Bishop accuses Governor Ishaku as Methodist church crisis persists
•I have no interest in the church, Ishaku says
The Resident Bishop of the United Methodist Church of Nigeria, (UMCN) Jalingo, Bishop Johnwesley Yohanna, has accused Governor Darius Ishaku of being responsible for the continued crisis in the UMCN church in Taraba.
Yohanna made the accusation on Friday while speaking to journalists in his office in Jalingo.
He said the refusal of the governor to reopen the church cathedral for six years, and supporting the renegade group of the church was purely a definition of the governor fuelling crisis in the church.
The bishop alleged that the governor was sponsoring a renegade group led by Rev. Philip Micah Doppah who had left UMCN since 2013, against him who was the duly elected bishop in the United Methodist Church. The bishop claimed that Governor Ishaku was notified by the Judicial Council of the Church and the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church that he, Yohanna, was the duly nominated, elected and consecrated bishop of UMCN in the state.
He alleged that the governor refused to reopen the UMCN cathedral that is the ecclesiastical seat of the bishop that was closed by the previous administration due to internal crisis and is now sponsoring acclaimed members of the UMCN led by Rev Doppah due to tribal sentiment
“Tribalism has overwhelmed the naked truth here because it is being sponsored by the governor and that is why we are having an unending crisis in this church.
“The governor because of tribalism refused to recognise me as the legitimate bishop of UMCN in Taraba, even as he was given a letter by the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church that I am the duly elected bishop of the church.
“The crisis is overgrowing because the governor is recognising a wrong group who left the church since 2013, but is still parading themselves as United Methodist Church members,” Bishop Yohanna alleged.
Responding, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan-Abu, described the accusation by the bishop as frivolous and untrue.
Dan Abu noted the governor has no interest in the crisis of the church and cannot play a divisive role in the body of Christ.
“Governor Darius Ishaku has no interest what so ever in what is happening in the church. He is a Christian from the family of a prominent clergy in the state so, he can never play a divisive role with the Body of Christ.
“For the Bishop to come out and say that the governor is playing a divisive role is very wrong and unacceptable and we reject that kind of allegation.
“Since Governor Ishaku became the governor of this state, he has ensured that Christians remain united and during his campaign, there was no church that the governor did not visit all in the bid to work with every religious group,” Dan Abu expressed.
In his reaction, Rev Doppah described the claims by Bishop Yohanna as baseless, saying his church was not using the United Methodist Church name illegally.
According to him, the Southern Conference of the United Methodist Church is a duly registered organisation with the Cooperate Affairs Commission of Nigeria under UMCN, and as such cannot be described as a factional or renegade group of the United Methodist Church as claimed by Bishop Johnwesley Yohanna.
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