life Bible Church, Rev. Chris Okotie of the Household of God, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Believers’ LoveWord International, Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Centre, Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly and Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rocks.
They have spent between 21 and 43 years as the head of their respective churches.
While Adeyemi founded DCC a little over 21 years ago, Kumuyi has been at the helm of affairs at DLBC for 43 years.
Olukoya has put in 22 years as the General Overseer of MFM, Okonkwo 35 years, Oritsejafor 29 years, Okotie same as Oritsejafor, Ashimolowo 24 years, Oyedepo 35 years, Oyakhilome 26 years, Bakare 27 years and Adefarasin 22 years.
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