The Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim, a venerable religious organization with roots dating back to 1925, finds itself embroiled in a controversy that raises serious questions about its leadership. Founded by the revered Praying Father Saint Moses Orimolade Tunolase, the organization’s primary mission has always been to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ and foster a deeply spiritual Christian life, emphasizing unity and orderliness. The Cherubim and Seraphim Church, known for its rich spiritual heritage and commitment to community service, has historically been a symbol of unity and faith for millions of Nigerians home and abroad in the diaspora. However, recent developments have given rise to internal disagreements over the rightful leadership of the church.
The organization derives its name from the belief in heavenly orderliness, mirroring the celestial hierarchy among angels. Throughout its history, leadership has played a pivotal role in maintaining this order and guiding the faithful. A lineage of distinguished leaders has upheld the values of faith and unity, steering the organization away from discord and division.
Historical leaders like Baba Aladura Abraham Williams Onanuga (1933 – 1946), Baba Aladura Samuel Amodu Adewunmi (1946 – 1957), Baba Aladura Josiah Soyemi Olugbusi (1960 – 1973), Baba Aladura Gabriel Ogunyadi (1973 -1985), Baba Aladura Godfrey Itse Mene Otubu (1986 – 2004), Baba Aladura Emmanuel Oludotun Okeyemi (2005 – 2010), and Baba Aladura Lazarus Onyeleonu (2011 – 2017) have all led the organization with exemplary devotion.
However, recent events have cast a shadow over the organization’s harmonious history. During the leadership of Baba Aladura Otubu, efforts were made to unify contending factions within the church. Notably, a reconciliation agreement was reached between MZGHQ Ebute Metta and Pearse Street, Tejuosho church. The agreement stipulated, among other conditions, the independent management of the church at No. 75, Ibadan Street (East) Ebute Metta, Lagos State, in accordance with a 1990 Federal High Court Consent Judgment (suit no FHC/L/48/86) which was later affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Despite progress on some fronts, the constitutional review process initiated during Baba Aladura Otubu’s tenure remained uncompleted after his passing. Enter the present Baba Aladura David Bob Manuel, previously the Secretary to Baba Aladura Otubu, who was intimately familiar with the previous agreements. Unfortunately, Baba Aladura David Bob Manuel chose to disregard these agreements, leading to a contentious period in the organization’s history.
Under his leadership Baba Aladura David Bob Manuel ably advised by the Church’s Advisory Board which holds notable names like former Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Engr Harold Demuren, Former Minister of Budget and Economic Planning Prince Clem Agba, Chairman Board of Directors EKEDC Dere Otubu, Magistrate Ukeje amongst many others, significant changes were made, including the appointment of a Deputy Baba Aladura J.F. Farinloye immediately after the death of the substantive Deputy Baba Aladura Adewunmi. This decision, though met with resistance from some youth members of MZGHQ, was eventually accepted.
However, in February 2022, Baba Aladura David Bob Manuel took further steps to alter the organization’s administrative structure, leading to the removal of the secretary and prominent members of the church’s executive committee. Elder Olofinnade was appointed to lead the church, causing significant controversy among both youth members and elders.
Baba Aladura Bob Manuel’s response to dissent was to issue a barrage of queries and take disciplinary actions against those who questioned his decisions. Despite attempts by well-meaning elders to mediate, he remained steadfast in his approach, even likening his authority in the Holy Order to that of the Pope in the Roman Catholic sect.
His refusal to relent resulted in a high number of dismissals within the organization, with over 427 members facing disciplinary actions. The situation escalated when members of MZGHQ sought legal recourse, fearing that if Baba Aladura’s decisions continued unchecked, it could lead to the decimation of the congregation. In a disturbing turn of events, Baba Aladura resorted to intimidating the church’s leadership with police involvement, causing further tension.
Most shockingly, he attempted to close the church during the 2023 Annual Adoption Anniversary Service, but the youth members intervened, leading to a police investigation and ongoing prosecution.The final straw came when Baba Aladura hastily secured a court order to seal the church again on August 28, 2023, through a vacation court judgment. These actions collectively paint a picture of a leader whose approach is increasingly perceived as authoritarian and despotic.
The question on everyone’s lips now is whether Baba Aladura is truly a praying father or a persecuting father? The leadership dispute currently rocking the Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim is a matter of grave concern for both members and the broader community. As the church navigates this challenging period, there is a collective hope that the values of unity, faith, and community service that have defined the church’s identity for generations will prevail, ultimately leading to a resolution that strengthens, rather than divides, this esteemed religious organization. As the organization grapples with these unprecedented crises in its history, the faithful await an amicable resolution to these troubling developments as they navigate a challenging chapter in their religious journey….