Eze Imo seeks harmony between church, tradition

By Chukwudi Ikpe

Church leaders have been urged to ensure that cordial relationship exists between the church and traditional institutions.
The chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri, made the call in an interview with Christian Voice last weekend.
Eze Ohiri, who was commenting on the growth of Christianity, noted that the relationship between the church and traditional institutions has not been cordial, especially in Igboland, and blamed the gap on misconceptions, which he said, were wrong.
He, therefore, called on church leaders to carefully evaluate and appreciate the traditional and cultural practices of the people, stressing that there should be no conflict between the church and traditional institutions.
Eze Ohiri, who is also a Knight of St. Christopher, explained that the scriptures laid the foundation for cultural practices and believes that the traditional institution is absolutely transforming with Christianity.
“Cultural practices like blessing/breaking of kolanut as well as festivals like ‘Iri ji’ were introduced by our fore fathers, before the advent of Christianity.  They had problems when Christianity came.  But today we have embraced Christianity and we have made our cultural practices compliant with Christian practices.  Our forefathers used to call the names of deities while breaking kolanut, but today we call the name of the Almighty God, Jehovah, who we believe in, through Jesus”, the monarch explained.
He maintained that culture inculcates sound moral behaviours in children, and that peoples’ way of life should not be destroyed to avoid ugly consequences such as kidnapping and killing which are products of moral decadence among the young generation.
Eze Ohiri, who is the Traditional ruler of Obi Orodo in Mbaitoli Local Government Area, also debunked popular beliefs that traditional institutions were fetish.
“It’s not true it is only those that are outside.  I have done away with anything that does not glorify the name of God”, he clarified.
Eze Imo equally explained that “I am using my beliefs as a Knight and as a Christian to reform the Council of Traditional Rulers and we are making a headway.  Cultural festivals now start with church services in compliance with Christianity”.
He acknowledged that Christianity has made tremendous growth, though not without challenges but decried the rising number of fake prophets/men of God as well as the proliferation of churches.