Bishops at War at UMCN
‘Johnwesley Should Explain How Two Bishops Died Under His Watch’- Rev. Dopah
The Director Connectional Ministries, Southern Conference of United Methodist Church Bishops court Lankaviri Rev Philip Micah Dopah has faulted claims by Bishop Johnwesley Yohanna, Jalingo resident Bishop of a UMCN accusing Governor Darius Ishaku of being responsible for the continued crisis in the UMCN church in Taraba.
In an exclusive interview with Taraba Truth and Facts Newspaper, Rev Doppah said its satanic for Johnwesley who was not properly elected as a Bishop for the state to make such statement because the crisis predated Governor Ishaku administration.
“And we want the people to know that for John Wesley to accuse Governor Darius Ishaku over the UMC saga shows that he is not a truthful and sincere bishop who is not fit to lead the church of God. He is the architect of all problems in UMC and people should be informed about his atrocities and disregard his allegations against the governor.”
Bishop Johnwesley Yohanna, 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 fueling crisis in the church.
Also Senior Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan-Abu, described the accusation by the bishop as frivolous and untrue, noting that
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.
Read Rev Philip Micah Dopah full interview below
Johnwesley Should Explain how two bishops died under his watch- Rev Philip Micah Dopah
What is the true position of the situation in the United Methodist Church of Nigeria, (UMCN) and reaction to the Jalingo Resident Bishop Johnwesley Yohanna saying the government is sponsoring you sir?
You know I am a Christian and the bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the truth of the matter is for someone to blame Governor Darius Ishaku on crisis of UMC I considered it as evil and ungodly. The crisis in UMC started in 2003 and in 2003, this same person that is parading himself as bishop now formed a rebel group in the church named Concerned United Methodist Church that terrorized late Bishop Doni Isiaka Diabale, our first resident Bishop and when the rebellion continue and they demand that the Bishop must go, all of a sudden on August 25, 2006, the Bishop died mysteriously and he was said to have been poisoned and that was during the administration of Governor Jolly Nyame.
After that, another Bishop was elected in 2007 by name Bishop Kefas Mabula, and the new bishop lived for only ten months six days after he was elected and the same person terrorizing the church then was this present Johnwesley Yohanna when Bishop Mabula died. We lost two bishops when Wesley who is the then leader of the rebellious group was terrorizing the church. Meanwhile when Jolly Nyame was the governor and because of the activities of John Wesley specifically in April 2015 there was a fight that broke up in Jalingo leading to the deaths, so many houses were burnt and lives were lost through the activities of John Wesley and Jolly Nyame administration closed down our cathedral for six months until when the council of bishops intervened.
So after the administration of Jolly Nyame, Danbaba Suntai came on board and during Danbaba’s tenure, we organized election and three conferences from Nigeria supposed to have gone to Sierra Leone for election, but only one conference out of the three conferences went and only three pastors including John Wesley and three ladies went to Sierra Leone and eventually they returned him that he is the bishop of UMC and we say no to it and even prior to the election, we went to our regional body to report him that the manners and ways in which he emerged was faulty as 314 delegates were supposed to have participated in his nomination during their conference but eventually 557 people participated in the nomination and we told them that even in circular politics such cannot be allowed to stand, what more of the church of God.
Then, late Governor Suntai when he learnt that John Wesley was returned as bishop and considering his attitude of formatting crisis in the church , he said that as the chief Security officer of the state he would never allow any of his citizens to die in church crisis and he said that the purported election, when he wrote to the Council Of Elders And Bishops, that the process that produced John Wesley have been nullified, and when the Governor nullified the election, he was of the opinion that election would bring confusion in the state should the election be allowed to stand. He was on the verge of following up the matter to restore normalcy in the church when his unfortunate plane crash happened.
After him, other administration supported John Wesley based on tribal affiliations , our cathedral which is under lock and key now was reopened for John Wesley, using all the security outfits in the state to chase us out of our cathedral and that of the secretariat.
