As at now, one of Nigeria’s long-standing churches, the Assemblies of God Church is currently brewing in crisis. According to feelers reaching us, members of the top hierarchy of the church are pointing accusing fingers on the dismissed superintendent of the church, Rev. Paul Emeka for gross misconduct and financial misappropriation. Presently, the church Council of Elders and board have called on the EFCC to step into the case as they plan to unravel the whereabouts of a whopping N200 million from the account of the church allegedly in the care of Rev. Emeka. But, the embattled GS vehemently denied this accusation saying “These are all lies. They wrote a petition against me to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate me. The EFCC officials came and found me innocent. I have not stolen or misapplied any money belonging to the church. All their allegations are empty. They made all these accusations of embezzlement because they wanted to soil my image – because they wanted to take over the structure of the church. How can one man who does not have the principal mandate in a corporate organisation single-handedly take N200 million when there are other signatories to the account? When the EFCC officials came around to investigate their petition, the treasurer was asked if one person can sign a cheque, he kept quiet, he couldn’t answer them. The EFCC had to go back because there was nothing to the petition written against me; it’s all lies.” [showads ad=GLO]
According to him, having realized that the N200 million allegations did not work out, the board decided to remove him from his seat on the grounds that he is very stubborn, egocentric and not submissive. However, in a twist, Rev. Emeka in an explosive interview recently granted to the media insisted that he remains the anchorman of the church and that he has not received any formal letter of dismissal from the church’s elders. When contacted on this, Rev. Emeka said, “This allegation of theirs is very funny. [showads ad=GLO]There is no place in the constitution that if a man is stubborn you suspend him. I do not know what they mean that I am stubborn and egocentric. In everything I do, I carry them along. There is no reason for me to act alone since I represent the church. This is a frivolous accusation. Perhaps, all the problems started when I insisted that certain things that were not being handled properly in the church should be re-addressed. For instance, the Assembly press which has been run for many years does not have an account. I insisted there must be proper rendering of account. Another thing is that some money belonging to the church was being put in some private bank accounts and I made it known that things like this cannot continue in the church. There is a group of individuals in the church who feel they can transfer church money into their private bank accounts. I spoke out against these ones and they raised their eyebrows at my objection to their putting church money in a personal bank account.”
While lamenting his ordeal in the hands of the board of the church, Rev. Emeka said he had once accepted reconciliation with them but they rejected it. He said they seemed bent on creating division in the church. According to him, all efforts to reconcile everyone failed because there are those who are not interested in maintaining the peace and oneness of the church. He also stressed that he tried his best to ensure that there was reconciliation but to no avail. Powerful politicians like a former governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Sam Egwu and even the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) have all been brought in to settle this matter but all to no avail. Information reaching Global News affirmed that the church board gave Rev. Emeka the condition of withdrawing all the lawsuits he filed against them aftermath of his dismissal for them to have reconciliation. The church wrote to him through the general secretary. But in a quick response to this, Rev. Emeka said “I had to institute a lawsuit against them when they threatened to throw my property away from the church. Then I told them if I am to withdraw the lawsuit, [showads ad=GLO]first of all remove the suspension you placed on me. They committed coup in the church and they are happy. There is one of them called Chidi Okoroafor who behaves like a military commander in the Assemblies of God – they don’t want peace at all. They even acted against a court injunction not to conduct a meeting of the general council; they convened an illegal meeting to excommunicate me and elect another general superintendent.”
Additional information we garnered attests that one of the church elders Rev. Amaowoh accused Rev. Emeka of using the title of a professor in the church and the elders felt this move is an embarrassment to the church. Although, when asked whether he is a real professor, Rev. Emeka said he is indeed a professor of theology and that the fact of the matter is that they are running their branch and their own structure the way they felt is suitable to their style and he is doing this also in his own way.
The church, however, is still entangled in the physical and spiritual hullabaloo. While the board and the elders of the church are insisting on the removal of Rev. Emeka, he is also adamant, insisting that he remains the authentic numero unoof the church and that no one can remove him as the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God’s Church. He also concluded by saying he was ready to have a dialogue with the church elders and board and that he cannot preside over a divided house. Trust your ever inquisitive Global News Magazine, we shall be unraveling further details of this ‘holy battle’ as events unfold.