A cross section of Methodist Church ministers at the 56th annual diocesan synod of the Umuahia Diocese

 Monarch seeks truce in Ibeku leadership crisis

Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia

The Methodist Church of Nigeria, Umuahia Diocese has advised the federal government to make proper use of the funds so far recovered from treasury looters by investing the huge amounts in establishment of industries to create job opportunities for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.

It gave the advise in a communiqué read by the synod secretary, Very Rev. Evans Onyemara  at the end of the 56th annual diocesan synod held at All Saints Methodist Church Amuzukwu, during which participants discussed pertinent national issues.

The issues that engaged the attention of the synod, which was chaired by the Archbishop of Umuahia Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Raphael Opoko, included economic recession, political instability, social disharmony, religious extremism, disarray of families,” among others.

The synod said that it was impressed by the success so far recorded in the anti-corruption war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration with the adoption of whistle blowing policy “which has occasioned the recovery of billions of dollars looted and dumped at shallow graves, dustbins, lodges and other hidden places.

“Synod calls on the government to sustain the effort and use the recovered funds to establish industries that will give employment to the teeming Nigerian youths while culprits who are economic saboteurs are prosecuted,” the church said.

The synod, which comprises the clergy and representatives of the laity from the component churches that make up the diocese, said that the “aggressive fight against corruption and zero tolerance for corruption” that has become the signature of the Buhari government was commendable.

It assured that the church would continue to pray that “this fight against corruption should be sustained without respect to sacred cows”.

On the insecurity posed by the marauding herdsmen the synod decried the apparent treatment of the issue with kid gloves and called on the federal government to “to checkmate the incessant killing of innocent Nigerians in some parts of Benue State by Fulani herdsmen.

 “Synod observes with great dismay that the menace of the cattle and herdsmen are causing intolerable food insecurity, hunger, traffic obstruction that leads to road accidents and loss of lives,” the communiqué said, adding that the federal government should compel cattle owners to establish ranches whenever they operate.

The move by the federal government to scrap the Faculty of Management Sciences of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), was roundly condemned by the Umuahia diocesan synod, saying that it was saddened by the move.

“This single federal tertiary institution in Abia State is now under threat because of the recent move by the FG to delist some non-core agricultural courses without recourse to the effects on staff, students and parents,” the synod lamented.

It regretted that the onslaught on MOUAU academic programmes was coming after the recent town hall meetings with both the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, respectively, during which Abia people made passionate appeal for a conventional federal university and federal polytechnic in the state.

Archbishop of Umuahia, Most Rev. Dr. Raphael Opoko, who chaired the 56th synod, further explained the stand of the church on the anti-corruption war, saying that those that piled up huge amounts of money in hidden places were engaging in economic sabotage.

“Corruption is endemic, corruption is destroying the nation and it is (indeed) absolute madness in this country hence all Nigerians must join hands and fight this menace,” he said, adding that “the fight against corruption must be total, holistic and unbiased.”

In another development, as heavy weight politicians take sides in the leadership crisis rocking the Ibeku Egwuasa Development Association (IEDA), the traditional ruler of Ibeku clan, Eze Samuel Onuoha, Ogurube IV has urged the contending parties to embrace peace and unity.

Speaking at a press conference in Umuahia the monarch regretted that politicians have factionalised Ibeku clan, which hosts the capital city of Umuahia, adding that the December 26, 2016 IEDA election should not have led to disunity.
Ibeku, has been embroiled in leadership crisis following the emergence of two President-generals, Mr. Emeka Enyeazu and Princewill Ukaegbu.
Each of the PG enjoys the backing of top politicians with some PDP politicians throwing their weight behind Enyeazu while Ukaegbu is allegedly backed by APC chieftain, Prince Benjamin Apugo and other APC politicians of Ibeku.

But Ogurube IV, who mounted the throne of his ancestors 14 years ago, said that all stakeholders of Ibeku should come together and look into the issues causing division in Ibeku clan with a view to finding a lasting solution.
“I urge all Ibeku people to come together, sink their differences and work for the peace and progress of Ibeku clan,” he said.

On the alleged rift between him and Senator Theodore Orji, the Ibeku monarch said that he has a robust relationship with the Senator representing Abia Central, whom he described as “a true son of Ibeku and a well respected leader.

Eze Onuoha noted that Senator Orji did for Ibeku people what no other governor had done for  them hence he deserved every respect by all Ibeku people, adding that “we will support any president general that enjoys the blessings of Ochendo.”