Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams is in the news again for the wrong reasons; he is reported to have delved a big blow to Pastor Mensah Otabil of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) by taking over the venue of the ICGC annual 31st December watch night service dubbed ‘Crossover’.
National Security sources have corroborated reports that though Pastor Otabil had booked for the Independence Square and paid for the venue some five months ago, the government has taken over the venue and given it to Duncan-Willaims, who is also happy about it and busily advertising to use the place for his church’s end-of-year watch night.
Not only has Duncan-Williams taken over the venue Pastor Otabil had been using for close to a decade now, but he has named his 31st December service ‘Passover’, quite similar to Otabil’s annual ‘Crossover’ service.
Pastor Otabil has, for close to a decade, consistently used the Independence Square for his yearly watch night service.
Due to the growing number of the congregation, ICGC decided to book the Accra Sports Stadium and the Independence Square for the 2011 service just as it did last year.
But after paying for the venues some five months back and running commercials advertising the service for both venues, Pastor Otabil announced to his congregation two weeks ago that the National Security had informed him that the Government of Ghana would be using the Independence Square for a “national event” on December 31 and therefore the church would have to hold the service at the stadium.
ICGC subsequently withdrew its commercials advertising both venues and replaced them with new ones that said the service would be at the stadium.
The so-called “national event” has turned out to be the watch night service of Duncan-Williams as he has started advertising that this year, he would be having his end-of-year service at the Independence Square.
“We had order from above that Duncan-Williams says he wants to shift his service from El-Wak stadium to the Independence Square so we should ask Otabil to hand it over to him and that was exactly what we did.
In the security service, there is something called obey before complain,” a National Security source noted.
The news comes as a surprise because Mensah Otabil’s annual 31st December Crossover Service has almost become an institutionalized event held at the Independence Square for the Christian community and a fellow pastor who wants to use the same venue is expected to have known better.
Another issue of concern is that the several thousands of persons that turn up for Otabil’s Crossover can simply not be contained at the Accra Sports Stadium, considering the fact that even when both venues were used for the 2010 service, they got filled.
What is not yet clear is whether or not Duncan-Williams was aware that Mensah Otabil had always used the Independence Square and had actually started running adverts for this year’s event.
Duncan-Williams has over the years stirred a lot of controversy.
News recently went round that he had employed Dr. Ekwo Spoi-Garbrah as the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Action Chapel International Church, perhaps one of the few churches with a CEO.
There was also a report that Duncan-Williams had said he used a type of perfume that was not sold anywhere in Ghana.
Again, Duncan-Williams divorcing the mother of his children, Mama Francisca, and his new marriage to an American beauty by name Lady Rosa Whitaker, is still fresh in the memories of news followers.
A News-One Exclusive