THE biggest gift voters can give Enugu people this weekend is to join hands with the Obidients Movement, which drives the Labour Party, to vote out the controversial Ebeano political confraternity, the state branch of the National Network of Evangelical Ministers, NNEM, has declared.
“The Ebeano cult is like cancer, which has been metastasizing in Enugu since 1999”, the ministers stated in an unprecedented political statement signed by the state chairman, Reverend Peter Anikwe, the secretary, Pastor Ephraim Ugwu and the public relations officer, Pastor Ifeanyi Nnaji.
Accusing the Ebeano group of tremendous violence and greed on an industrial scale, the ministers noted that the only time Enugu has witnessed substantial progress since the return of democracy in 1999 was from 2007 to 2015 because “Governor Sullivan Chime heroically threw the desperadoes and bandits out of political relevance”.
The religious leaders expressed shock that outgoing Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuany brought the controversial confraternity back into the political process, despite the stiff opposition of Enugu leaders, including Father Ejike Mbaka of the Adoration Ministry.
Ebeano, a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was founded during the Chimaraoke Nnamani administration and has been fingered as responsible for the assassination on February 22 of Chief Oyibo Chukwu, the Labour Party, LP, candidate for the Enugu East senatorial district, with his body and vehicle burnt beyond recognition. Chukwu’s personal assistant, Sunday Igwesi, was equally incinerated.
The religious ministers claimed that it was in revenge against the rehabilitation of the “Ebeano cult that the electorate in the Enugu North senatorial district gave only 46,948 votes to Governor Ugwuanyi, but a whopping 104,492 votes to Okey Ezea of the Labour Party in the February 25 National Assembly election, thus becoming the only governor contesting for the Senate, who lost his polling booth, polling unit and ward in the whole country”.
The Labour Party clinched seven out of the eight federal constituencies in the state.
The NNEM expressed the hope that the “remnants of the Ebeano Cult will be flushed out in this week’s gubernatorial and state assembly elections”, recalling how the people in the Coal Camp layout of Enugu city last month chased away Senator Nnamani with sustained and energetic derogatory songs when he came to campaign for reelection.
The ex-governor could not come out of his vehicle, with all the police contingent with him, they said. He sped away after some 20 minutes in his vehicle.
“When another Ebeano member, Peter Mbah, went on Sunday, March 5, to campaign at the Ugwu Di Nso Pilgrimage Centre in Eke Udi Local Government where some 3,000 youths were having their annual Catholic Youth of Nigeria, CYON, Lenten Week”, recalled the ministers, “he was chased away in broad daylight, and the water and soft drinks he brought not only rejected, but also destroyed in full public glare by the youths who described the Ebeano Cult as dangerous”.
The evangelical ministers praised Catholic worshippers for thwarting the efforts of a handful of their leaders like Father Christopher Okechukwu of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Haven, Enugu, and Father Celestine Nwogbu of the Assumption Parish at Nkwo Nike in Enugu to campaign for the PDP candidate on Sunday, March 5, forcing Father Okechukwu to apologise profusely and explain that he was merely carrying out an order from above.
They asserted: “Enugu Catholics are toeing the heroic path of Catholics in Latin America famous for their liberation theology, Catholics in the Philippines led by Cardinal Sin who in 1986 drove away the corrupt and evil Marcos regime from power, and Catholics in Haiti who in 1986 also drove away the evil Duvalier regime out of power, as well as Catholics in Poland who helped to not only end the General Jarulziski communist regime in the 1980s, but also made Poland the first country in Europe to overthrow communism, leading a few years later to the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe, but also everywhere else in the world, except Cuba, Laos, North Korea, China and Vietnam”.
The ministers advised the PDP candidate to ensure that he utilises the N13 billion he borrowed from Fidelity Bank and the N3bn from Polaris Bank to finance Pinnacle Oil and Gas Company for which the loans were granted, rather than politics.
“All Enugu people”, they continued, “are appalled at the desperation he has been exhibiting for grabbing power, as though his life depended on it.
“We believe there is life after March 18,” the group said.