The General Overseer of Christ Living spring Apostolic Ministry, (CLAM), Pastor Wole Oladiyun has joined the fray of the prominent Nigerian preachers who have stoutly condemned the Companies & Allied Matters Act (CAMA) that was recently passed into law by the Nigerian government.
Pastor Oladiyun in his statement on the social media commended the outspokenness of the President and Founder of the Living Faith Ministries (a.k.a Winners Chapel), Bishop David Oyedepo and other prominent Nigerian preachers against the controversial act, particularly the areas where the new government act concerns religious organizations in the country, including churches in Nigeria.
In his statement he titled, “The Application of CAMA in Churches: My Humble Submission,” Pastor Wole Oladiyun said it was now a common knowledge that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had finally signed into law the application of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) in religious and charity organizations, of which the cleric said the Church is a prominent actor.
He noted that the law provides among others that the government can through the Corporate Affairs Commission (C.AC), “suspend the trustees of the association (the church) and appoints an interim manager or managers to coordinate its affairs where it reasonably believes that there has been any misconduct or mismanagement, or where the affairs of the association (the church) are being run fraudulently, or where it is necessary or desirable for the purpose of public interest “(emphasis mine). In carrying out the responsibility, the law mandates its operators to also freeze the account of a church, whenever it deems it fit.
“The outright rejection of this law on Sunday by Bishop David Oyedepo of the Winners Chapel has triggered an upsurge of critical reactions from a cross section of the Nigerian Christian community. The social media especially has been awash with comments bothering on Bishop Oyedepo’s courage and outspokenness vis-a-vis the “silence” of the other Pentecostal fathers. Others argued that the Church is waking up too late as the controversial act is already a law. Many others, including yours sincerely, opined that no matter how hard they try, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church! While these and many other submissions are good. I believe (although I am not a lawyer), that a proper, “common sense” evaluation of this law within the context of the fundamental principles underpinning the existence of the Church as the Body of Christ on earth will reveal why this law, in all its intents and purposes, is an Anti-Christ move, which should be resisted not only prayerfully but also using all possible legal means available to us as legitimate citizens of this country,” the cleric fumed.
Oladiyun submitted that at the risk of being branded fanatical “the church is the sole target of the law.” He explains: “The umbrella term” religious and charitable organizations” as contained in the law is only a ploy to generalize what is obviously a targeted witch hunt! Ask me why, and I’ll ask you to find out which of “the religious and charitable organizations” is more active in the economy! The Church is a spiritual entity that should be managed with the principles of the Holy Bible which we Christians believe to be infallible and in editable. One of such principles is the need for whoever manages the affairs of the Church to be born again. No human legislation on earth can change this! For the government to now be the one to appoint whoever it deems fit to manage the affairs of a church is a flagrant disregard to the Bible and constitutes “strange fire”!
On the issue of running the affairs of the Church against the “purpose of public interest” as a result of which the cleric said the government may freeze the account of churches, Oladiyun queried what the government called public interest, and asked whether the Church exists to serve public interest or the interest of Christ. “This again is not in tandem with the spiritual philosophy of the Church,” the CLAM Pastor emphasized.
Pastor Wole Oladiyun, who rarely talks on government policies, pointed that anyone who is familiar with the damages that religious conflicts and corruption have done to Nigeria would agree that the country was very much unlike other climes were some critics rationalized that a similar law is practiced. He further queried the concerns of government with the internal management of churches in the country.
His words: “What really is government’s headache with the internal management of churches when there are many government owned organisations having leadership crises? What’s government business with the use or misuse of church money, with the humongous corruption stinking to the heavens in all the arms of government, including even agencies meant to fight the plague? Government will be more honest if it leaves the Church alone, and faces more serious ills bedeviling the country at present,”
On what the churches should do against the government’s CAMA move as it affects churches in Nigeria, Oladiyun advised churches in Nigeria to set aside denominational and doctrinal sentiments for once to resist the move with one voice, noting that Bishop Oyedepo was not the one with a stake on the move. He further advised churches to offer unceasing prayers on every worship day against the CAMA move and similar moves to strangulate the Church in Nigeria.
The amiable and prayerful general overseer of CLAM finally enjoined the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leadership to summon an instant meeting of all the key players among the spiritual fathers in the faith and to do a strongly worded letter to the government articulating CAN opposition to the law and warn against its implications. “Where the above fails CAN should proceed to court to challenge the law as it contravenes our fundamental rights to practice our religion within the confines of our beliefs. The rest of us should aggressively invade the social media for a campaign against the law. This should be done in the most humane and civilized ways devoid of rancour, insult, and hate. I believe as we do these, the Lord will send us deliverance from Zion,” Pastor Oladiyun finally advised.