Okoh libeled over Lagos election claims

 

Okoh libeled over Lagos election claims

Author: 

George Conger

There is no truth or merit in allegations of vote fraud and bribery in the election of the Bishop of Lagos, the secretary of the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria said today in a statement released on the church website.

The Rt. Rev. David O C Onuoha recounted the election process that took place earlier this month at the House of Bishops meeting in Ilorin, noting that the names of two candidates, the Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiya, Bishop of Osun North East, and the Most Rev. Michael Fape, Bishop of Remo and Archbishop of Lagos Province. No objections or disparaging comments were made about the candidates or the election process, the episcopal secretary said, and after a vote by secret ballot, BIshop Olumakaiya was declared the winner, receiving 109 votes to Archbishop Fape’s 51.

However, on 17 Feb 2018 newspapers and social media reports were printing that asserted the election was procured through fraud. The media reports drew upon the declaration of Mr. Ade Doherty, a lay member of a Lagos congregation, who alleged the outgoing Bishop of Lagos, the Most Rev. Adebola Ademowo had colluded with the primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh to ensure the election of Bishop Olumakaiya.

Newspaper reports quoted Mr. Doherty as saying:

“Of course, we have it on good authority that huge sums of money exchanged hands to facilitate the so-called election of Olumakaiye and majority of our members in Lagos stand united in opposition to this mischief. It is a charade and can never stand.”

He further alleged that Bishop Ademowo had purchased the primate’s support through giving him for his retirement in Lagos.

The episcopal secretary rejected out of hand all of the allegations as being false, and noted the election had strictly followed the protocols of the Church of Nigeria.

The Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev. Ben Kwashi told Anglican Ink he was surprised to hear these allegations. The elections passed off “without rancor in the HOB” and “we dispersed in good spirits”.

Archbishop Kwashi surmised that this issue arose through “trouble makes in the Diocese of Lagos who had a candidates mind” adding “This is not uncommon with disgruntled elements within the fellowship.”

 
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