Once you go from a Non-profit organisation, which is what all places of worship should be, to a money making machine, you have to be held accountable!
Although, he immediately appointed a new national leader of RCCG, a lot of people were very upset with this decision.
Everyone from the average man to politicians to other Men of God and religious bodies got into the matter, especially when the reason for this decision was revealed.
Pastor Adeboye's resignation was due to a Corporate Governance Code by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), that stated that all founders/leaders of Non-profit organisations like churches, mosques, must step down after a maximum period of 20 years in office.
This created a huge controversy as most people wondered why the government should have any business with religious organisations.
Many people and groups have advised the government to drop this law. However, I disagree and I'm not the only one who feels this way.
CKN Nigeria reports that the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the FRC, Jim Obazee, also agrees that the law is the right thing for religious, non-profit organisations.
Speaking recently, he gave reasons for the governance code, while revealing that only 89 out of the 23, 216 registered churches in the country have complied with the regulation.
In his words, "In keeping other peoples’ money, you have to prepare account. That is why churches fought me so badly, took me to court as a person and then my office too. Mosques and orthodox churches freely complied, but those Pentecostal churches called me to ask questions.
They said: ‘This church is church of God and we are accountable to God.’ And I told them: ‘Very good, so you must take this church to heaven, you can’t operate it here’. When public funds are involved, government needs to ensure proper accountability.
Religious organisations are ordinarily set up as ‘not-for-profit’ and they remain institutions of public character. The challenge, however, is a trend where churches and mosques start dabbling into non-charity ventures like schools, hospitals and so on.
When you set up a church, your motive is to ensure that people are well focused to go to heaven. Then the money in the church should be targeted at ensuring that people are helped to do that. If you want to set up a school, then it should be free for all your members’ children. If you charge any money, then you are in the same league with other schools outside that are paying taxes to the government.
If you set up schools, hospitals and the likes under a church, there is a high likelihood that you will be engaging in non-charitable activities within charity. If you are doing that, then what stops Dangote from setting up a mosque and having all his cements, rice and sugar under it? That is actually what some churches and mosques are doing."
Everything he says makes sense. Places of worships should simply be where one goes to communicate with their God, while fellowshipping with other believers.
Unfortunately, things have changed. Now, churches are more of businesses than actual places of worship.
They get money from their members, start schools, hospitals, e.t.c and run things that make money, thus making them ineligible to be referred as Non-profit organisations.
Once this happens, it is only fair that they abide by the same rules that apply to banks, and companies.
Although, I think this is law is not a bad idea, I also think there is room for restructuring. For instance, I don't think the FRC should be involved with the leadership of the church, or how long the founder/leader decides to hold that office.
Rather, the FRC should focus on getting taxes, and auditing the money that is made from these extensions of the church, that is the school, hospital and so forth.
Basically, I believe that once a church/mosque goes from a Non-profit organisation, which is what all places of worship should be, to a money making machine, that organisation should be held accountable!
NOTE: The regulation that forced Pastor Adeboye to step down has been suspended and is pending a review.
Also, Obazee has been sacked over implementing this governance code, while the RCCG leader has been strongly encouraged to reverse his resignation.
What do you think? Is this law such a bad idea?