Conflict between the State and Religion played a huge part in Adeboye's announcement last Saturday. But that's only half the story
As everyone got apprehensive, the church clarified that 'Daddy Adeboye' wasn't leaving the church for good--he'll continue as General overseer worldwide while Joshua Obayemi ( who was former special assistant to Adeboye on finance) will become the national (Nigeria) overseer.
It was perfectly legal for the Christian faithful to become jittery on account of Adeboye's departure. 'Daddy Adeboye' of the 'everybody shout Hallelujah' fame has become synonymous with the RCCG and Christendom in deeply Religious Nigeria.
Not many know that Adeboye isn't the founder of the RCCG which now boasts branches in every street corner in Nigeria.
RCCG is arguably Nigeria's biggest church with millions of Christian faithful identifying as 'Redeemers'.
As G.O (General Overseer) of one of the biggest churches in Nigeria, Pastor Adeboye commands a cult following.
Adeboye was ordained G.O of the pentecostal outfit in 1981 after the death of Pastor Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi.
Akindayomi founded the RCCG in 1952.
But it was under Adeboye that the RCCG became mainstream and made its foray into international audiences.
A former Mathematics University lecturer, the RCCG under Adeboye now has a presence in 192 countries with a single attendance in one of its services at its Lagos headquarters, garnering as much as 50,000 worshipers.
Under Adeboye, the RCCG now owns its own University as well.
So, the man has transcended Christendom into the secular. It is little wonder that when he announced he was leaving the role for which he had become synonymous, all
hell heaven was let loose.
For millions of Christians in Nigeria, RCCG is Adeboye and Adeboye is RCCG.
So, why did Adeboye say he was leaving his role as General Overseer of the church in Nigeria?
It has to do with an organisation called the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRN).
You see, the FRN regulates the financial activities of businesses in Nigeria and somehow, the Church in Nigeria has now been viewed as a business.
Thanks to the proliferation of churches in Nigeria and Pastors assuming the statuses of mega-stars and making mega-money from mega-crowds who are looking for mega-miracles and mega-prosperity, Pastors in Nigeria have become larger than life--owning exotic property and riding in exotic cars.
Pastors are rock stars in Africa's most populous country.
The State has become very interested in the money the Churches make.
The FRN has now grouped Churches and Mosques under "Not-for-Profit" organisations.
Once that was done, FRN asked all Churches to comply with the corporate governance code which stipulates a term of 20 years for the heads of all "Not-for-Profits".
The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act, No. 6 of 2011, prescribes a maximum period of 20 years in Office for heads of registered Churches, Mosques and Civil Society Organisations.
Adeboye has been head of the RCCG for over 20 years, so by the laws of the land, he had to go.
So, off he went last Saturday.
But here's where it begins to get interesting.
President Muhammadu Buhari fired the head of the FRN, Jim Obazee, before nightfall on Monday and suspended the law which saw to Adeboye stepping down from a position he's occupied for 36 years.
Adeboye and Buhari enjoy a warm relationship made even warmer by the fact that Buhari's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Pastors one of the RCCG outlets in Lagos.
President Buhari's spokesperson, Garba Shehu, issued the following terse statement on Monday:
"The President has appointed a chairman and a new executive secretary for the council. The new council as approved by the president has Mr Adedotun Sulaiman, MFR as chairman. The president has also approved the appointment of Mr Daniel Asapokhai as the executive secretary of the council".
Let's put you out of your misery because you asked--Obazee was fired because under him, the FRN enforced a law which got too interested in the money the Churches were making. He touched a close friend of the Villa.
Certainly, Buhari doesn't like that. The State should be separate from the Church and Mosque, the Presidency probably thought.
But how come no one stopped the FRN dead in its tracks until Adeboye stepped aside? Well, someone in Buhari's cabinet tried to.
In suspending the law that inserts term limits for super powerful pastors in Nigeria, are we ever going to revisit it? Is the law dead now?
Will Adeboye return as General Overseer now that Obazee has fallen on his own sword?
Obazee endured a frosty relationship with Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.
Enelamah had asked Obazee not to enforce the corporate governance code which saw to Adeboye deciding to take a walk.
But Obazee refused to heed that counsel.
It was a triumphant Minister Enelamah who issued the following statement on Monday: “The Corporate Governance Code issued by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria has been suspended pending a detailed review, extensive consultation with stakeholders and reconstitution of the board of the FRC".
Power play involving the Church and State at the highest levels.