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Okoh takes over from Akinola as Anglican Church Primate

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Okoh takes over from Akinola as Anglican Church Primate

Post  Admin on Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:08 pm

Out-going Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), His Grace, Peter Jasper Akinola (left) and newly-elected Primate, Rt. Rev. Nicholas Okoh, in Umuahia... yesterday

AT exactly 4.15 p.m. yesterday, 57-year-old Archbishop of Bendel and Bishop of Asaba Diocese, Rt. Revd Nicholas Okoh, was pronounced the Primate-elect of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Okoh, whose emergence was received with standing ovation from the House of Bishops, will assume office on March 25 next year as the 4th Primate of the Church of Nigeria.

He takes over from Most Revd. Peter Jasper Akinola, whose six-year tenure expires by March next year. He assumed office in 2000.

Before Akinola were Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye (1988-2000) and Archbishop Timothy O. Olufosoye (1979-1988).

Announcing the election of the new Primate after over six hours congress held behind closed doors at the St. Stephens Cathedral Church, Umuahia, the Dean, Church of Nigeria, His Grace, Maxwell Anikwenwa, said that it followed the constitution and cannons guiding the election of a Primate, stressing that the 146 bishops that participated in the exercise were satisfied with the outcome.

He said: "By constitution and cannons of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), we conducted election chaired by the Registrar of the Diocese, Church of Nigeria and the dean as the convener and Rt. Rev. Nicholas Okoh was duly elected as the Primate-elect.

"His election came by secret ballot; we don't tell you anything about number. More than two-thirds of those present did cast their vote.

"I think Nigerians should come and see and learn from us. It was absolutely transparent, the presentation was superb. That was why there was jubilation the moment he emerged", he said.

Anikwenwa disclosed that his election was witnessed by the bishops present, stressing that though about 146 Bishops were part of the House of Bishops congress, not all of them had the right to vote.

He said that the Bishop of Canna was part of the election and actually took part in the voting, stressing that by the election, the future of the Church of Nigeria has become very bright, viable, strong and stable.

The out-going Primate, His Grace Akinola, while commenting on the election, said that the new Primate would be sworn in, in Abuja, next year, stressing that the way the election was conducted was an indication that the Church of Nigeria was moving forward.

"Let us just say God has been leading and guiding us and we have been following His leading. This election has taken us five hours of serious prayer to come to the stage we are. It is not a child's play and we should see it as what God has done and I feel it is coming with a lot of blessings", he said.

Akinola said he was happy he was leaving the headship of the Anglican Communion when the ovation was loudest, stressing that he was convinced that the new Primate would take the Anglican Communion to greater heights.

"I have no doubts to his pedigree, perhaps which was why this hall erupted in celebration the moment he emerged. I tell you that it put paid to speculations that somebody somehow is trying to impose a candidate. The church of God does not operate in that manner. It functions according to directives from God and that is why it is like this today. All we need do is to continue to pray for the Church, continue to pray for the new Primate and I can assure you, we will get to our horizon", he said.

The Primate elect Okoh, who said he was an apprentice on the job, was full of gratitude to his colleagues for the orderly manner that his election held, stressing that it was an indication that he had received support to succeed.

He said he would rely on the advice of his colleagues as well as those who wished the Communion well to succeed, stressing that the Anglican Church shall continue to take the lead in the spread of the gospel.

The well-attended standing committee meeting started at about 11.00 a.m. yesterday morning with a Communion service, which was strictly attended by the bishops. It later went into a congress, which after five hours produced the new Primate.

Speaking at the service earlier, Bishop of Aba Diocese, Ugochukwu Ezeoke, charged the participants, especially men of God, to shun material and monetary inducement and rely on the directive from God to elect a successor.

He said that only when the will of God was allowed to triumph would the church prosper.

About four bishops were said to have indicated interest in the Primateship of the church.

Okoh, the in-coming archbishop has been preceeded by Archbishop Timothy O. Olufosoye (1979-1988), Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye (1988-2000) and Archbishop Peter Akinola (2000- till date). takes over from Akinola as Anglican Church Primate[img][/img]


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