The Episcopal Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has called on Anglicans and the discerning public to disregard malicious publications on the election the new Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos.
The House of Bishops of the Nigerian Anglican Church was responding to some media reports alleging that the February 6 election of some new bishops in the Church was marred by corruption and impropriety.
A statement issued by the Episcopal Secretary of the Church, the Rt. Rev David Onuoha, Tuesday in Abuja, said there was no iota of truth in publications in the social media, which attempted to smear the image of the Primate, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.
The House of Bishops explained that the process which led to the election of Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye, Bishop of Osun North East Diocese, as the new bishop-elect of the Diocese of Lagos was free and fair.
‘‘This particular election was held alongside four others at the Cathedral Church of St Barnabas, Ilorin in the Diocese of Kwara, Kwara State in accordance with the church’s laid down rules and regulations. The event was free and fair.
‘‘A total of 161 bishops participated and pursuant to the provisions of Canon V of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria 1997 (as Amended), candidates were nominated after the advice from the diocese, which favoured translation, had been circulated and read.
‘‘The procedure before every election in the House of Bishops is to appoint a team of returning officers to collate the results. This was strictly followed with the Rt. Rev Sosthenes Eze, bishop of Enugu North diocese, leading eight other bishops to perform this sacred duty.
“Only two candidates, Most Rev Michael Fape, bishop of Remo diocese, and Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye were duly nominated and seconded by highly respected members of the house without any objection raised against any of them,’’ the statement said.
To justify that the election which is exclusively done by the Anglican bishops by secret ballot, the Episcopal Synod of the Church for the first time in its annals, published the records of the votes in the exercise.
According to the statement, while Most Rev’d Michael Fape polled 51 votes, Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye garnered 109 votes while one bishop absented from the votes. It added that by this result Olumakaiye, the Bishop of Osun North East became duly elected for translation to the See of Lagos.
Providing more insight into the process the bishops explained that the Primate, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh who is the President of the Episcopal Synod is statutorily empowered to call for nominations, and after the voting and counting of votes by those responsible, announces the results as submitted by the chief returning officer. “Votes are cast, counted and results declared in the full glare of the general house.
“It is, therefore, uncharitable to attempt to smear the image of our beloved Primate, Most Rev Nicholas D Okoh, instead of thanking God for the numerous blessings He has graciously granted His church since the inception of this administration.
“We call on the discerning public, especially all Anglican faithful to disregard the said malicious publications in their entirety as they are baseless and without any iota of truth.
“The bishops of the Church of Nigeria remain resolute and united in their determination to uphold godliness and righteousness in their service to God and humanity.
“We also call on our brethren who have fallen into this temptation of seeking to destabilize the church to use this period of Lent to seek God’s face in repentance that He may grant them forgiveness and time for amendment of life,’’’ the Bishops said.