…Decry hunger, poverty and slow pace of development
Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital of Ebonyi state was still snoring in the slumber of slow pace of development both human and economic when the peace of the serene city was troubled by the huge crowd mainly women who trooped out from every part of the city armed with brooms.
Ordinarily many people thought that they were members of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN but on the second thought, they also realized there was no political activity in the state to call for rally in the state.
Like a wild fire, they were expanding and spreading, reaching out to all parts of the city chanting different songs both in Igbo and English asking for God’s intervention in the state and for demolition of the stronghold of the devil.
While the male were busy controlling the crowd from turning the peaceful protest to violent one, the women were busy with their brooms, sweeping front of the government house with the spiritual inward sign of sweeping away what they described as poverty and snail pace of development in the state since its creation on October 1, 1996.
These angry protesters according to our investigation turned out to be over 2000 members of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Diocese of Abakaliki led by one Evangelist Ephraim Ononye.
Irked by the slow pace of development and attendant suffering of the people of the state under the administration of Chief Martin Elechi, the Christian faithful led by Evangelist Ononye said they decided to stage the peaceful protest to call for a change in the state.
According to him, “Ebonyi is backward, among other states in the eastern region. Ebonyi State is the most backward state. In this state nothing is moving and people are complaining, people are crying, people are suffering; there is darkness in this state and we need light to shine.
“I demand that the government and the governed should embrace change. We want change that’s why we are going round this roundabout and I know that there is power in what we are doing; let the government govern the people with its heart”. He said.
Evangelist Ononye however decried what he called high level occultism in the state, adding that as a result of occultic manipulations in the state, the entire state had remained in darkness especially during the present administration.
As they marched through strategic locations in Abakaliki metropolis, traffic was obstructed as vehicles were seen driving slowly to allow the protesters the liberty of exercising their fundamental human rights. They also chanted choruses and brandished their brooms which they said symbolized spiritual cleansing of the state.
The leader also stated that the church decided to stage a peaceful protest so as to let the government know that it was no longer happy with the condition of the citizens of the state who are suffering under excruciating pains of poverty.
The Evangelist stated that the clergies in the state had commenced prayers for the liberation of the state from what he described as the forces of darkness and expressed hope that the exercise would produce positive results.
However, the protest took a dangerous dimension when the National President of Ebonyi Youth Assembly, Comrade Chinedu Ogar tried to stop the protesters from marching along the major roads in the state capital when he was resisted by the angry mob.
Daily Sun gathered that when the man arrived the scene of the protest and tried to disperse the over 2,000 protesters, they resisted it even as they were raining ‘Holy Ghost fire on him”
Probably over powered by the numeric power of the protesters and their prayers, Comrade Ogar quietly left the scene and ran for his dear life to avoid being lynched by the angry protesters.
He had earlier accused the people of obstructing the free flow of traffic in the state capital but was asked whether he had turned to a traffic warden which left him with no other option than to escape from the scene.
Comrade Ogar said “blocking the road is against the regulation… no, no, no that is not the way,” the politician contended but no one listened to him.
Daily Sun reported that in a swift reaction, the Ebonyi state Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Mr. Chike Onwe said the state government had been doing its best to ameliorate the sufferings of the people of the state.
Mr. Onwe explained that the task of taking the state to its desired destination was the collective responsibility and called on the Church and other organizations as well as wealthy individuals to complement government efforts.