Popular Onitsha-based Prophet, Chukwuemeka Ohanaemere Odumeje has tendered unreserved apology to the people of Awka, Anambra state capital over hurtful statements he made in viral videos on their mode of worship.
The controversial cleric popularly known as Odumeje also apologized to the people of Arondizuogu in Imo state for allegedly vowing to put a stop to the Ikeji festival of the community.
Odumeje in separate viral videos in April, also allegedly attacked Arondizuogu people, describing them as fetish, just as he attacked one of their prominent sons, Pericomo too.
For Awka, Odumeje described their masquerade festival, Egwu Imo Awka as being fetish and a means of worshiping monkeys, which is the symbol of the god.
In one of the videos, Odumeje was seen boasting that if he came in contact with the monkeys worshiped by Awka people, he would destroy them.
Though Odumeje’s community, Orsu in Imo State had written to the communities involved, tendering apologies, he had maintained silence, with more videos where he attacked the communities trending on the social media.
But in a statement issued on Saturday by the pastor himself, Ohanaemere described the people of both communities as peace loving who he claimed to had known and shared fellowship in his church over the years.
He however said the experience had thought him that ungaurded utterances with divisive tendencies needed to be checked.
The statement partly read, “My attention has been drawn to the publications on social media over the alleged face-off between me and the good people of Awka and Arondizuogu communities in Anambra and Imo state respectively.
“In the said posts, I was potrayed as declaring war on the people of these communities and their respective traditional festivals and beliefs, It was also alleged that I had vowed to destroy Imo-Awka festival and put a stop to the Ikeji festival of Arondizuogu.
“Consequently, upon the above, I wish to acknowledge that the people of Awka and Arondizuogu Communities are peace loving and I have over the years come to share fellowship and service in church with a great number of them.
“These two communities and their renouned indegenes have been known and recognised as major contributors to the development of their states, Igboland and the nation at large.
“Awka and Arondizuogu communities have produced great men and women of integrity and pedigree and have always remained at the top of great sons and daughters of Igbo land.
“Against this backdrop and with every humility as a Servant of the Living God, I sincerely apologise to the great people of these two communities, to the entire people of Igbo land and to my Elders for my utterances.
I will not make any attempts to justify my statement as even I can see that it is hurtful in all its ramifications. “I also want to specially apologize to the family of Mazi Pericoma of Arondizuogu who I understand until his passing was a diligent servant(Evangelist) of God.
I apologise and put it on record that this experience has thought me that words that speak any form of divisive conversation amongst our people MUST be checked.
This is a time for unity, love and unwavering support for each other.
“Similarly, I lend my voice to the directives of the federal and state government in observing all the COVID-19 protocols, while waiting on the Lord for the end of the pandemic.”