PRC has no business regulating corporate governance for non-profits

Jan 9 2017 - 8:35am
Kingsley Obom-Egbulem

Kingsley Obom-Egbulem

By Kingsley Obom-Egbulem

There’s been quite a lot of clowing, jesting and bike-filled comments on social media since Pastor E. A Adeboye announced his decision to retire or should I say “step down” as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

Haters of pastors, psychotics who feel offended and incensed at the mention of the word ‘pentecostal’ or even God whom all the while have been asleep since the killing of Christians in Southern Kaduna have suddenly woken up to feast.

Thanks to Pastor Adeboye.

“The Global CEO, RCCG Business International Limited is Daddy GO”, “RCCG Import and Export Limited changes CEO”, “Let Somebody shout Hallelujah, our Chairman is stepping down”.

Depending on who you are, these are just a few of the tons of clowning and mischief or nice comic relief you’ll come across social media platforms since Saturday.

Whichever side of the divide you belong, the fact is things are about to change and we need to get ready for it.

The communication announcing Pastor Adeboye’s decision to step down or move up was so unprofessionally handled that it still leaves many people wondering what exactly is happening. The statement purportedly coming out of the RCCG cited regulations by the Financial Regulations Council (FRC) as the reason for his retirement.

According to the new legal requirements allegedly set up by the PRC all founders or heads of registered churches, mosques, CSOs all founders or heads have a maximum period of twenty years to lead their organizations.In retirement, they are not permitted to hand over to their families.

As sweet as this statement sounds to the ears of many people who believe that churches in Nigeria need to be regulated and their founders held financially accountable, it is still not a decision Mr Jim Obama’s PRC is empowered by the laws of our land to make. Yes you can look into the books of CHURCHES and make them financially accountable to the public since it is a trusteeship, but when it comes to corporate governance, its a different ball game beyond the turf of the PRC.

Most Nigerians believe pastors have carried on for too long as Lords of the manor . We feel churches have gone beyond the legal boundaries established by our laws in the course of their operations and they need to be called to order.

That’s the core issue we all need to take into account so we don’t get lost in the drama of Pastor Adeboye’s decision to retire.

Some people have already started compiling a a list of Pastors and Bishop that needs to follow in the steps of Pastor Adeboye.

“Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners,Mountain of Fire, Pastor Olukoya ,Deeper Life Kumuyi and other top General Overseers may be forced to retire soon from their Churches “, so says one of such reports. That’s missing the point. Is it about how long they have stayed as overseers or how much financial discipline and accountability they have been able to subject themselves and their organisations to?

What do you expect?

For some people, anything that seems like a deadly blow to the church gives them unusual orgasmic feeling, causing them to ejaculate half truths from all available orifice in their body. The church to them seem like the problem of this country, yet they have not even been able to look those they elected into public offices in the face and ask them to account for millions that are missing every day.

These same guys asking the church to open their books for public scrutiny have not been able to call the speaker of the house of representatives to account for the allegations of budget padding levelled against him by honourable Jibril. The same guys throwing up over the life-style of pastors and asking them to stop living flamboyant lifestyles have not been able to address the chairman of their local government areas and ask him where he is getting the money he’s using to send his kids to expensive universities overseas and hold elaborate weekend parties every month.

I recall when the current head of the Federal Island Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr. Babatunde Fowler took over office, he asked some fundamental questions about how churches operate. And for him to get answers to some of the questions he was asking (which I think were quite appropriate and germane) the church needs to open its account for him to see assuming the law allows it.

But does our laws empower Mr. Fowler to ask questions about how his colleagues and other public office holders spend the money he’s been collecting on our behalf?

Whose job is that?

The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) provides a guide on how non-profit organizations are meant to conduct their affairs especially in regards to corporate governance. We can only ask the body charged with that task to wake up to their responsibilities.And talking about financial scrutiny, we have NGOs set up close to two decades ago and the founders are still in charge. Are we looking in those directions?

Some NGOs are going to be handed over to children of the founders and we have never seen their accounts. Are we looking in that direction? Should churches or mosques set up schools, universities, micro finance banks, publishing houses and hospitals? Are NGOs meant to set up hotels and conference centres? What are they supposed to do with the money generated from these ventures? How should these ventures be run – assuming they are supposed to set them up in the first place? In other words should there even be anything like Covenant University, Mountain Top University, Deeper Life University in the first place? Are they supposed to charge fees and make profits?

I think rather than jest over pastor Adeboye’s decision to step up or step down these are the questions we need to find answers to.

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