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AD Flays Okotie’s Campaigns in Churches

Posted by From Emmanuel Ugwu in Enugu on 2005/07/26 | Views: 369 |

AD Flays Okotie’s Campaigns in Churches

Rev Chris Okotie’s efforts to solicit the support of pentecostal churches in his quest to succeed the president in 2007, has been criticised by a rival party.

Rev Chris Okotie’s efforts to solicit the support of pentecostal churches in his quest to succeed the president in 2007, has been criticised by a rival party.

The founder of the Household of God Church, who has rekindled his presidential ambition after a failed attempt in 2003, was in Enugu to attend the bi-annual conference of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and capitalised on the opportunity to go round some churches to campaign for support.

But Alliance for Democracy (AD) in its reaction, warned Okotie against campaigning in the churches, saying it was "unethical and ungodly" to turn the altar into a campaign ground.

Vice Chairman (South East) of the party, Rev Okechukwu Obiora handed down the warning, noting that if politicians like Okotie were allowed to use the church for campaigns it would amount to “desecration” of the house of God.

Obiora, who is a pastor was unhappy that services at the Assemblies of God Church New Haven, Enugu was disrupted for 20 minutes on Sunday morning to allow Okotie inform the congregation on reasons for running for the presidency and why they should support him.

"It is a desecration of the altar and a desecration of the church, and these people should be called to order because it is a dangerous development that could put the church in crisis. There is nothing wrong in calling people together to a neutral place and doing your campaign, but to turn the church into a campaign ground and halt church proceeding for political speeches is not only unethical but patently ungodly"

Rev Okotie was said to have been taken round some churches by state chairman of PFN, Rev Paul Emeka to deliver “sermons” which turned out to be campaign messages.

According to the AD chief, “it is very, very unethical for church leaders to take a presidential candidate to churches and introduce him to the congregation as our presidential candidate for 2007” especially when the church ought to have known that members belong to various political parties.”
Rev Paul Emeka was indisposed to comment on the development as he was said to be "very busy" arranging for a meeting of Pentecostal pastors in Enugu to be addressed by Rev Okotie by 5pm on Sunday.

But an aide of the PFN chairman told our correspondent that Rev Emeka was not Okotie's campaign manager, rather he only took him round to address the church as a senior member of the PFN.

He said the churches had already been informed a week earlier that Okotie would be visiting to talk and minister to members of the Pentecostal community in the state.

The A.D chieftain said it was true that the church was informed a week ago about Okotie's coming, but insisted he was supposed to come and minister and not campaign.

"What he came to do was to campaign, not to preach the words of God, because he told the congregation that he had come to seek their support for the 2007 presidency, and went on to say how he was the right person to rule the country. For God’s sake that is wrong and most people are protesting it", he said.

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