RCCG pastor didn’t endorse Osinbajo at our event –Group

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THE Convener of the New Era Political Movement, Dr Fatonji Stephen, has refuted a widespread report that the Head of Politics and Governance of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Timothy Olaniyan, had endorsed the candidacy of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for the 2023 general elections.

Media reports (not The PUNCH) had quoted Olaniyan to have said that Osinbajo is not only a Pastor but also a child of God that could change the narrative of governance in the country at an event organised by New Era on Saturday in Lagos.

Amid the widespread criticism which followed the report, a youth Pastor with the RCCG, Dr Oche Otorkpa, called for Olaniyan’s removal as the Head of Politics and Governance.

In his response to the allegation in a statement on Wednesday, the convener of New Era noted that Olaniyan was quoted out of context as he did not campaign for any politician at the event.

He said, “Over the years, there is an erroneous belief that politics is a dirty game. Therefore, God-fearing persons should not be involved. To correct such an impression, we invited a Pastor (Pastor Timothy Olaniyan) and an Islamic Scholar (Dr. Sidiq Uthman) to enlighten Nigerians on how God-fearing people can get involved in politics, as we believe that the majority of the current leaders do not have a fear of God.

“Otherwise, how can a political office holder go home with mouth-watering millions of naira but find it difficult to pay N30,000 minimum wage to a citizen? We also invited a professor of politics (Professor Odion Sylvester) to act as the neutral voice. The three speakers spoke objectively, without inciting any religion against the other.

“In his address, Pastor Timothy Olaniyan advised Nigerians to reject politics of money and elect credible people into political offices (he did not mention anybody’s name). After his speech, a participant asked whether Vice President Osibanjo could still be addressed as a true pastor after his involvement in politics. In response, Pastor Timothy Olaniyan said based on his personal knowledge of the VP he could still vouch for him as a man of integrity and concluded that there is nothing wrong for Christians to participate in politics.

“As he was leaving, the two journalists present at the event followed Pastor Timothy outside the hall to ask more questions. The news headline the following day was a big surprise to us in New Era, as no speaker campaigned for any politician at the event. Pastor Timothy only defended the person of the Vice President based on the question asked; he did not campaign for him. The fact is this: Pastor Timothy Olaniyan was completely quoted out of context, for reasons best known to the journalist.”

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