Federal Government has released a law which will force General Overseers of churches to retire.
A wave of retirement is impending for several prominent general overseers of popular churches in Nigeria.
This is as a 2015 law began taking effect from October 2016.
On Friday, January 7, 2017, popular pastor and General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye retired as GO.
Investigations later revealed that Pastor Adeboye retired in accordance with the provisions of an extant law guiding the tenure of Non-For-Profit Organisations (NFPOs).
The law tagged the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of Nigeria, Code of Corporate Governance, took effect from Monday, October 17, 2016.
The aspect of the law compelling more likely General Overseers Retirement is the Non-For-Profit Organisations (NFPOs) Governance Code, 2015, which Pastor Adeboye complied with.
The law seeks to promote the highest standards of corporate governance among Non-For-Profit Organizations in the country.
The following are stated in Section 9, which deals with “Position of the Founder or Leader”:
“9.1. 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 organization or have an indefinite term in the running of the organization.
“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 organization’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.
“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 organization’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 organization between the running of the governing body and the executive responsibility for the management and fulfilment of the organization’s mission.
“9.3. Where the Founder or Leader has occupied all or any of these three governance positions for more than ten 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.
“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”
According to records, only 89 out of the 23, 216 registered churches in the country have complied as at last year.
Section 39 of the Code deals with “Sanctions“39.1. Compliance with the provisions of this Code is mandatory. Accordingly, violations of the provisions of this Code will occasion both personal sanctions against the persons directly involved in the violation, and sanctions against the NFPOs involved in such violation.
“39.2. Where sanctions have been imposed on any NFPO or person for the violation of this Code, the NFPO is precluded from making any reimbursements to that person for the sanctions.”
Some pastors, lawyers and workers of some pentecostal churches in the country, in 2016, had instituted a suit against the FRC, regarding plans to effectuate the “Not-for-Profit Code 2015”.
General Overseers Retirement: Oyedepo, Kumuyi, Others To Quit
They were pressing for the enforcement of Order II of the Fundamental Right Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, and Articles 8 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Right.
They also claimed that the “enforcement of the Code amounts to quasi-duplication of the work of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, which is saddled with the responsibility of registration and monitoring of compliance of charitable organizations/groups.
That “the term of reference being muted and promoted by the second and third respondents i.e. term of reference in section 1.1 of the 2015 Code as well as 8-40, specifically, sections 8,9,10 and 37 of the code are illegal and unconstitutional being inconsistent with section 7 and 8 of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act Cap F42, Law of Federation, 2011 setting up the third respondent among others”.
Going by these new revelations, other General Overseers likely to retire anytime soon include leaders of prominent pentecostal churches in the country, who have either served 10 years at the helm of affairs of their organizations or are above 70 years.
Some of them may include the Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith World Outreach, David Oyedepo; Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM); Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of the Word of Life Bible Church, Warri; Pastor W. F. Kumuyi of Deeper Life Bible Church and Pastor D.K. Olukoya of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries.