Abeokuta, Nigeria — The number of bishops in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has reached an all-time high of 170. Past Primate of the church, Rev Jasper Akinola, left the number at 167 when he bowed out of the God's vineyard at the Archbishop's level a couple of weeks ago.
But the latest three additional ones, who were consecrated at the Cathedral of St Peter, Ake, Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, on Sunday, denied ever being members of any secret cult and never to be one.
Taking their oath of allegiance to Christ, among the other oaths of canonical and of submission, the bishops: Rev. Canon Samuel Ogundeji, Egba West; Venerable Oluseyi Oyelade, Ife East; and Venerable Abraham Akinlalu, Oke-Osun; vowed thus:
"I confess before God and His Church that I am not a member of any secret cult. I also vow that I will never join any secret cult; and I owe allegiance to no other but to the Lord Jesus Christ.
"And that my loyalty to Him will always be absolute; total and undivided. If I go back on this oath and vow, I put myself under the wrath of God, in the name of God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit," they said individually at the service presided over by Akinola's successor, Rev Nicholas D. Okoh.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Minna Diocese, Rt. Rev. Daniel, Yisa, charged the bishops to relate to the shepherds with open hands, without fear of favour.
He charged them not to bend the rule for the seemingly powerful, the Baba Ijo and the rich, at the expense of the weak. Of the weak, he implored them to support, seek the poor give to the needy, while quoting from the scripture to back his positions.
Yisa, who recounted his royal background to the Alake of Egbaland, in what seemed to be an exchange programme, said Obas too should be responsible and accountable to their subjects.
He urged the political leaders to always consider the interest of the masses first before theirs, contending that "many have compromised their position for pot of porridge, for money and because of influence."
At the consecration, which sees the structures within the perimeter of the oldest church in Nigeria almost bursting, the preacher admonished people aspiring to political offices to have the fear of God as their guiding compass.
Rhetorically, he asked the new bishops, who their God is, as he reminded them of Meshack, Shedrack and Abednigo. Hhe implored them to make God their God.
Yisa, who presides over the Diocese where the Governor, Babangida Aliyu, relishes being addressed as the servant leader said the concept of the servant leader is a derivative from the Bible
He asked whether people being addressed as such are indeed acting as the true servants.
His words: "When they are looking for peoples' vote and voice, they are servant leader, but when they get such mandate, they become overbearing, May God make these Bishops real servant leader."
Yisa added that it was regrettable that some Christians, especially Anglican members in political offices have been disastrous, pleading for a change of attitude.
He also urged them to know that all powers belong to God and that promotion comes not from the East or the West; neither does it from North or South but from God.
The ceremony was attended by the **Alake** and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, the Olubara of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade, the Osile of Oke-Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Adewale Tejuosho, and the Olu of Igbeinland, Oba Festus Makinde, among other traditional rulers.