The Divine Mandate Pastors, a group of over 500 Pastors that worked for the emergence of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, has descended into crisis.
The peace that existed among the pastors crumbled on Sunday.
A leadership crisis suddenly split the group as the pastors met at the Pastoral Centre, Mile 50 Abakaliki.
The meeting became acrimonious when a faction announced the removal of Director Ephraim Ononye and immediately replaced him with Ifeanyi Igwe.
The Senior Special Adviser to Governor Umahi on Religion and Welfare matters, Abraham Nwali, attended the meeting.
Mr. Ononye was accused of general misconduct, unruly behaviour, arrogance, autocratic conducts, and hostility to members of the Divine Mandate Pastors, a group convened by Governor Umahi during the electioneering campaign and who worked for the success of the governor during the election.
In a resolution signed by some Coordinators in the 13 local government areas of the state, the faction also accused Mr. Ononye of failing to summon meetings since the 2015 general election.
But in a reaction, some of the Pastors loyal to Mr. Ononye, including Ukoma Nnachi(Afikpo South), Ogbonnaya Inya(Afikpo North), Agwu Lawrence(Ivo), Okike Lawrence(Ohaozara) and Alloy Ogah(Ikwo), said Mr. 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 religion and Welfare matters, Mr. Nwali, described the leadership crisis as a family rift.
‘’Since the divine mandate pastors were founded at the discretion of the Governor, there will not be reshufflement of any sort without his consent,” Mr. 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.
It was gathered that the pastors nearly exchanged blows at the meeting when the issue was being discussed prompting Mr. Nwali to hurriedly say a closing prayer to end the meeting.