Christian Association Of Nigeria Vows To Investigate The N2Billion Monetary Gift By Labour Party Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi Dividing Religious Leaders
A pastor of the Dominion Centre International, Frank Onwumere has petitioned the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria over the alleged misappropriation of N2 billion given to religious leaders by Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
According to the petition, the money was given to religious leaders by the Labour Party to help mobilise and convince their congregation to vote massively for the candidacy of Obi.
Onwumere alleged that the money can no longer be traced.
He added that it was diverted by mega-churches and popular pastors and leaders already receiving the presidential candidate across the length and breadth of Nigeria without due consideration to other churches that have not received their part of the funds.
The petition read, “With reference to the above and sequel to the meeting convened by my Church Dominion Centre International as Senior Pastor and few other churches within our locality of the Imo State metropolis on the raging misappropriation of N2 Billion disbursed by Mr. Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party to the various Christian organizations, on behalf of our district of the PFN, we do hereby petition the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), while other bodies duly served under the leadership of the Most Rev. Daniel Chukwudumebi Okoh expressing our disappointment, displeasure and disbelief of how the said funds were disbursed to mega-churches, affluent Pentecostal churches, televangelists and renowned popular names of the Christendom.
“We are appalled and disappointed that such humongous amount of money was given to the church by the Labour party to help and assist in mobilizing and convincing their congregation to vote massively for the candidacy of Mr. Peter Obi but to our chagrin, the said sum of money has developed wings and cannot be traced, as we have it on good authority, that it has been fleeced by mega-churches and popular pastors and leaders who already as we write, are receiving the presidential candidate across the length and breadth of Nigeria without due consideration to other churches that have not received their own part of the funds.
“Sir, our grievances and anger are summarized in the questions below that need urgent answers and why would the Christian body of leaders collect a humongous amount of N2 billion on behalf of the entire Christendom and not remit/disburse same funds for which the funds were meant?
“Why would the Christian body go against the laid down procedures including against the Independent National Electoral Commission mandate (INEC) against party politics and engagement of candidate especially in the issue of religion and collecting funds from the backdoor.”
The cleric noted that from investigations carried out, few Catholic Bishops denied knowledge of the disbursement of the money while others were carried along but the funds.
He added that the funds “were shared on different terms based on the congregation of fellowship and the popularity of the pastor/bishop in charge”.
The statement continued, “Some Pentecostal churches denied knowledge of the funds that they are yet to receive theirs while few others said the money, were only given and disbursed to mega churches and popular TV Evangelists of the Pentecostal faith.
“However, we were told that the Redeemed Church, Winners and Dunamis churches were all in the know but refused any partisanship of the funds disbursement. We have it on good authority that other Pentecostal churches and little known pastors felt short-changed and are calling that heads must roll and that the world must hear this and know what is happening in the Christendom.
“That the main purpose of the funds of N2 Billion disbursed by Mr. Peter Obi was to assunge the church for mobilization during this year end so as to allow him audience, to solicit for votes from the churches, while the various church leaders will also instruct their congregations to vote for him massively for the presidential elections, using this month of December to tour the various bodies of churches based on the funds disbursed.
“Accordingly, sir, the money was not used adequately nor was it disbursed transparently by the various church organs, as the leaders that have received theirs are earnestly waiting and soliciting for dates with their various bodies to host the august visitor in their respective churches.
“We gathered that some churches are asking for a visiting fee of about N50 million and above so as to ask their congregation to vote for Mr. Peter Obi during the presidential elections.
“Sir, we are of the opinion, that if such a monumental scandal rocks the church in Nigeria which has become the last hope and opium of the people, it will go down memory lane that it) happened during your leadership and tenure and as such, we respectfully ask for our own share of the funds to enable us receive the presidential candidate and his team to our respective churches.
“While we ask for transparency, equity and justice on the above subject matter, sir, we ask that we stick to the original plan meant for the funds and that all churches of different denominations under the various organs should as a matter of fact receive their dues and funding, if not, we will be forced to write a petition to all the anti-graft agencies and the Ministry of Interior for justice to be done. As this is not the first time such an incident has occurred.
“We have unilaterally agreed that we would not mobilize our congregation for Mr. Peter Obi because our churches in the zone have not received the disbursement.”
Onwumere, therefore, appealed to the CAN leadership through the petition “to use your good offices to rein-in on the mega-churches, bishops and senior members of the various organs, to please, call for a round-table discussion on this very vexatious issue so that the funds can be shared equitably and judiciously for the betterment of every church concerned and for the mobilization of Mr. Peter Obi”.
“We are also using this medium to say that we are ready not to rock the boat as this largesse will go a long way to assist the various churches at this end of the year due to the harsh economic realities. We further use this medium to advise Mr. President of CAN to call on all Christian bodies and organs across the country to always consult one another and all other smaller churches when the need arises for any important issue to be tabled or discussed especially when it concerns funds of this nature,” it added.
But the two numbers on the letter were not available with a voice prompt saying one of the numbers was “not assigned to a customer”.
The number Special Assistant on Media to the CAN President, Daniel Okoh, he said the Office of the CAN President never saw such a letter or petition and did not know where the writer also got the CAN stamp on the letter from.
He said, “From The Office of the CAN President, I can tell you that we don’t know where he got it from. You know Peter Obi doesn’t give money.
“We did not get the letter. We don’t know where they got that letter from because we did not get it. We are going to investigate it.”
Jannamike noted that CAN is made up of five blocs namely the Christian Council of Nigeria, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Organisation of African Instituted Churches, and the Evangelical Church Winning All/Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria.
“So, you can’t just say Obi gave money to Catholic and PFN, how about the others?” he said, noting that there is something suspicious about the letter.
“So we are going to investigate this; that is the bottom line.”