By Innocent Anaba, FRIDAY, 30th MARCH, 2001
LAGOS-FACTIONAL leader of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Rev. Josiah Owodunni, who is challenging the amendment of the church's constitution by its trustees yesterday asked the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to stay proceeding on the suit as he intends to go on appeal.
The court had earlier refused to grant Rev. Owodunni leave to institute the suit jointly in his name and that of CCC, rather ordering him to put the trustees on notice, though the court restrained the trustees from using the amended version of the CCC constitution 2000 for the purpose of swearing in the late Philip Ajose or any other person as the head of the church, the trustees had since challenge that order, contending that the court lacked the jurisdiction to make such order, as the suit was not properly constituted.
As yesterday hearing, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), counsel to Rev. Owodunni, asked the court to stay proceeding in the suit as he was going to the Court of Appeal to challenge the order of the court. The matter was consequently adjourned.
The church trustee had in a preliminary objection challenged the suit on the grounds that there are no competent plaintiff before the court and that there was no compliance to the condition precedent to warrant the granting of the orders sought by the plaintiffs.
The trustee further contend that the action was not properly constituted and that the relief asked for are not available to the plaintiffs.
Rev. Owodunni in an 11-paragraphs counter affidavit averred that "the action is a derivation action and is brought on behalf of the church to correct wrongs which are being committed against the collective interest of the church by the trustees."
He further averred that "the preliminary objection filed by the trustees is only an attempt to delay the timely determination of the issues in this suit."
According to his averment, that "he as a member of the registered trustee of CCC is in a position to bring this action to redress the wrongs against the church."
He averred that "on his own strength, he is entitled to bring this suit in his own name and that of CCC."
By Sam Eyoboka, FRIDAY, 30th MARCH, 2001
LAGOS-PASTOR of the Celestial Church of Christ Worldwide, the Reverend Phillip Hunsu Ajose, will be laid to rest today at the church's international conference centre, Imeko, Ogun State.
Pastor Ajose, whose solemn ordination was last December ratified in a Thanksgiving service on Saturday, February 24, 2001, at the Celestial City of Imeko, died barely a week after. There was an all-night wake keeping yesterday, as the body laid in state at the Celestial City.
In a tribute to the late Celestial leader, His Grace, Superior Evangelist Nosa Kenneth Amadasu, described the late Reverend Ajose as a diligent man of God who laboured to make everything in his own life a true reflection of life, especially in the manner he spread evangelism in Benin.
According to him, "Reverend Phillip Ajose's transfer to Benin City in 1961 was a divine act of God to enable him establish Celestial Church of Christ in Benin City.
"By this singular act, Phillip Ajose did not only give the Edo people the opportunity to rightly claim to be the first community to embrace Celestial doctrine in the then Western region of Nigeria, but was also sanitising as most street junctions in Benin at this time were seen as Satan's dinning tables because they played host to a myriad of ugly stinking and unsightly sacrifices of various shades and sizes."
The newly ordained lea-der of the celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Rev
Ajose who church sources died Friday night at the same Imeko
Those who saw him on Friday said although he was noticed to be ill,
He was ordained amidst controversy raked up by the succession crises
When THISDAY visited the Celestial Church Of Christ, Ogun state
The CCC head in Ogun State, Baba Oshin, confirmed that he was with the
Ajose in his inagural sermon penultimate Saturday, had told the
A factional leader of the church , Pastor Josiah Owoduni, had laid
The late Pastor Abiodun Bada who suceeded Oshoffa had his tenure
Ajose was nominated to succeed the late Bada last year and was
By Dickson Adeyanju and Ibe Uwaleke -- Wednesday, February 21, 2001
DESPITE ongoing court actions and injunction, the leadership of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), is set to instal Rev. Philip Hunsu Ajose as new head of the church this Saturday, February 24. Those challenging this decision in court, are driven by an obsession for power, the leaders have insisted. In a press conference addressed yesterday by some elders of the church, including senior evangelists, Olayinka Adefeso, and Samson Banjo, all members of Pastor-in-Council and evangelist Gilbert Jesse head, Nigeria diocese, they claimed that they had ratified the appointment of Rev. Ajose made by late Rev. A.A Bada. "And whereas, in consequences the Pastor-in-council unanimously ratified this appointment, it is hereby proclaimed that Rev. Philip Hunsu Ajose is hereby appointed Pastor of CCC Worldwide to the glory of God and of His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and shall henceforth be addressed as Rev. Philip Hunsu Ajose," the statement signed by the three members of the Pastor-in-council said.
According to them, the appointment of Rev. Ajose came as a result of the amendment of section 111 of the churchs constitution by the surviving members of the board of trustees which is endorsed and recognised by the Corporate Affairs Commission. They claimed that the constitution was amended after the Supreme Court nullified the appointment of Rev. A.A. Bada on June 30, 2000, forcing the trustees to amend the particular provisions for the appointment of the pastor which was endorsed by CAC on December 22 through a letter to the church. But one of the trustees, Superior Evangelist Josiah Kayode Owodunni disagreed. He is already at the Federal High Court, Lagos, where he is contesting the appointment and the proposed proclamation of Rev. Ajose on February 24. Owodunni, who claimed to be appointed by the Pastor-Founder, Rev. S.B.J. Oshoffa before his demise, is seeking an injunction to stop the proclamation of Ajose as the new pastor. His contention is that Ajoses appointment through an electoral college constituted by the three surviving members of the board of trustees known as Pastor-in-council, is not strictly in accordance with the churchs constitution, which the trustees claimed had been amended.
