Reps Speak On Power Of FRC To Determine Adeboye, Others Tenure

The House of Representatives on Wednesday ordered a detailed public hearing on the power of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) to fix the tenure of the leadership of religious institutions. 

It came after members debated and endorsed a motion moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor.

The lawmakers also insisted that no Federal Government agency is in the position to determine the tenure of a religious leader.

They noted that the FRC Act 2011 did not make provision for the tenure of office of religious bodies or non-profit organisations.

He added that while the agency might have delegated legislative powers, being a product of the National Assembly, any legislation or code it formulated should have been mandatorily approved by the same National Assembly before it could be applied.

The motion stated:

The House is concerned that the Governance Code, formulated by the Council, as it relates to heads of non-profit making organisations, is a clear usurpation of the powers of the National Assembly as stipulated in Section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

Also concerned that the National Assembly has not, in any way, approved the corporate governance code as it did with the Building Code.

The House is convinced that codes of corporate governance must be in conformity with international best practices.

Worried that an overzealous chief executive officer of a regulatory body can misinterpret  or misapply the provisions of the code as can be clearly seen in the case of the FRC.

Ogor pointed out that the FRC was to restrict itself to accountability, transparency and probity in pursuing corporate governance principles in public and private organisations.

The Chairman, House Committee on Ethics/Privileges, Mr. Nicholas Ossai, took the same position as Ogor, saying, this is because we are talking about the things of God here. 

The tenure of religious leaders is determined by God, not man.

Besides, delegated legislation like the FRC code should have been forwarded to the National Assembly for approval.

The code in question was never forwarded to the National Assembly.

The FRC code that sent Pastor Enoch Adeboye (General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God) out of his seat, among others, sets a 20-year tenure for heads of religious groups and civil rights organisations.

Such leaders are required to hand over the affairs of the organisations they head to successors in line with the corporate governance principles.

Adeboye named Pastor Joseph Obayemi as the overseer of the church in Nigeria and took on the new title of General Overseer, RCCG, Worldwide.

The development was greeted with interpretations, including insinuations that the Federal Government was attempting to meddle in the affairs of religious bodies, using the FRC.

President Muhammadu Buhari reacted on Monday by sacking the Executive Secretary of the FRC, Mr. Jim Obazee.

The President had, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, approved the sacking and the replacement of Obazee.

The statement also constituted a board for the Council with Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman as chairman and Mr. Daniel Asapokhai as Obazee’s replacement.

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