By Steve Unegbu
The Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia diocese Most Rev. Dr Chibuzor Raphael Opoko has made clarifications over the avoidable confusion and misunderstanding that took place at Umuekwule Afugiri Umuahia North L.G.A ,Abia state during the burial church service in honour of the late HRH Eze Sir G.C. Adiele
Addressing Newsmen shortly after the church service , Archbishop Opoko described what took place as a misconception and misunderstanding .
He clearly pointed out that the prelate and the entire Methodist Church of Nigeria respect the traditional Rulers who are the custodians of the customs and tradition,hence there should be no reason to insult them.
According to him , ” His eminence in his preaching did not insult any traditional Ruler .
” His eminence respects traditional Rulers,we have come to bury our knight who happens to be a traditional Ruler and in our culture within the church and Christian cycle ,there is no community that is greater than God .
” God through His children has bestowed upon this man that died a knighthood of John Wesley and now that he is dead , according the church he would be put on with the knight dress , even though we knew he was an Eze before we elected him a knight.
” When you are knighted ,it is greater than anything you are , that is why the Prelate made a comment that the dress he should be put on is the knight dress and that it is greater than every other dress he was dressed on because he is a knight.
” So they should understand the context from where the Prelate was communicating from .
” The Prelate was not belittling the Ezes .He has respect for the Ezes and he was not talking to the Ezes rather in the context of the man who died.
” So what happened today should not happen at all “
Speaking further, he opined that,” even if the Prelate made a mistake,is it the way the custodians of the customs and tradition should react ?
” The fact is that some of them took it themselves personally without looking into the context of the statement .
” The Prelate will never belittle the traditional Rulers and we will never belittle the traditional Rulers.
” We respect our custodians of the customs and tradition and we also emphasis when you are coming in to be knighted as a traditional Ruler, you are told.
” So it is a misconception for some of them to believe that the Prelate slighted them .
” He did not ,so there is no apologies for any body because he is not indebted to anybody.
” The Prelate owns no body any apology , because he did not Insult them ,but was describing the situation that concerns his knight who passed on ,who happens to be a traditional ruler and that the dress they put on him was not a knight dress” he said
It could be recalled that the Prelate of Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Dr S K Uche had while preaching homily during the burial church service of the late HRH Eze Sir G.C. Adiele, the Uga III of Nkwoegwu autonomous community at his home town Umuekwule Afugiri Umuahia informed the family of the late Eze that their late father should have been dressed on a Knight uniform instead of another regalia and that according the church, the position of a Knight comes first before other positions the person occupies whether alive or death .
However,the traditional Rulers numbering about 50 who were present at the event felt slighted and insulted by that particular comment and consequently, all the Ezes stood up to walk out in protest which generated some level of confusion and controversy at the event,if not the quick intervention of some prominent sons of Abia state who succeeded to calm the situation down.
Still enraged in anger over the comment ,the traditional Rulers have demanded an official written apology from the Prelate for what they described as shocking, unbelievable and unimaginable insult to the traditional institution and Ndi Eze in general.