Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose
  • Jonathan did not sign FRCN law, says Reno House to deliberate on FRC’s powers to regulate religious bodies

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the sack of the Executive Secretary of the Financial Regulatory Council (FRC), Mr. Jim Obazee, in connection with the implementation of the controversial Corporate Governance Code 2016 as an afterthought and cover-up to stem the tide of negative public reactions to the implementation of the controversial law that stripped the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye and others of their positions.

In statement issued in Ado Ekiti yesterday and signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said: “When they realised the implication of their action on President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 ambition, especially the personality like Adeboye that is involved, they quickly sacked an innocent man who must have acted on instruction.’’

Fayose added: “Obviously, their attention is more on 2019, not on justice and any love for the sustenance of Christianity in Nigeria. Mind you, they have only suspended the implementation of the regulation, they did not abrogate it. It is obvious that they have an agenda. And if you look at the president’s pattern of life, he is a sectional leader, whose appointments reflect sectionalism and nepotism.”

He said it was funny that a president that is over 70 years would be the one to implement a regulation limiting the age of General Overseer (GO) of Churches to 70 years, asking “if men of God like Adeboye, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi, Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and others cannot be GO of their church beyond 70 years of age, how do we now justify a man like President Buhari who is over 74 and still willing to be president beyond 2019 that he will be 77?”

Fayose, who described those defending President Buhari by claiming that the law was made when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was president as hypocrites, asked: “Even if the law was made before President Buhari assumed office, who is to blame for its implementation? Could President Buhari have implemented a law he does not believe in and could the sacked FRC boss that they have now used as the sacrificial lamb have implemented the law without the consent of the presidency?”

He questioned the speed at which the president reacted with sacking the FRC boss, asking; “Why was there no such swiftness in his action on Southern Kaduna killings where a race was almost wiped out, with people killed like goats? Why didn’t the president react swiftly to the Senate indictment of the EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu?
The governor further added: “Obviously, it was an afterthought, which was aimed at dousing the negative outcry that greeted the action by using the sacked FRC boss as the fall-guy.

“This has further made it very clear and evident that Buhari is not a leader, he is ruler. He is a religious apologist that believes that he must silence anybody that does not believe in his line of thought either politically or religious wise.

“Sadly, all those things that we have forgotten and never thought will happen again in this country are now happening. The country is now badly divided more than ever before.

“Nigerians have been able to read through President Buhari in this short time to realise that all he is doing now is to destroy this country like he did in 1984, but God will not allow him.’’

Meanwhile, the former Special Adviser to ex-President Jonathan on Electronic Media, Reno Omokri, has denied claims making the rounds that former president signed the FRC law that forced Adeboye to announce his retirement.

He equally condemned the call by the Council of Imams and Ulamas that President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle, Senator representing Southern Kaduna senatorial sone, Senator Danjuma La’ah and the President of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, SOKAPU, Dr. Musa Solomon, among others, be arrested for what it said were their inflammatory comments over Southern Kaduna killings.

However, as the controversy on whether the FRC has powers to regulate tenure regulation of commercial entities and profit organisations lingers, the House of Representatives is set to deliberate on the powers of the agency to regulate religious bodies under the “not-for-profit” category.
The issue, raised as a matter of urgent importance by the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, is scheduled for debate today, in line with House rules which stipulates that any matter of urgent public importance would be debated on the next legislative day.

The agency ousted boss, Mr. Jim Obazee had enforced the controversial governance code which set 20 year tenure limit for heads of not-for-profit organisations, which include religious bodies.
The enforcement might have led to the resignation of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Enoch Adeboye, as head of the church last weekend.
Ogor, speaking at plenary yesterday, said the regulation was a pure creation of the agency and not the National Assembly.

Section 50 of the FRC Act 2011 provides the agency with powers to set guidelines for commercial entities and not-for-profit organisations.

Ogor however, noted that the FRC hadgone beyond its mandate.
He noted that the outrage which greeted the enforcement of the regulation, has caused an embarrassment.