Having been affirmed as the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Rev. (Dr.) Chidi Okoroafor has extended his olive branch to the vanquished, Rev. Paul Emeka and those loyal to him.
This was part of his efforts to permanently integrate those that opposed his leadership of the church after the tussle that hit the Assemblies of God Nigeria.
The now substantive General Superintendent, Rev. (Dr.) Chidi Okoroafor, announced this on Sunday while addressing newsmen after a worship visit in Umuahia, Abia State, disclosing that the Executive Council of the church has extended what termed “Generous Olive Branch” to its former General Superintendent, Rev. Paul Emeka and those loyal to him, adding that the measure was part of his peace process aimed at re-uniting the church as one body.
The church, he said, is not interested in victimising anybody but ready to receive back anyone willing to return to the fold ” because we are still brethren”, explaining that after the expiration of the March 31 deadline earlier given to those who fought the church to return and show penitence, the Executive Council of the church decided to extend the window of grace in the interest of peace.
He described the church as now one, urging the opposition to return to help rebuild the church, stating, “Those who fought the church either by mistake or whatever should return let’s unite and forge ahead. In AG, somebody could be suspended in morning service and restored during evening service depending on his response. Some fathers in the faith were suspended but restored when they showed remorse”.
The new AG GS could not say what will happen should the opposition fail to avail itself of the opportunity, stating however, “When we get to the river we will cross the bridge”.
He claimed 97% of the church membership is under his leadership while only about three percent is loyal to Emeka but expressed the confidence that the church would be firmly united again under one leadership as before.
Rev. Okoroafaor noted that he had no personal issues with the former General Superintendent, Rev. Emeka but as his former Assistant, only needed to step in when he (Emeka) flouted the constitution of the church.
He explained that the administration of the church is democratic and does not allow the General Superintendent to command excessive powers to avoid abuse contrary to what obtains in some churches with a founder.
“Assemblies of God is not a one man show or president/ founder church. Since 1934 when AG started in Nigeria, it has survived several General Superintendents.
“The Bible and even the constitution of the church forbid any believer taking a fellow believer to court. But unfortunately, our former GS who had issues with the church over his administrative style which runs contrary to the constitution of the church took the church to court.
“We tried calling him to order but unfortunately he did not listen. He was later suspended for breaking the constitution of the church but he went to Enugu High Court to set aside the decision of the church.
“The church appealed the ruling and got a favourable judgment but he went to the Supreme Court which upheld the decision of the church.”
Rev. Okorafor said Rev. Emeka despite the Supreme Court judgment still occupied the National Secretariat of the church until March 31, 2017 when he was eventually evicted.
He appealed to all those whose faith was shaken because of the crisis which he described as distraction to put behind the experiences of those days and key into the vision of the church and purify themselves for Jesus’ return.