Members of St Paul’s Millennium Anglican Church at Odo-Owa Ekiti in Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State yesterday disclosed plans to sue the Bishop of Ekiti West Anglican Diocese, Most Rev Oludare Oke, if he failed to restore the rank of the church’s vicar, Rev. Mike Ogunniyi.
Two members of the Provincial Church Council (PCC) told journalists in Ado-Ekiti yesterday that the church might be compelled to pull out of the Diocese if the rank of the vicar was not restored.
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The PCC members, who did not want their names mentioned, said the protest, which the church members embarked on following the bishop’s action would be a child’s play compared to their other plans if Rev. Ogunniyi’s rank was not restored.
Trouble started following the disbursement of the N5 million donated to the church by Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi for promoting evangelism. Governor Fayemi donated the money in January during the burial of the former primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Bishop Abiodun Adetiloye.
The Bishop was said to have given an order that the donation by Governor Fayemi should be kept in a special fixed account, saying it was an endowment fund and not a gift to the Odo-Owa church alone.
But some church members disagreed with the bishop when Rev Ogunniyi disclosed the bishop’s stance and insisted that the money would be used to purchase a new bus for evangelism and for the church’s renovation.
The church consequently bought a new bus for N3 million, spent N1 million on the renovation and kept the remaining N1 million.
The bishop, who was said to be irked by the action of the church, demoted Rev. Ogunniyi for alleged insubordination and indiscipline.
But church members, angered by the demotion of their vicar protested and sealed off the church to prevent service from holding.
The PCC members, who said the bishop was not willing to restore the vicar’s rank despite entreaties, lamented that the demotion of the vicar had damaging effect on the status of the church because the church would no longer be regarded as the seat of archdeaconry.
They said: “The governor announced the donation to St Paul Millennium Church in the presence of everybody during the burial of late Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye. Primate Nicholas Okoh and others were there, it was not done in the secret.
“The cheque was written in the name of St Paul’s Millennium Church and it was written at the back of the cheque that it was to be use for evangelism.
“The money was spent for the purpose for which it was meant and the bishop had no justification to demote the vicar.”