The Senior Pastor of the Household of God International Ministries, Chris Okotie, on Sunday kicked against the Christian Association of Nigeria’s (CAN) proposed social distancing guidelines for churches.
Mr Okotie, who was the presidential candidate of Fresh Democratic Party, frowned at CAN’s decision to allow what he described as the ‘Idol of Coronavirus’ determine the scope of congregational worship in churches in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement he posted on his official Facebook page.
The cleric referenced a report published in the Sun Newspaper on Sunday wherein CAN unveiled guidelines for the reopening of churches in the first week of June.
He said, “Social distancing in the Church of Jesus Christ is tantamount to blasphemous infidelity and an impeachment of the integrity of the Word of God. Healing is fundamental to the redemptive work of Jesus.
“To allow the idol of Corona Virus to determine the scope of congregational worship in the house of God is an abomination of gargantuan proportions. No true minister of the gospel will succumb to such travesty of the faith. This is a summary of my objections.
“I have sent this message hoping that you would respond as one who bears the burden of the Cross of Jesus. I have restrained myself from making a public outcry of this desecration and profanation out of respect for you and the CAN hierarchy. But be assured that this position is transient.”
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Nigeria, a ban has been placed on social and religious gatherings in the country to curb the spread of the virus.
But some Nigerian pastors have challenged the directive.
A popular pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, recently berated his colleagues, (Nigerian pastors) that complied with the government’s ban on large gatherings because of coronavirus.
Mr Oyakhilome, who is the general overseer of Believers’ Love World, popularly known as Christ Embassy, said such leaders were not true Christians as they did not ask the government for time to pray and consult with their congregation.
The Christian Association of Nigeria recently expressed hope that the ban on religious gatherings in the country may be lifted by the first Sunday of June.
CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, a reverend, gave the indication in a statement.
Mr. Ayokunle said churches will disinfect their premises, as well as make provisions for alcohol sanitisers, among others.
He also suggested the use of face masks and adherence to other social distancing measures.
Uduaghan Dumps APC, Returns to PDP
Electoral College Appoints Rate Your Leader Founder, Joel Popoola As Member, Board of Directors
By Eric Elezuo
The Electoral College, Nigeria, has appointed the Founder, Rate Your Leader, Mr Joel Popoola, into its board of trustees as director to oversee International Mobilisation.
Popoola’s appointment was contained in two letters addressed to the technology entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner as well as the board members of the college and signed by its Executive Director, Mr Kunle Lawal.
The Electoral College observed that the democracy campaigner, who has made headlines in recent times with reference to his technological innovations and writeups has been a great ally of the college while expressing utmost happiness and pride to have him on the board of the College.
“We are sure the board would be proud with the impact he can bring,” Kunle Lawal noted.
While expressing the best wishes of the College, and acknowledging that Popoola’s appointment is with immediate effect, Mr Lawal added that the award winning techpreneur is ‘valued as an asset addition and most of all for his love for country (Nigeria).’
“I look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between us all and the expansion of the college,” Lawal stressed.
Responding to his appointment, Popoola noted that the reward for hard work is more work, stressing that the appointment is not just a recognition of his efforts, but an opportunity to do a lot more for humanity.
“I see the appointment to the board of Nigerian Electoral College as not just a recognition of efforts, but an opportunity to do a lot more to raise the bars of the Nigeria’s electoral system and serve humanity for the good,” he said.
It would be recalled that Mr. Popoola was earlier in the month welcomed on board of the UK Tech Nation Founders’ Network as a full fledged member.
Among many other honours trailing his humble contributions to the digitalization of democratic process around the world, he is an advance member of the Institute of Directors Great Britain & Northern Ireland, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Also appointed is Hakeem Condotti, a well seasoned entrepreneur and African player in business and diplomacy. He would serve as Director: External Relations.
Wike Locks Horns with Amaechi in War of Words at Justice Karibi-Whyte’s Funeral
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday engaged in a verbal fight at the burial of a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, in the Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
Amaechi, who is the Minister of Transportation, while speaking at the funeral service, lamented what he term the rising insecurity and political intimidation in the state, saying the state was back to the time of Ateke Tom, a former militant leader, who is now the traditional head of Okochiri town in Okrika LGA of the state.
“You have lost your voice. The sage (the late justice) has gone under and nobody is speaking. When I was governor, I gave people voices, but they have blocked those voices.
“Everyone is scared. We are going back to when Ateke held sway. We are going back to the period where we run away from our people. We are back to a period when nobody could speak. But from next year, I will begin to speak, if nobody wants to speak.
“We are all here because we need to bury a man God has blessed. I have stopped travelling because of bad weather, but I told myself I must be here because of Justice Whyte.
“If you knew Justice (Karibi-Whyte) very well, you will know I was close to him. I was one of the few people he mentored,” Amaechi stated.
Wike on his part described the late Karibi-Whyte as an epitome of unshakable integrity, civility and dignity, but noted that comments credited to Amaechi were embarrassing.
Responding to Amaechi, Wike who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Emeka Woke, said the minister had lost touch with developments in the state, adding that since the launching of Operation Sting by his administration, the security situation had improved greatly.
Wike said, “It is unfortunate for Amaechi to come to Kalabari land and accuse former President Goodluck Jonathan of not developing the area six years after he had left office.
“I wonder why the former governor will choose to make such embarrassing remarks at the funeral of late Justice Karibi-Whyte, a man he (Amaechi) claimed to be his mentor.”