Leadership Crisis Rocks African Church
Uyo – The 118-year-old African Church may be heading for the rocks as some provinces have threatened to secede if the current primate of the church is not allowed to complete his tenure.
Meanwhile, the Calabar and Rivers provinces have issued a breakaway threat to the arch cathedral of the church in Lagos, if the Western provinces of the church continued with the harassment of Dr. Emmanuel Udofia, the current Primate,
Daily Independent gathers that Udofia is currently being threatened with sack if he fails to vacate office as primate by May this year when he shall have turned 60 years.
Udofia who was warmly received in a very colourful ceremony at St Stephen’s Cathedral of the church in Uyo on Saturday, our correspondent gathered had been told by the laity and clergy of the two provinces made up of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Delta states, to temporarily relocate to Uyo until the crisis is over, especially with the alleged threats to his life and that of his family by some parishioners of the church in Lagos.
The vice lay president of Warrie Diocese, Mr Ezekiel Okorode,who spoke at Dr Udofia’s reception in Uyo, said the indignities to which the Western Provinces of the church had subjected the primate were in a way, bringing victory to Calabar and Rivers provinces.
His words “Today is a day of victory for our provinces. We have taken a step that will not be easy to reverse. We have told those bishops from the West to go back to their people. They don’t like us and so we can’t like them. The Western provinces must retrace their steps and apologize else it is backward never; forward ever,”
Okorode flayed that if Udofia, the only primate of African Church who is a non-yoruba in the 118-year life of the church could be humiliated by the Western provinces, then there was no basis for their continuous pretence to be together.
Another speaker, Justice Ezekiel Enang, who is legal adviser of Calabar Province said the two provinces would stand by the General Council’s decision of the church that the current primate should retire at 65 years after which the new rule of retirement at 60 would take effect.
Also speaking, the.medical adviser of the Calabar Diocese, Dr Nathaniel Adiakpan, expressed gratitude to God for preserving the life of the primate to return home alive, saying that was the most important thing.
“Injustice is what is playing out in African Church today. The same people who bombarded us with calls to help them attain certain positions in the church only a few years ago are now the ones causing disunity.
” If Dr Udofia doesn’t enjoy the support of African Church Worldwide, no other primate will enjoy our support,” he said
On his part, the embattled primate, Dr Udofia said he had not relocated to Uyo, because he still considered himself the Primate of African Church Worldwide, as such he would go the arch cathedral anytime he feels like.
Udofia stressed that it was necessary to pray for God’s intervention in the crisis as he would not want his tenure to be credited with infamous history of the beginning of fragmentation of the hitherto unified African Church.
His words “I don’t want the Yorubas living with us to leave in tears. They are not the cause of my leaving Lagos. I’m still the primate of African Church for now because we have decided to seek peace. We want everyone to pray for the church.
“If we allow this to happen, it will affect the entire church. As a church, we would have been better than this but for the unnecessary obstacles we bring upon ourselves.”
Udofia, who anchored his message on the Romans 8: 28-39, concluded that “all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord”.