Apostle Eric Essandoh Anim Otoo has been elected as the General Overseer of The Lord’s Pentecostal Church International, at the 58th General Conference of the Church. The 48-year-old Educationist and Theologian, who is the current General Secretary and Ashaiman Area Head of the Church, takes over from Apostle Richard Buafor, who has served as General Overseer of the Church for the past fifteen years.
Apostle Otoo was elected by more than 150 Apostles, Pastors, Prophets, Elders, and Leaders (APPEL) from all over the world, who constitute the electoral college of the Church.
The election of the General Overseer, which climaxed the 58th Annual General Conference of the Church, at its Divine Healing Station at Tokokoe in the Ho Municipality, was very peaceful.
Apostle David Khorbs, also a Theologian and Educationist and the Israel Area head of the Church, Rev John Nipah, a Chartered Accountant and the Batsonaa Area head of the Church, were the other contestants.
Apostle Otoo polled more than 52 percent of the ballot cast, making him the fifth General Overseer of the Church.
Apostle Otoo holds a Master of Philosophy degree in Religions from the University Ghana, Legon, a Bachelor of Theology from the Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Cape Coast, and a Diploma in Ministry from the Christian Leadership Bible Training Institute (CLBTS) in Accra.
In his acceptance speech, Apostle Otoo thanked conference delegates and all members of the Church for the confidence reposed in him.
He said he was aware of the onerous responsibility being placed on him and called on all members of the Church to keep praying for him.
He revealed that having served as General Secretary of the Church for the past ten years, “I know that this is a taller order and I cannot even attempt to say I am going to step into the big shoes of Apostle Buafor. I would rather consult him in formulating all my strategies”.
Apostle Otoo said he believed that his predecessor would serve as a fountain of wisdom “and I would call on him day and night for advice”.
Also elected at the ceremony, was Rev Gilbert Kogbe, the Nsawam Area head of the Church, who beat off competition from Rev Paul Sowu, Pastor-in-Charge of the Legon-Madina Branch of the Church, to become the fifth General Secretary of the Church. Rev Kogbe polled about 72 percent of the votes, while his contestant, Rev Sowu polled 28 percent.
Support from competitors
All the contestants pledged allegiance to the winning candidates and promised to rally their members and use all within their capacities to support the new team of leaders.
Apostle David Khorbs, one of the contestants indicated that “the work is God’s work and we believe God’s will must stand. The signal is clear that God’s choice has been elected to lead the flock and we shall do all we can to use our energies and prayers to support the work”.
“We have all worked together and we know the capabilities of Apostle Otoo. We know he can do the work and we shall support him to succeed”, he added.
Rev John Nipah revealed that “it is now our duty to rally behind the winning candidate, whom all of us are aware is very capable, to take the Church to the next level”.
Rev Paul Sowu also added that he would use all his expertise to support the new leadership of the Church, adding that, “we shall use all that we have learned over the years to support the new leaders because that is the only way the Church will grow”.
The full complement of Executive Council of the Church include, Apostle Eric Essandoh Anim Otoo, General Overseer-elect, Rev Gilbert Kogbe, General Secretary-elect, Rev Paul Sowu, Director of Missions, Apostle David Livingston Dzeble, Director of Operations, Apostle Daniel Wright Quarshie, Director of Projects and Special Developments, Rev Dr Chris Sokpor, Director of Finance, Rev (Mrs) Vida Agbo, Director of Christian Education, Apostle Benson Menka, and Prophet David Agyemang Badu, both Pastors’ representatives, Deacon Richard Ameworwor, Men’s Fellowship representative, Deacon Timothy Barazo Agbley (esq.), Member, Mrs Gloria Dometsu, and Deaconess Justina Teiko Amiteye, both Women’s Fellowship representatives.
Poor road network
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Apostle Richard Buafor, outgoing General Overseer of the Church, pleaded with the Government to “expedite work on the poor road infrastructure in the Volta Region, especially on the Accra-Ho trunk road”.
Apostle Buafor cited the poor state of the main trunk road leading to the Volta Regional capital Ho as a major disincentive to economic activity in the region.
“The average travel time from Accra to Ho is normally two-and-a-half hours. But because of the deplorable state of the road, it took many of the conference delegates several hours to make it to our Divine Healing Centre at Tokokoe, which is just 10 minutes’ drive from the main Ho town”, he said.
“The roads are so bad and I was wondering how come the contractors who scraped of vast portions of the roads are no longer on site. This does not bode well for economic activity in the region. I am therefore pleading with the Government to turn its eyes to the road leading to Ho”, Apostle Buafor appealed.
He noted that if the road network was improved, Ho was not too far from Accra and therefore the economy of the town would open up and businesses would create jobs to support Government’s job creation agenda.
Get rich quick attitude of the youth
Apostle Buafor also cautioned the youth of the country to desist from the “get rich quick syndrome and rather embrace hard work because there is dignity in hard work”.
He stated that in the past, people questioned anybody who became rich suddenly and started flaunting wealth.
“When we were young, society respected honesty and hard work. But those twin virtues seem to have disappeared and the young ones are now ready to engage in all manner of dangerous things just to make money and buy big cars and houses as if these material things meant everything”, he stated.
“Crime is on the rise because the society does not seem to care so much about how people are making money and we must discourage the youth from engaging in acts that destroy their future”, Apostle Buafor added.
Apostle Buafor commended Government for its efforts at fighting corruption but added that, “the only way corruption could become costly is when perpetrators are severely dealt with, in accordance with the laws of the country”.
“I know Government is trying, but the efforts are not far-reaching enough. When the wheels of justice grind too slowly and people are not being prosecuted and sent to jail for sometimes, broad daylight thievery of our taxes, then people would continue to engage in grand corruption”, he said.
He asked the Government to deal with corruption cases in the country without fear or favour, adding, “that is the only way this debilitating canker can be curbed before it consumes all of us”.
Founded 58 years ago, The Lord’s Pentecostal Church International currently has over 150 branches spread across three continents of the world.