By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
All is not well with the Christ Church Cathedral, Anglican Communion, Akwete, Ukwa Diocese, Abia State. The diocese is enmeshed in crisis as members are at loggerheads with the bishop, Rt. Rev. Samuel Kelechi Eze, over allegations of being a polygamist.
In fact, the members have banned Eze from conducting church services and presiding over the affairs of the church. They are also pushing for him to vacate the Bishop's House, his official residence.
The bone of contention, among other allegations the bishop was accused of, was that he was a polygamist.
Diocesan members alleged that he had two wives who lived with him in the Bishop's Court.
The attention of the Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has however been drawn to the crisis. The situation reached its climax when the Laity of Ukwa Diocese organized a protest against the bishop.
In a petition to the Primate, some members of the diocese urged him to intervene on the matter. In the petition, dated October 17, 2017, and entitled, ''Urgent need to intervene and save the Cathedral Church of Christ, Akwete, from certain doom'', the aggrieved members, in addition to accusing Eze of practicing polygamy, alleged that he dissolved the Church Committee that was duly elected and set up a 7-member caretaker committee.
He was also accused of running the Cathedral finances with a priest who had been transferred out of the Cathedral for eight years and that the bishop demoted and transferred the church's resident Canon.
Besides the petition, a three-man delegation from the diocese, led by an elder, and the 18th President General of the Joint Council of Knights, Anglican Communion, Chief Okere Eruba, visited the Primate in connection with the allegations.
Eze, however, denied all the claims against him. According to him, all the claims were trash; borne out of tribalism and selfish desires and wondered how a bishop would marry two wives.
The bishop said the matter was being handled by the Primate and warned that the issue could lead to serious litigations. This is even as he accused the Archbishop, Ikechi Nwosu, of the Province of Aba, of causing his travails.
Eze in his text read: 'This is a matter that the head of our church, the Primate, is handling and one that could lead to serious litigation. Everything they're talking is trash, borne out of tribalism and selfish desires and masterminded by the archbishop. How can a bishop marry two wives? I am out of the country now but will soon be back.
'I will like to have a word with you when I am back. God bless you. Bishop Eze.'
The Primate mandated the Aba Provincial Bishops, under the leadership of Archbishop Nwosu, to investigate the allegations against Eze.
In a White Paper issued on the report, Primate Okoh, according to sources, upheld the recommendations and Eze was, among other things, asked to be humble enough to own up to the depth of the relationship between him and Miss Gladys Chinazaekpere Nwosu, admit his fault and genuinely repent and reconcile with God.
Meanwhile, the Laity of Ukwa Diocese and some members of the diocese are not happy that the Primate has not been able to carry out the recommendations he allegedly upheld since January, alleging that nothing has changed in the running of the diocese.
To further show their grievance, they held a protest in Akwete, urging Okoh to remove the bishop.