Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, one of the most respected men of God in Nigeria, said on Saturday that he remains the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God worldwide, although the Nigerian church would be led by someone else.
After 36 years as the head of the church, Pastor Adeboye abruptly announced on Saturday that he would be replaced by Pastor Obayemi as the General Overseer Nigerian church.
The announcement that Adeboye was leaving shook Nigeria, a deeply religious country with thousands of churches, and journalists immediately went to town with the news that the 74 year old cleric was bowing out gracefully.
But Mr. Leke Adeboye, the clergyman’s last son and personal assistant, clarified in a statement that the replacement in Nigeria was only made in compliance with the new legal requirements set up by the Financial Regulations Council for all registered churches, mosques, and CSOs.
The regulations, he said, stipulate that heads of non-profit organisations such as churches have a maximum period of 20 years to lead their organisations while in retirement. They are also not permitted to hand over to their family members.
“We appeal to members to educate people around them and not spread inaccurate information, as Pastor E.A Adeboye remains the General Overseer of RCCG Worldwide,” he said.
In the new structure, Funsho Odesola, a pastor, will now serve as the new church secretary while Joseph Adeyokunu, another pastor, is the new church treasurer.
RCCG, which was not well known prior to Adeboye becoming the General Overseer, has several branches globally in about 190 countries, including more than 14,000 in Nigeria.
The 74 year old mathematician from Ifewara in Osun state was appointed General Overseer of the church in 1981, taking over from Papa Akindayomi, the founder, who had died the previous year.
For three years he filled the role part-time, still lecturing at Ilorin, until giving up his university position to preach full-time.
He had received his B.Sc. in Mathematics at University of Nigeria Nsukka and a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Lagos, and worked as a lecturer in mathematics at the universities of Lagos and Ilorin before joining the church.
After joining the RCCG in 1973, he began working to translate the sermons of its then Pastor and founder, Reverend Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, from Yoruba into English before he replaced him in 1981.