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By Morakinyo Babajide-Alabi
Yesterday morning I woke up to the news of the retirement of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor E.A Adeboye. (For the benefit of my non-Nigerian (or Africans) readers, the RCCG is the one of the largest churches in Nigeria, with parishes in every corner of the country and other African countries).
I could not make a head or tail of the news of the retirement. We have read such news in the past that turn out to be fake. Instinctively, I reached for my phone and started scouring the internet, moving from Twitter to Facebook, to Snapchat (yes, Snapchat). Unfortunately, while the news were circulating on these social media, the details were terse with no “meat” at all. What about Google – My trusted search engine? Not much at this point, but past fake stories by desperate bloggers.
Then a voice came through in my head. I guess it was the “Holy Spirit” (remember we are talking about religion here). So I let myself go, yielding to the superior power that was threatening to overcome me. I kept hearing “go back to sleep, by the time you wake up, the picture will be clearer.” I ignored this, but just like when Samuel (in the Old Testament) heard that voice call his name, I heard again “go back to sleep, by the time you wake up, the picture will be clearer.”
I adjusted my pillows, as I dropped my phone by the bedside ready to have a second round of sleep. I thought about my plans for the day. I only have one appointment which I could not afford to miss. I had been shifting this very important appointment with a brother from Dublin, Ireland for quite some time. But courageously during the week I had fixed an appointment for “anything after 10am” when he told me he would be in Leicester for the weekend.
I had barely dropped my head on the pillow when I saw his missed calls. But remember I was under the “influence”, and I had to continue as instructed. The instruction was to go back to sleep so as to unravel the controversy and confusion of the revered “Daddy GO’s” (for my non-Nigerian readers Daddy GO, is the spiritual head of the church. David Cameron, UK’s Prime Minister, once referred to him as such) retirement. I made a mental note of contacting this brother immediately I come out of the trance.
I switched on the television, located the Sports channel and listened to analysis of the Manchester United and Reading match coming up soon. At some point in the programme I went into a snoring trance. I could hear myself snoring loudly, despite the brand new chin strap I just bought and which the seller assured me will end all my snoring woes, once I strapped it on.
I woke up with a start to Manchester United’s Rooney’s 7th minute goal against Reading. I am not a fan of United but somehow I admired the creativity in the goal.
My first reaction was to reach for the phone. With high hopes, I clicked on the CNN app on the phone. Instead of the RCCG news I was eagerly expecting to see, I was confronted with the Russian hacking of the US presidential elections. Oh my days!
But for God’s sake, I thought the CNN that did a special tribute on “Daddy GO” some years back should be the first news media to flash the BREAKING NEWS. I was disappointed. Then the “Holy Spirit” (by this I realised it was my common sense) instructed that I “come” back home because my “search” criteria were too wide.
There was no succour in the local media as they were still reporting the two paragraphs-item that woke me earlier in the morning. Some had gone to the extent of embellishing the retirement story to gain readers’ attention. The bloggers were in over drive on the media freeway.
As the day went on, the news report became diverse, all depending on the flamboyance of the blogger. But all the same, there was no end to the speculations.
The resignation of Pastor Adeboye was said to have taken place during the Ministers Thanksgiving Service at the camp. This was supposed to be a meeting/service of trusted and well honed pastors and ministers of the RCCG. But definitely as events have turned out now, there was definitely a trust issue.
The news of the resignation originated from the service. There was no official communication from the RCCG on the resignation, so one can safely conclude that it was an over zealous “minister” that rushed to “break this news to the press”. This says much about the fellows at the meeting.
For the RCCG, this was a lesson on how not to handle communications. An issue as important as the appointment of an Overseer (general or not) for the church should have been announced in an official manner. By this the confusion of what “Daddy GO” said or did not say would have been avoided.
There are a few questions that many cannot get their heads around (including me). Was the appointment of the new Overseer an “act of the moment” by Pastor Adeboye? If not, the communications department of the church has no justification for the confusion and the disgrace it brought its members worldwide to.
Media communication is not a “thing of the world” (not sinful). It is indeed a key to enduring success and clarity of the goals of any organisation, be it charity, non-governmental, ministries, etc. Unfortunately, the development of yesterday totally exposed the RCCG as an organisation that has little or no regard for official communication.
Not long after the whole world had been thrown into unnecessary confusion, an official statement issued by the GO’s Personal Assistant who happen to be his last son, Pastor Leke Adeboye made attempt to clarify the situation. It was miles too late as members worldwide were already reading various versions of what transpired at the Ministers’ meeting.
No one is questioning the prerogative of the General Overseer to retire or hand over some of his official duties, but wonder why it has to be messed up the way it happened.
This is a lesson in communication. Of which the RCCG failed woefully.