A group of Pastors raised during the electioneering campaign of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, almost exchanged blows at Abakaliki, Sunday, as leadership crisis rocked the body.
The group known as the Divine Mandate Pastors, said to be made up of over 500 Pastors suddenly descended into crisis following the ‘overthrow’ of its leadership.
The Pastoral Centre, Mile 50 Abakaliki,Ebonyi State, where they met on Sunday was said to have been thrown into rancorous state a faction announced the replacement of its Director, Ephraim Ononye, with Ifeanyi Igwe.
The Senior Special Adviser to Governor Umahi on Religion and Welfare matters, Abraham Nwali, who attended the meeting, was not spared the embarrassment as the “men of God” threw their callings to the dogs and engaged in fisticuff.
Ononye was accused of misconduct, unruly behaviour, arrogance, autocratic conducts, and hostility to members of the Divine Mandate Pastors.
A resolution signed by some Coordinators in the 13 local government areas of the state, the faction also accused Ononye of failing to summon meetings since the 2015 general election.
But in a reaction, some of the Pastors loyal to Ononye, including Ukoma Nnachi(Afikpo South), Ogbonnaya Inya(Afikpo North), Agwu Lawrence(Ivo), Okike Lawrence(Ohaozara) and Alloy Ogah(Ikwo), said Ononye remained the group’s leader and could not be removed by anyone except Governor Umahi who made him leader.
“Some disgruntled elements cannot impeach our leader Ononye because they don’t have the locus standi to do that. They did not elect or appoint him to lead us, it is the Governor who made him our leader that has the right to remove him,” they said.
They cautioned the group’s members to desist from politicking and concentrate on their duties as clergymen.
Addressing reporters in Abakaliki, the Senior Special Adviser to Governor Umahi on Religiou and Welfare Matters, described the leadership crisis as a family affairs.
“Since the Divine Mandate pastors were founded at the discretion of the Governor, there will not be reshufflement of any sort without his consent,” Nwali said.
“But from indications, there are lots of dissatisfaction in the system, good number of them are quite dissatisfied that since after the election they have not actually converged to sing, to pray or to even discuss their affairs.
“They feel like abandoned sheep without shepherded and that bitterness is what led to their protest against their leader during the meeting who they said they have removed.
“We have told them that since they are all partners in progress, they should remain calm until when the governor returns when he will interface with them.
“Because of that family discomfort, we will not give them the money meant for the empowerment of the poor in the state”, he said.