Elder (Dr.) Napo Emuchay is the President, Organisation of African Instituted Church (OAIC) Nigeria and Senior Apostle General/ Secretary, Eternal Sacred Order of The Cherubim and Seraphim Church (ESOCS). He speaks to Sunday Independent on why the organisation is taking a strong stance against polygamy among other sundry issues
Can you talk about the regional executive meeting held by OAIC?
Wednesday, October 30, 2019, was our regional meeting. Usually, we hold about three to four meetings every year. That was the last in the year. A number of things happened. We made two major appointments. The zonal vice chairman for South West, late Archbishop Magnus Atilade, was both the zonal chairman and vice president of OAIC. His position has been spilt. Baba Aladura Israel Akinadewo of Motalaitu Church, Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide (MCCSW), is now the vice president while Archbishop Nathaniel Olorunshina is now the zonal chairman.
What is the stand of OAIC on polygamy?
Our position is clear. It is going to form part of our bylaws. In the ESOCS church where I belong, we proscribed polygamy about two years ago. Some members of the OAIC are polygamists particularly the African Church. We are saying going forward, the younger generation should not embrace the culture of polygamy. Going further, it is no longer acceptable; we won’t appoint you to hold any administrative position. In the community of Christians, you cannot represent us. I cannot see a polygamist coming to stand in the election as the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). You can’t be the number one Christian in Nigeria as a polygamist. The World Council of Churches goes against it. If you are a priest, the Bible is clear on it; if you are a priest you should be the husband of one wife, simple. It is going to be part of our bylaws.
When is it taking effect?
It is in the making. We are reviewing it and we will soon pass it. So from next year, it will become operative that a polygamist cannot be a priest or hold any administrative office.
So, what becomes of the congregation of these polygamists?
They can run their churches but they cannot represent us. They won’t hold any administrative office.
Can they still be members of OAIC?
They can be members, in fact, some of them are founding members of OAIC, but we are saying that going by the current wave within the Christendom, they cannot hold any administrative position. They can stay as members but they can’t represent us. We cannot make you elder in charge or provincial chairman.
Don’t you think the planned proscription is going to be a hard nut to crack?
No. The issue is that we know it is going to bring hardship on some people. We are not saying people who have two or three wives should send their wives away, but they have to live with the burden. Going further, any young man or the younger generation who steps into polygamy should know he stands no chance within the priesthood, but you can be a member. Even within the Catholic Church, there are people with more than one wife but they can neither come out to say they are priests nor can become priests.
Some may argue that proscribing polygamy will increase the rate of hypocritical living, like in the case of some Catholic priests who secretly have wives and children despite taking the oath of celibacy?
It is an anomaly within the Christendom to be a polygamist. Of course, we cannot accept that anomaly. If you say okay, let us be operating like that, it becomes an accepted anomaly. We have to draw the line at some points. We are not saying it is a sin. What we are saying is that if you want to be a priest you will not have two wives. If as a member you have two wives or more, then you know your growth is limited. Like in Eternal Scared Order of Cherubim and Seraphim Church (ESOCS) Church, there is a rank you cannot exceed.
Can’t the church outright preach against polygamy?
We preach it but it is the enforcement. Remember the church is part of the public place. You cannot exclude someone but you can stop the person from praying before the congregation or reading Bible lessons in the church.
Does it bother you that staging of miracles is common in some churches?
That shows you the nature and quality of priests that we have in Nigeria. The church has become a hub of economic activities. Look, have you seen signboards for native doctors again? Every native doctor is now a pastor because people want miracles. You go to them; they tell you to bring a ram and other things. This is what native doctors do. They wear collars as priests to perform miracles; remember the collar does not make the monk. Christianity is a way of life, the name ‘Christian’ was first mentioned in Antioch when the people there saw the behaviour of the followers of Christ. It was not Jesus that gave the name; it was outsiders that recognised them. Christianity should be seen as a way of life not what you say, not you preaching and sleeping with another man’s wife afterwards.
There are allegations that some leaders of orthodox churches are usually occult members….
(Cuts in) That is not untrue as it is commonplace. I mean they do not make it public but people know. They hardly attend churches that are spiritual and are on fire for God because the spirit of God will expose and disgrace them. There was a person that came to our church and we did not know he used his son for rituals. It was at the time of prayer that a child of about 12 years old confronted him about the son’s whereabouts. The boy said, ‘Where is your son? You ruined your son’s life because of money.’ The man after two years died. These double-faced people prefer attending conventional churches where they will not be exposed. One thing to note is that we should not be judgmental for the judgment day is coming and it is going to start from the house of God. There is an all-seeing eye and it is God Himself that will judge. When you ask them they deny but when they die, the burial process involves some rituals. I was told some have uniforms and know how they bury their members. If I know about any OAIC leader being part of the occult, of course, he will be expelled.
The Federal Government said Nigerians are not hungry as against the outcry of so much hunger in the land?
What do you expect them to say when the people in the government are not paying for food or light? They are having everything free of charge and have allowances even for the meals they eat. If you want to know what is happening ask the man on the street they will tell you what is happening. So you want the government to tell you there is a problem in the country? They are even saying no one is dying in the North that there are no killings. All these are political gimmicks.
…and government is said to be fighting corruption?
Corruption is the foundation of the political system in Nigeria. The government is the hub of corruption. Government is only trying to play their game.
Does this mean we do not have true Christians in government or that true Christians cannot be politicians?
Of course, true Christians can be politicians as the Bible says that when the righteous are in power, the people rejoice, so the righteous are supposed to be in government. The price the righteous people pay is to ignore politics, saying politics is for the ‘mad or cowboys’ and these people are the ones ruling and making the laws. Look in Nigeria, how many professors, doctorate degree holders and master’s degree holders do we have? The man who is ruling the country, what is his qualification?
What is the way forward?
We have to embrace the truth, let us tell ourselves the truth. Let the people occupying leadership positions do the right thing.
What is your desire for OAIC and Nigeria?
Well, let us be upright. If we receive Christ and walk in accordance with His will, there will be changes. The Israelites, because of their sins, were punished by God. God delivered them to the hands of their enemies, the Midianites. It might be because of the sins of Nigeria that we are having these problems of killings, raping and all sorts of evil. If we return to God in righteousness, I can assure you that our fortune will change. The only way is to fear God and walk in the paths of righteousness. The message God gave in Ezekiel 33 verse 11, says ‘Say Unto them, As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they should repent and live.’ If we change, our circumstances will change.
Culled from Sunday Independent
Support Adura Foundation
…we have a small favour to ask.
As our reader, we appeal to you to support Adura Foundation from as little as N1, 000.00 (One Thousand Naira). Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our faith renewal journalism and helping the very poor in our society.
Adura Foundation International
Stanbic IBTC Bank