"Ensure that the unity of the church continues and keep to the restructuring programme of my succession."
Those were the last words of Baba Aladura and Prelate of the Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S), the late Dr. Godfrey Itse Mene Otubu before he died last Wednesday.
He was said to have cautioned against fighting in the bid to succeed him.
A competent source in the C&S top hierarchy told Daily Champion that the deceased Prelate, on a sick bed in his expansive Victoria Island, Lagos residence, warned his aides who were with him, against any succession struggle, upon his death.
The church, he stressed, must stay united and do its duty of spreading God's message to people of all nations.
The late Dr. Otubu was said to have reminded them to keep strictly to his 'structural reforms" which imbued any of Messrs L. A. Onyeleonu, E. O. Okeyemi, Dr. Babaye Bob-Manuel with the capacity to succeed the dying Prelate.
Qualities prescribed for the leading position include deep spirituality and high educational attainment, it was gathered.
Daily Champion also gathered that though in the order of seniority, Mr. L. A. Onyeleonu qualifies to succeed the late Dr. Otubu, but church adherents believe that "very old age" and low educational background may have ruled him out of the race.
Informed church members and leaders view Dr. Bob-Manuel as highly favoured to succeed Dr. Otubu, being highly educated, articulate, generally visible in church public relations matter and relatively younger than others.
At a media briefing yesterday at the church's Tejuosho, Lagos headquarters, after a crucial meeting the day earlier, the highest organ, C&S, the Advisory Board, vowed to continue with the late Otubu's restructuring programme to keep the church intact.
Secretary-general Dr. Bob-Manuel said: "We will continue with the restructuring. We are not going back on it."
Bob-Manuel, who also formally announced the death of Dr. Otubu, confirmed that sticking to the programme was one of the requests the Prelate made before he gave up the ghost.
"For some of us who were with him when he died, it was one of the things he asked us to do," he said, adding "he told us that he wants the unity of the church to continue."
On the burial date, Dr. Bob-Manuel, who was flanked by other church leaders, said the Advisory Board was yet to fix a date for his interment.
Presently, he said, the church leaders were consulting with the family, stressing that the date would be announced soon.
Daily Champion (Lagos)