On Friday, 26 May, it was reported that the presiding Chaplain of Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa – Lagos state’s official worship centre – had been fired. It would ordinarily not be much of a big deal since the church’s governing council effected their spiritual leader’s abrupt dismissal.
However, the report became a matter of interest when allegations of the Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode’s interference in the Chaplain’s sack became known. In fact, the governing council of Chapel of Christ had acted based on his orders. Punch newspaper reported that the Chaplain, Femi Taiwo had been”rude” to the governor’s wife, Bolanle Ambode while she attended a service, hence his removal.
The news report read in part, “No preference had been given to the governor’s wife during an anointing service, an action which had reportedly angered her and prompting her to storm out of the church“.
The source who spoke to the paper said the governor’s wife stalked out of the service on Sunday and on Tuesday, the entire church heard that Venerable Femi Taiwo had been sacked because he refused to anoint the First Lady before the ordinary people.
Yes, cheap blackmail according to the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde who reacted to the reports. He briefly explained that the Chaplain’s dismissal had nothing to do with the First Lady. Venerable Taiwo had been “queried many times in the past for conducts unbecoming of his office”.
The commissioner’s statement was not only vague but almost disputable considering the Reverend and head of the African Church, Ifako Diocese, Michael Adeyemi spoke to newsmen the following day accusing the governor of sacrilege and demanding an apology from his wife.
SACRILEGE: gross irreverence, violation towards a hallowed/sacred place, person or thing.
Online news medium, Premium Times dug deeper and found that Chaplain Femi Taiwo had long-standing issues with the church.
According to its report, the Chaplain paid an unauthorized visit to the First Lady in February and “schooled her on why he should be the “alpha and omega” on anything spiritual concerning Governor Ambode and his family.” He also made unimaginable demands from her while issuing subtle threats.
The First Lady reported the insolence to the church’s governing council and action was immediately taken that led to the chaplain issuing a written apology to First Lady, Bolanle Ambode.
“I write to tender a sincere apology to you on the matter surrounding our visit to Your Excellency recently…I am very sorry for any embarrassment our visit might have caused you and I plead you find a place in your heart to forgive“.
Contrary to previous reports that claimed the First Lady left the anointing service in anger, another source said the Chaplain “was openly disrespectful to the First Lady at the anointing service. Yet, the First Lady waited through it and never left in anger”.
In addition, the Chaplain’s behaviour may have been fed by the fact that “another person was made a Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Matters”, a position he believed was robbed of him.
The governing council of Chapel of Christ the Light have accused the Chaplain of having no respect for constituted authority and the Chaplain himself has yet to make any public statement since he moved out of the apartment provided by the state.
This is surely not the last of the controversy.