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Kingdom Of Heaven Versus Kingdom Of Earth… Pastors Fight Over Chieftaincy Stool

The kingdom of God is no more sufficient for men of God as two Reverends fight over the chieftaincy stool of Opudere War Canoe House in Ogu, in addition to being priests in their church.
Opudere War Canoe House in Ogu, Ogu/Bolo local government Area has decided to test their claims in court, over the rightful person to be installed the chief of the War Canoe House.
Strangely, at the forefront of the legal battle are, a General Overseer and a pastor.
Rev. Kingdom-David Ebenezer, also known as Dagogo Ebenezer, founder and General Overseer of House of Power International Church located 17A Elechi Beach, Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt, and a pastor in the same church, Rev. Francis A. Ebenezer, have taken the war canoe house to court, asking for, among others, an order of injunction, restraining elder Clinton N. Olungwe from parading himself as the chief-elect of the Opudere war canoe house of Ogu, and also a declaration that Rev. Francis A. Ebenezer is the chief-elect of Opudere war canoe House, in suit number WHC/126/2011.
The General Overseer and his brother, Rev. Ebenezer, together with four others, sued Elder Olungwe, joining the Ogu Council of Chiefs and Ogu/Bolo local government Council of Chiefs, claiming among others, that Rev. Ebenezer was nominated by the Opudere House to become the chief, along with elder Olungwe, but that the later declined his nomination, leaving Rev. Ebenezer to be the sole nominee.
As usual with court cases, claims and counter claims were made by both sides tracing the history of chieftaincy in the house to suit each other’s case.
The reverend gentlemen have been fighting to ensure the installation of one of them as chief and the case has moved from an arbitration panel of the Loko Royal Group of Houses, known as Wari Nyingise, where they all belonged, to the Okrika customary court, the high court and in between, the Ogu Council of Chiefs and even the J.T.F commander.
At the customary court, the Reverends got an injunction to stop the installation of elder Olungwe as chief of Opudere House, but could not prosecute the case further, forcing the chairman of the Okrika Customary Court to say, “it is clear from the record of the court that since, outside the 1-6-10 when the learned plaintiffs counsel appeared and obtained an Ex-parte order restraining the defendants, he has become reluctant in diligently prosecuting this matter and has always found one excuse/another to seek for an adjournment. We want to reiterate the fact that this court is serious minded court where we come to do serious business and not where counsel come to ask for adjournments on the instructions of their principals who will not come to court.”
The order was however quashed at the High Court.
Earlier, the Loko Royal family arbitration panel made up of three intelligent persons each from six houses, excluding Opudere that made up the Wari Nyingise, four chiefs and another chief from a different War Canoe House, rejected Rev. King-David’s submission that Opudere has only two families and stated that there are four families.
The panel also said it was not true that Opudere has produced nine chiefs as the claimants stated and ruled that the chieftaincy stool go from family to family and that Ngofaka family be given the chance. Incidentally, Elder Olungwe is from Ngofaka family.
On his part, elder Olungwe in his counter affidavit, prayed the court not to grant the order of interlocutory injunction as the application was brought in utmost bad faith
He said as chief-elect, he has completed that stage, having been presented to Loko Royal Group of Houses and introduced to Ogu council of chiefs.
Elder Olungwe said he was selected as a chief-elect by the majority members of Opudere War Canoe House inclusive of the claimant’s family Head and was presented as chief-elect on May 9, 2010, and was introduced to the Ogu council of chiefs as the chief elect of Opudere War Canoe House on May 29, 2010.
Speaking with Tamunosiki Tiene, the secretary of Opudere House and the 6th claimant in the suit, he said no chief has been elected in Opudere House.
He said although Rev. Francis Ebenezer was nominated by the first and second class members of the House, there was confusion when it came to the general House as Elder Olungwe indicated interest.
Tiene said the Wari Nyingise never gave consent to anyone and that Elder Olungwe lobbied them to give the ruling. He said he agreed that Rev. Francis should be the chief-elect because the first and second class members which he is not a member gave it to him.
“Elder Olungwe is our brother and we respect him so much. He is a member of Amba family in Opudere. He is claiming Ngofaka and so cannot be a chief under Ngofaka family name. So if he comes to Amba family and say he is sorry, we will allow him,” Tiene stated in a telephone chat.
However, Rev. Francis Ebenezer the first claimant in the suit, said the matter is in court and would come up on Thursday, February 2, 2012 for them to move a motion for injunction restraining Elder Olungwe from parading himself as chief-elect.
“We are of the same family, but he decided to go to his mother’s family to take the chieftaincy title when she is already fully married to Amba family. If he comes to Amba family, I will accept him, but he said I don’t have the right to order him,” he stated.
Rev. Ebenezer said the police and the relations of Elder Olungere have cautioned him to no avail.
He said the Loko family gave their ruling on the basis that he has done much, to his father but it was not acceptable to him and other claimants.
“He should not parade himself as chiefelect. He cancelled the first meeting he called in 2008 and in the second meeting called on the last Saturday of August 2008, his cousin said family issues destroy Houses so instead let us bring someone that can rule the House. They said old people elected as chiefs die early and so I was nominated by his own younger brother, Igonibo Karibo. I was shocked. I didn’t bargain for it.
“Omiebi Bull said if Olungwe cannot have it, then it should come to me. I was confused. I called John Semeniworima of second class and told him I never bargained for it and I left for Okrika. While in Okrika, I received a call that Olungwe declined because I was nominated alongside with him and that his children advised him to do so.
“I talked with my fellow pastors and after lots of prayers I decided that if God wants it, so be it,” Rev. Francis stated.
Continuing, he said “chieftaincy has nothing against being a Reverend. You will not do anything devilish. Nobody libates now in Opudere House. Being a Reverend does not conflict with tradition.
“Tradition is not bad. It is only when you want to delve into devilish things,” he asserted.
He said his father helped Elder Olungwe and that he, Francis, paid for the rent of the house he was living fully and never owed Elder Olungwe, the landlord.
“He used to take money from me. I paid up to to December 2009 before leaving. I entered 1988. He told me my rent and I paid him,” he added.
Rev. Francis said it was during a Harvest meeting that Elder Olungwe said he wanted to be the chief and Omiebi Bull also swallowed his words.
“Their family took us to the council of chiefs and the chiefs asked us to resolve the issue but he went ahead to declare himself as chief-elect and so we had to go to court,” Rev. Francis stated.
When contacted, Elder Olungwe said it was not true that his own brother nominated Rev. Francis.
He also stated that both Amba and Ngofaka were illustrious women of the House and that he and the Reverends are of the same great grandparents and that he is the elder.
He said he is taking the title from Ngofaka family because it has been decided that Ngofaka be the next family to produce the chief and that is his maternal family.
On the alleged previous rejection, he said he was approached at the death of Chie Ebenezer, father of the Reverends to be the chief but he declined because there was an elder Gbobbo, who was later made the chief.
At the death of Chief Gbobbo, he was again approached, but he pointed out to them that the chief had not been buried.
Elder Olungwe also refuted the allegation by Rev. Francis that he called the meeting where it was decided that henceforth youngmen would be considered.
However, calls to Rev. David King did not go through, to hear his own side of the story. ####

Kenneth Amabipi

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