A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday, adjourned till July 9, 2022 for hearing of the report on terms of reconciliation in a suit filed over the controversy on the appointment of a presiding pastor for First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja,
When the matter came up, the trial judge, who had, on April 7, ordered maintenance of status-quo anti-bellum pending the hearing and determination of the suit, seeking to halt the confirmation of acting pastor of the church, Rev Tom Takpatore, asked parties in the matter to finalize moves for reconciliation and report back to the court at the next adjourned date.
The plaintiffs, Bayo Ajagbe and Gbadejo Adedeji, representing a group of concerned elders of the church, are claiming that the process for the appointment of Rev Takpatore was skewed to give him unfair advantage over his competitors.
The church leadership was accused of failing to follow its constitution in its activities including the former pastor making himself signatory to the account of the church, a situation, which made the elders to demand that the handover notes from the former pastor should be made available to members for scrutiny.
An affidavit sworn to by one of the church officers who signed the extant constitution many years ago is challenging the copy filed at the CAC as mutilated.
According to the affidavit, the certified true copy of the constitution, which the faction led by Reverend Tom Takpatore is relying upon and contained in the CAC file has been mutilated and no longer bear semblance to the one that was signed by relevant church officers.
However, the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/432/2022, filed before Justice Egwuatu, has the Incorporated Trustees of First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja and current “acting pastor” Rev. Tom Takpatore as first and second Respondents.
Following the court action, a reliable source within the church, who craved for anonymity, told our correspondent that a mediation committee was then set up to find an amicable solution to the leadership crisis and that, series of meeting held on 15th, 18th and 19th April, 2022 ended in a stalemate after the representatives of the church leadership refused to consider the terms of settlement of the Concerned Elders but insisted they withdraw the case unconditionally.
It would be recalled that, at a church-in-conference held on March 20, this year, it was a free for all as a particular faction in the dispute allegedly invited thugs to prevent the opponents from having their way.
It was initially believed that the Nigeria Baptist Convention, umbrella body of Baptist Churches in Nigeria would midwife the reconciliation process.
“The dilemma however is that the current president of the convention will ultimately chair the decision-making body on the issue that he is at the very nucleus,” a church member said.