In from Olumide Olaoluwa…
An intense lobby has commenced among leading Pentecostal preachers over the next chaplain of the Aso Rock chapel.
The chapel, which is the official church of the administration, is located within the palatial Aso Rock seat of power.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has official responsibility over the chapel being a Christian.
Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan worshipped regularly at the chapel headed by a chaplain, who statutorily has spiritual and administrative oversights over the centre.
The chaplains under Obasanjo and Jonathan wielded enormous influence and accompanied the presidents on many overseas official trips.
It was gathered they also made subtle suggestions on several key government appointments, mostly occupied by their preferred candidates.
Investigations revealed that qualified preachers have mounted serious campaigns to be considered for the vacant position.
Among the leading contenders is Bishop Wale Oke, the renowned evangelist and general overseer of Sword of the Spirit Church, Ibadan.
Pastor Idowu Iluyomade of the popular City of David parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) is also in the race.
There is also Rev. Yomi Kasali, the senior pastor of Foundation of Truth Assembly (FOTA), who played prominent roles during the campaign period for Osinbajo.
The charismatic Oke preached during the May 30 inauguration thanksgiving service at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja impressing many of the worshippers with his flowery delivery.
He has been close to the seat of power since the days of Obasanjo when he held several prophetic prayers and coordinated a prayer movement that toured the country.
Though popular in government circles, many Christian leaders are however not comfortable with Oke, arguing he has moral issues to deal with.
Despite the reservation, he has reportedly been reaching out to influential Nigerians to put in a word for him.
Iluyomade, on his part, is reportedly sponsored by a power bloc within the RCCG, who believes that the church should automatically fill the slot since the Vice President is a top member.
He was conspicuous at the thanksgiving service with many RCCG members hailing him when he was introduced.
But many leaders in the Christian community are miffed that the RCCG is trying to take undeserved credit for the victory of Osinbajo after he was reportedly snubbed by the church’s general overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, during a meeting where former President Goodluck Jonathan was adopted as the official candidate of the Christian community.
They have vowed to resist the appointment of Iluyomade for the chaplaincy, claiming that Osinbajo was a candidate of the “entire church, not of RCCG”.
Kasali, who is more or less the green horn in the race, has the backing of a powerful bloc within the Pentecostal fold.
He was the brain behind the thanksgiving service with Osinbajo said to have insisted every person must go through him for approvals.
The former Foursquare Church preacher is close to Osinbajo and enjoys unfettered access to the number two man.
Checks however revealed that the Vice President, who is expected to make a recommendation to the President for the appointment, is concerned about the scramble for the post.
He is reportedly considering picking someone from outside the country to fill the slot so as not to be seen to be pandering to any of the vested interests.
Ripples… without borders, without fears
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: How roadside foods endanger consumers’ life with trans fat in northern Nigeria
With an estimated 854,000 deaths in Nigeria, and 3,229 attributed to trans fatty acids (TFA) -related cardiovascular deaths, ADESOLA IKULAJOLU visited Nigeria’s...
INVESTIGATION: Untold story of Ondo oil producing communities battling poor health system
Access to quality healthcare is one of the nightmares of communities in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State. Despite...
FEATURE: Ogun residents, waste collectors trade blames, as refuse litter environment
TIJANI ABDULKABEER, a journalist from the University of Ibadan, during a recent trip to Sango Otta, Ogun State took a look...
INVESTIGATION: How online fraudsters siphon victims’ funds through ‘SportyBet’ platform
As Nigeria transits into a cashless society, the evolution also creates opportunities for internet scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting...
SPECIAL REPORT: Enugu govt watches as waste takes over state, threatens public health, environment
In this report, Arinze Chijioke looks at how delays in evacuation of waste in Enugu State encourages indiscriminate waste disposal, its health implications, and how...