Then Governor Darius administration came onboard in 2015, before then he had promised that when God help him become the Governor, he would do everything possible to ensure peace and normalcy returns to our state, especially the UMC. So, acting on his promise after becoming Governor, he now gave the assignment to our late CAN chairman, Rev. Ben Ube, who was chairman of the peace committee, and they invited both of us. After hearing our side of the story from opinion leaders in the state and they now came up with three solid recommendations on what the government should do bring an end to the crisis in UMC and one of the recommendations was that each of the three conferences be given archbishops for it to rest and secondly, if council of bishops would not support one bishop, let the two conferences go with bishop Wesley and then our conference be given a bishop. And the third recommendation was that since John Wesley was the architect of the problem in UMC, he should be transfer outside the country because he cannot be a judge over his own matter.
After the three recommendations, the Governor now called me that here are the recommendations and we accepted that we have no problem with them but John Wesley refused. After that, Governor Darius summoned us and formed UMC committee from both sides, members were drawn from our side and Wesley side and formed them as a committee to come up with recommendations and the person that chaired that committee, which was a member from Wesley side was Danladi Baido, who is now the member representing Ardo-Kola, Karim and Lau constituency and the secretary of the committee was from our side Dr David Kassa and the committee also came up with their recommendations that the manner in which John Wesley emerged as bishop was questionable and faulty, but for peace to reign, we from the southern conference agreed and came up with 13 points agenda to ensure lasting peace in UMC and allowed the recommendation be followed for peace to reign, again, John Wesley maintained that CAN was biased and the committee was also biased.
After that, in his bid to ensure peace, the Governor also summoned then CAN acting chairman Innocent Solomon, the President of CRC-N, and the present National Vice Chairman of CAN, Rev. Caleb Ahima and the Anglican bishop of Jalingo diocese and gave them assignment that they should see to it that they intervene in this matter for peace and normalcy to return to the church and yet John Wesley refused because he is making money from Church and he has virtually gone to all police stations calling us breakaway, we are this and that, just to present us as the bad eggs. And what we did in our wisdom, we went to the Corporate Affairs Commission CAC, since our regional body has been dissolved itself into Central, Southern and Northern conferences of the church and we approach the CAC to get a backing and cover, so we registered with the name Southern Conference of United Methodist Church.
If he is talking about the issue of court matters, when governor Danbaba gave the order that the election have been suspended, we now went to the Federal High Court in Jalingo, and the judge being a Christian look at the matter, he said no once can fight on behalf of God and he now declined jurisdiction and declining of jurisdiction by the judge of the federal high court is what they are taking as court ruling on the matter. So, definitely, with what I have told you now, for someone to blame Governor Darius after Jolly Nyame, Danbaba Suntai and UTC and Danladi Sani Contact, let’s fear God, there is no iota of truth in his claims.
There are allegations that the Governor have been funding you and then using state resources to fight him. How true are these allegations?
That is not true. The truth is the Governor has never shown biased interest in the case, what will he gain from doing that, this is purely a church affairs. Government intervention has been to protect lives and properties which includes UMC members. The governor supports all religion organizations in the state which include Wesley himself, So, for him to say the Governor is funding us, he was just being mischievous and just whipping up sentiments to attract sympathy for himself and his group.
So, with his allegations what do you want the people to know?
Basically, what we want the people to know is that UMC leaders in the West African Central Conference, all we want from them is to come to Nigeria and do what is better to douse these tension by allowing us to elect our own bishops, we are capable and mature enough to elect those who lead us and single out the southern UMC out of the three conferences and allow us constitute our committee and give them our recommendations which would be endorsed by the state government and CAN which is a neutral body in this whole set up and allow it be implemented for peace to reign.
And we want the people to know that for John Wesley to accuse Governor Darius Ishaku over the UMC saga shows that he is not a truthful and sincere bishop who is not fit to lead the church of God. He is the architect of all problems in UMC and people should be informed about his atrocities and disregard his allegations against the governor.