Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The lingering leadership crisis rocking the Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria may have been “technically resolved” following the recognition of Rev. Chidi Okoroafor as the church’s authentic General Superintendent by the World Assemblies of God Fellowship (WAGF) led by its global leader, Rev. George Wood.
Though, another claimant to the position, Prof. Paul Emeka on Saturday dismissed the recognition as ‘irrelevant’.
The General Secretary of the church, Dr. Godwin Amaowoh whose election and that of Dr. Vincent Alaje, General Treasurer were also recognised during the team’s visit to the headquarters of the Assemblies of God, USA in Springfield, Missouri, United States said in a statement that with the latest development, the crisis in the church had been “technically resolved”.
According to him, the World Assemblies of God Fellowship is the highest fellowship body of the Assemblies of God in the world. The Assemblies of God has grown to over 67 million members worldwide and is the largest Pentecostal Fellowship in the world. There are currently more than 150 Fellowships that are members of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.
“Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor and other executive officers were received by Rev. George O. Wood, who doubles as the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, United States of America and the President, World Assemblies of God Fellowship. Rev. George Wood during the interactive meeting with the Assemblies of God Nigeria leaders, formally admitted Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor as the new General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Nigeria into the World Assemblies of God Fellowship (WAGF).
What Pope is to the Catholic is what Rev George O. Wood is to Assemblies of God World-wide,” he noted.
In a letter dated April 14, 2014 on the official letter head paper of WAGF, Rev. Wood wrote, “Dear Rev. Dr. Okoroaofor: Upon receiving word of your election at the General Council of Assemblies of God Nigeria on October 29, 2014, I wanted to extend to you my heartfelt congratulations! As the new superintendent, we welcome you to the Assemblies of God World Fellowship (WAGF). We trust you will sense the support and encouragement of your fellow Assemblies of God general superintendents throughout the world.”
He noted that the implication of the endorsement is that “both the Assemblies of God United States and the WAGF had ceased to recognise Rev. Paul Emeka as the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria following the upholding of his dismissal and excommunication by the African Assemblies of God Alliance (AAGA) in August, 2014 during the World Congress/USA Centennial Celebration in Springfield, Missouri, USA and also the report of US Missionaries like Rev. Gregory Lance Beggs, Rev. Patrick Dean Hurst, Rev. Scott Robert Erickson and Bonnie Louise Erickson that visited Nigeria recently to find out the truth of the matter.
“This led to the immediate removal of Rev. Paul Emeka as the Vice President of the African Assemblies of God Alliance (AAGA) and the conduct of by-election for his immediate replacement. He was replaced by the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God Tanzania, Rev. Dr. Barnabas Mtokambali. The African Assemblies of God Alliance (AAGA) is the continental counterpart of (WAGF).
“Assemblies of God world-wide are known for discipline and they uphold it in all they do. Nobody is higher than the institution including the highest office holders in the organisation. Assemblies of God respect and uphold its Constitution in all its internal matters. That is the striking difference between it and other religious denominations,” he noted.
Amaowoh further noted that though the WAGF cannot impose any General Superintendent on any national church, it had the right to recognise and cooperate with the leadership of any nation that is constituted legitimately.
“In October 2014, over 7,000 Assemblies of God Ordained Ministers and Deacons from all the Districts in the General Council of Nigeria came and elected Dr. Chidi Okoroafor as the General Superintendent of the Church. In the same General Council meeting, other officers that form the Executive Committee were equally elected, all these are documented in a DVD and the leaders of the WAGF were given a copy as our custom is, hence their decision to recognise Dr. Chidi Okoroafor as the legitimate General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Nigeria.
“We never requested to meet with the WAGF leaders; it was the leaders of the WAGF who wrote informing us of their intention to meet with the four officers at our International Headquarters in Springfield Missouri, United States. On arrival in Springfield, we were shocked at the reception the WAGF leaders gave to us; it was in the meeting that they were given the letter of recognition.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Emeka who briefed newsmen in Enugu said it was not possible for WAGF to endorse Chidi Okoroafor as GS because it was not the purpose of establishing the world body.
Emeka said he initially regarded the noise about the endorsement of Okoroafor by the WAGF as GS of the Assemblies of God Nigeria as a trivial propaganda not deserving any attention, but he decided to change his approach and speak about it because of the uninformed masses that they may intend to deceive.
According to him, the body is merely a fellowship of the Assemblies of God leaders of the participating nations.
“Article III of its constitution and by-laws states thus: The nature of this fellowship is a cooperative body of worldwide Assemblies of God and related national councils and churches of equal standing. It is not a legislating organ to any national entity, rather a coalition of commitment for the global furtherance of the Gospel and the kingdom of God as a service agent.”