By NBF News

The baton of leadership of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria changed hands at the weekend, with the erstwhile Acting General Overseer and the new General Overseer charging Nigerians to stand in the gap for the nation before God for peaceful free and fair elections in 2011.

It was at the opening of the 55th annual national convention of the church on Sunday at Ajebo camp, Ogun State where Rev. Felix Meduoye, hitherto the District Overseer of Akowonjo, was inaugurated as the new General Overseer of the church.

He took over from Rev. G.O. Ebojie, who has been in the office in acting capacity since the tenure of the previous G.O, Rev.W. Badejo lapsed last year.

Both Meduoye and Ebojie, in interviews with journalists shortly after the inauguration, dismissed fears of things going awry with the country in next year's election, but stressed that the nation needed to be prayerful and supplicate to God to emerge stronger from the polls.

The church leaders, however, advised politicians to play the game by the rules and not see politics as a do-or-die affair.

Rev. Meduoye said the church, as a spiritual body would remain neutral, but noted that it had a duty based on spiritual injunctions, 'to pray for our leaders and the nation.'

On 2011 polls, he was optimistic that 'it will be well with Nigeria '.

On the envisaged challenges of leading God's flock, the new G.O hinted that there might be different approach to how the 55 years old organization is run.

His words: 'There will be obvious challenges, one, this is a 55-year-old organization which has been led by quite a number of people. Number two, given that two people are not exactly the same, that means that things may have been done in the past that may not be done in exactly the same way again. People may not understand, but, we will try and make them understand how the spirit of God is leading us.'

He revealed that it had not been all that smooth, with the movement, but stressed that ' we have to be united,' adding, 'when we're positively united, we'll achieve our goal.'

He saw his call to lead the church at this time as 'an awesome experience because of the fact that this is a work with God Almighty… We only give glory to Him.'

Ebojie, who preached the opening sermon appreciated the support of God, past and present leadership as well as the laity, which, he said, saw him through the period of shepherding the church.

He called on all to live a righteous life, saying:  'As a church, we represent the light of God  to the society. So, we must live aright.'

On the 2011 polls, the clergyman enthused: 'I see us passing through it as a greater nation.' Earlier, at the opening/inauguration service, the congregation had ushered Meduoye and his wife to the podium with a thunderous ovation, as Ebojie, who is also the church's National Secretary, proclaimed: 'Behold your new General Overseer.'

The couple was later surrounded by the church pastors and elders who prayed for a successful tenure for Meduoye.

The event also witnessed a concert in which young and adult choristers entertained an ecstatic audience drawn from the various branches across the federation.

The five-day retreat which has 'In His Light,' as theme will be rounded off on Saturday.