Superior Evangelist Samson Olatunde Banjo, the pioneer managing director of National Bank of Nigeria (NBN), who is a member of the board, together with Olayinka Afolabi Adefeso and Gilbert Jesse (head of Nigeria Diocese), Ajose was already named, proclaimed and installed as provided by the new constitution of the church before the current litigation. According to Banjo, several moves were made to reconcile Owodunni with the main body of the church without success. He said: "I can tell you that traditional rulers, political leaders, senior functionaries of the government and leaders, to the highest level you can think of, have approached him but he has refused to listen to anyone. "He is obsessed with being the pastor of the church as as it is now, only God, or let me say, only that divine intervention that can change his heart.
We are praying seriously for this divine intervention and that is why despite all that he has done, we still have him as a member of our board of trustees."
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- EPA Intern Program Information (The Time is NOW)], Jan. 19, 2001
As many of you know, the Environmental Intern Program (EIP) is a full-time, entry-level, permanent employment and career development program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This program accepts students from several different disciplines such as:
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To be eligble for this program, you must have the following: $ You must be a U.S. citizen and a college graduate with an undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.45 or better on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate course work, or have graduated in the upper 10 percent of your undergraduate class or major university subdivision. Any college major is qualifying for these positions. Graduate GPA or class standing cannot be used.
$ If you are qualifying based on graduating in the upper 10 percent of your undergraduate class or major university subdivision, you must provide official documentation from your college or university with your application. Major university subdivision is defined as a college/school within your university (e.g. College/School of Arts and Sciences). Documentation will be accepted if it comes from the Dean of your College or from the Registrar=s Office. Documentation from a Department Chairperson will also be accepted if the Chairperson verifies your standing within the College, not just within the Department or major course of study
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By Andrews Bayagbon
Elders and the Board of Trustees of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) yesterday confirmed the appointment of Superior Evangelist Philip Ajose as the new pastor of the sect after the demise of its former Pastor, Rev. Alexander Abiodun Bada, who died in a London hospital last September.
Ajose, who was named at a previous meeting held at Imeko by the church leaders, would be officially consecrated in February, though no date has been fixed yet.
However, the trustees and elders held a marathon closed-door meeting at the Makoko national headquarters of the church yesterday to deliberate on the modalities for the ceremony and also to officially present the reviewed constitution of the sect, said to have been approved by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Though none of the senior members of the sect could be reached for comment, a source close to the Head of the Nigerian Mission of the church, Superior Evangelist Gilbert Jesse, confirmed the development.
The meeting, which was attended by Ajose, Jesse Banjo Oguntesi and others, would also proffer the way forward from the impasse created by the Supreme Court pronouncements last year nullifying the leadership of Bada ab-initio.
Meanwhile, the church dissociated itself from an offensive publication (a pamphlet entitled - O ye Celestians, lend us your ears) in which the former pastor, Bada, was allegedly ridiculed.
Senior Evangelist Femi Ogundipe, Parochial Committee chairman of the Government Layout Parish, Gbagada Phase 2, where the publication purportedly emanated from, denied the parish's involvement in the publication, stating that the address the parish used on the front cover of the pamphlet was unauthorised.
Said he: "The publication by the group which goes by the name 'Concerned Celestians' can best be described as criminal and cowardly since the publishers were not bold enough to use their real names and addresses."
According to him, it was the handiwork of enemies of the parish who are bent on pitching the parish against the hierarchy of the church, adding that the ploy had failed.
He reiterated the parish's unalloyed co-operation with the policies of the church, stating that it had recognised and accepted the leadership of Ajose.
However, Ogundipe said himself, and Senior Evangelist Victor Olumofe of the same parish, were formerly members of the group which was established after the Supreme Court verdict nullifying the leadership of the late Bada who was then head of the sect worldwide.
"The intention of setting up the group then, was to create a forum that will mediate over the crisis then without being partial", he said.
He said he and Olumofe opted out after hosting a meeting at their parish when they discovered that certain members of the group had ulterior motives other than the ones for which it was set up.
Ogundipe said he joined the group representing himself, and not the parish, and having opted out, "they have no justification to use the address of the parish because at no time was it the secretariat of the group."
Throwing more light on the criminality of the action, the Vice Chairman of the Parochial Committee, Evangelist Afolabi Ogunetinoju, said the committee which was the highest organ in the local hierarchy, was the only authority that should approve the name of the parish being used for such publications.
According to him, members of the group had no fixed address and because they felt using the name and address of the parish would give credibility to the offensive publication, they "used it without obtaining our permission."
However, he said even if they had sought permission from the committee, such would not have been approved as it violated the beliefs and objectives that the parish stood for.
Some of the issues raised in the said pamphlet are the nullification of all appointments made by the late Bada, Evangelist Agbaosi and Josiah Owodunni, the abrogation of such ranks and titles such as "Most Senior Evangelist," "Assistant Pastor," and "Assistant Most Senior Evangelist" as introduced by the late pastor, adding that such titles were not recognised by the church's constitution.
Reacting to the criticisms, Senior Evangelist Niran Anibijuwon said Bada introduced such ranks according to the dictates of the time, saying that with the death of the Prophet/Founder, Pastor Samuel Bilewu Oshoffa, "the church does not have to be stagnated, hence because of the need for officers to assist the new pastor in dispensing his duties, such titles were created."
He also dispelled rumours that Ajose and Jesse were on warpath over who should head the sect, adding that the relationship between the two men had ever remained cordial.
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