Crisis seems to be rocking the Ibadan Baptist church as corruption allegation tears the church apart, writes correspondent, Sunny Adeloye.
The peaceful atmosphere that reigns supreme in the Nigerian Baptist Convention, NBC, worldwide is now being threatened as a result of the crisis currently rocking one of its churches in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
At the centre of the controversy is the Love Family Baptist Church, Okebadan Estate Alegongo, where church members are at loggerheads with their former pastor who is also an NBC minister, Reverend Dr. Peter Oyedemi.
The Nigerian Pilot Sunday investigation coupled with appropriate documents in the organisation’s custody, revealed the issues that have pitched the church members against Reverend (Dr.) Oyedemi. This among others, include finances of the church, no explanation over the alleged N12.2 million realised as proceeds from sales of church land as well as controversy over the real owner of Reverend Oyedemi’s building located on the church land ,among others.
Our sources at both the church and the NBC headquarters in Ibadan, further revealed that the crisis at the church blew open when Reverend Oyedemi voluntarily disengaged as a pastor in the church on 31/5/2013 and Reverend(Dr.)B.B. Adeoye (his cousin) took over on 1/6/2013.
It was gathered that following the inability of the church to handle the crisis, futile attempts were made by the Ibadan East Baptist Association and Ibadan Baptist Conference to resolve it (the crisis). The issue was subsequently referred to the NBC headquarters.
According to our findings, the NBC headquarters, thereafter set up a seven -member peace committee under the chairmanship of Rev. Dr. Simeon A.Kolawole to resolve the crisis.
Other members of the NBC peace Committee included Rev. Dr. Israel Olaniyan, Rev. Dr. S.A.K Olaleye, Rev. Dr. O.O.T. Onifade, Rev. Dr. Wale Oyeniyi (Secretary),Deacon J.O. Taiwo and Mrs. S.O. Ogunlade.
The committee met the two contending groups separately and later together, early in the year and subsequently came up with a twenty-five point(25)recommendations on 4/8/2015.
The recommendations included a directive to Rev. Dr. Oyedemi to apologise to the Love Family Baptist Church concerning the way he ran the church and on the circumstances surrounding the sale of the said church land.
Also, the committee recommended that “Rev. Dr and Revd. (Mrs)Oyedemi should apologise to Love Family Baptist Church, Ibadan for the way they led the church and for taking undue advantage of the church especially on the land sale issue.
“No pastor should henceforth be given or receive any portion of church land, except where the land is acquired for commercial purposes.
“Baptist ministers and members should familiarise themselves with beliefs, policies and practices of the Nigerian Baptist Convention and ensure compliance with such.”
But Dr. Oyedemi reportedly rejected the committee’s recommendation, threatening “to get justice even if it takes ten years to do so.”
Also, a memo dated 12/9/15 by Dr. J.A .Ayangunna, the church secretary, Love Family Baptist Church, to the NBC Ad-Hoc Committee on the crisis, cautioned the religious body leadership against being seen as taken sides in the crisis.
The letter read in parts “With no intention to indict personality or position, the attention given to the crisis by our leaders was quite suggestive of a conspiracy.
Concerted efforts and attempts to protect the interest of a friend at the expense of our collective Baptist image and integrity of our polity and the survival of Love Family Baptist church were obvious.”
There has not been any formal reaction to the development from the NBC Ibadan headquarters, while the parties in the crisis have threatened one another, “full blown legal battle.”
However, a revered NBC member who pleaded for anonymity confided in this paper, saying that”the Convention system is tested, proved and true and as our forbearers have handed it to us, we must show that we are worthy recipients of the heritage, clear any confusion whenever it arises and be prepared to hand over the legacy even in a better and more dignifying way than what we inherited” he said.


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