By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
AFTER his initial unrepentant posture and daring anyone to stop him from marrying his younger sister, Mr. Chiadikobi Ezeibekwe, the 25-year old mathematics teacher at Community Secondary School, Isuofia, who by his action caused a stir at Ekwulobia, Anambra’s fourth largest urban town, has finally become sober, apologizing profusely to the entire community
To the surprise of everybody, Chiadikobi and his 17-year old sister, Chibuzo, a student of Federal Government Technical College, Awka, knelt before the people and did everything they were directed to do as part of the cleansing of the community from the taboo they committed.
In the heat of the sacrilegious marriage, Chiadikobi, whose immediate elder brother, Paul, conducted the marriage ceremony, justified his action, saying that as a Sabbath and in searching through the scriptures, he discovered that one could marry his sibling. So, he went ahead with the arrangement to marry his younger sister.
The marriage ceremony was observed inside their family compound at Agba Ekwulobia, which also serves as a place of worship for the family.
He had said earlier: “God told me to marry my sister and my sister also saw the same vision I saw earlier. There are places in the Bible that support such marriage. Those in doubt should read Songs of Solomon Chapters 4 and 5 and 1st Corinthians Chapter 7.
“What happened was that when we decided to get married, we told our parents our intention and my father asked us if we knew what we were about to do. I told him that we searched through the scriptures and that God sanctioned it. It was after this that our parents consented.
He had told Saturday Vanguard that since they took the decision, they had not felt anything unusual, or that they did anything wrong.
However, in the school where he is teaching, Chiadikobi admitted that he suddenly became an instant object of scrutiny as many people kept asking what led him into doing that, adding that he boldly referred them to the Bible.
But their distant relations and other people from the community objected to the idea and subsequently burnt the Sabbath Church close to their house where people thought the marriage ceremony took place.
Still taking a hard line position, Chiadikobi said the burning of the church did not mean anything to them because they had since stopped worshipping there before the marriage.
The issue took a different dimension when the traditional ruler of Ekwulobia, Eze Onyeneke and the Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia, Reverend Father Ignatious Onwuatuegwu, got involved in the matter and insisted that such a taboo should not be allowed in the area. They went to the father the children involved, Mr. Lewis Ezeibekwe and informed him of the likely consequences that might befall of his children should the marriage be allowed. That was when members of his family agreed to subject themselves to the cleansing of the action of Chiadikobi and Chibuzo.
On March 24, 2018 when the cleansing took place in the home of the Ezeibwkwe’s, Chiadikobi and his sister knew that the game was up.,
Apologizing profusely, Chiadikaobi said: “What we did is wrong and we committed an abomination. I feel pained in my heart. I did not do it because I was hungry for a woman or attracted to my sister; far from it.
“I apologize to everyone. I am very sorry for bringing all of you out here under the sun. Please forgive us. We have gone through the process of annulment and the marriage has been annulled Please accept us back as people of this community.”
His sister, Chibuzo, who could not speak much, also asked for forgiveness, adding however that “nobody knows what abomination is, except God.”
Part of the cleansing was the celebration of Mass in front of Ezeibekwe’s house Agba Ekwulobia by Rev Fr. Onwuatuegwu. He advised parents to always imbibe good virtues on their children, to avoid getting involved with things that could bring shame to the community.
Before the cleansing process, the eight members of the Ezeibekwe family knelt before the traditional ruler of the town, the traditional prime minister and elders of the community to apologize to the entire Agba Ekwulobia community..
The process also involved prayer of restitution and the family’s reconciliation with God. Items used for the cleansing were, water, salt, a lamb and seven palm fronts. After cleansing ceremony in the Ezeibekwe compound, seven virgins adorning white dresses, used the seven palm fronts to sweep the entire compound.
The Rev Fr said: “This issue does not concern only the family of Lewis Ezeibekwe. It also concerns the entire Ekwulobia. We are in a world that has disintegrated and this cleansing is therefore important for all us and the entire community.”
“We are here to do reparation for the sin that is already rampant in our society. It is also an opportunity for us to do reparation for Ekwulobia town.
“I am particularly touched by this boy Chiadi. When I came to Ekwulobia, I met him as a boy yearning for the things of God. He was the leader of the Block Rosary group, but here we are today to plead with God to intervene in his life. When I heard the story, I was taken aback. Only God knows why this young man got into this mess.”