NewsAlleged N50m Scam: Ebonyi CAN Leadership Crisis Gets Messier

Alleged N50m Scam: Ebonyi CAN Leadership Crisis Gets Messier


March 02, (THEWILL) – Following the alleged misappropriation of N50 million Christmas largesse allotted to the Ebonyi State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) by its embattled Chairman, Reverend Scamb Nwokolo, the leadership of the association has been factionalized.

This is even as the splinter group led by Pastor Dr Aloysius Nweke Ogah, insisted that he (Ogah) is the authentic chairman of the association while other executive positions remain intact.

It would be recalled that the CAN officials, including the executive members, heads and directors of the five blocs that made up the association, in a communique issued and signed after their emergency meeting in Abakaliki on Sunday, maintained that Rev Scamb Nwokolo is their state chairman.

The Head of the Catholic Societies of Nigeria (CSN) bloc, Rev Fr Simon Eseni, who read the communique, pointed out that the association has no faction in Ebonyi and described Rev Scamb Nwokolo as the authentic Chairman in the State.

Eseni said, “The Executive members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi State arising from her emergency meeting held on Sunday 25th February 2024 deliberated extensively, noting that they have received with dismay the fictitious publication on the ‘Formation of Ebonyi State New CAN Excos and inauguration’.

“Ebonyi State new CAN officers have been published by the Citizens Advocate of March 3rd, 2024, signed by Pastor Dr Aloysius Nweke Ogah and Rev Dr Ogwale Ogwale Ogwale.

“The same misleading information was serially announced by the “Legacy FM” on 24 February 2024 while copies were circulated to many citizens of our dear state and beyond.

“CAN Ebonyi State officially notifies the Ebonyi State Government and the general public that the purported misleading information was frivolous and never emanated from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi State.

“The general public is equally notified that at no time was the newly elected and inaugurated CAN Executive of Ebonyi State led by His Eminence Rev. Dr. Scamb Nwokolo dissolved or caretakers inaugurated. Any elections of the State CAN are conducted by the National and Zonal bodies of CAN.

“The undersigned persons of the fictitious publication do not hold any portfolio in the Local Government, State or any of the five blocs of the CAN in Ebonyi State.

“The “locus stand” of the publishers “that strangers should not rule over their host” (Deut. 17:15) It is not only embarrassing to us as leaders of the Christian body in Ebonyi State but nepotic, clannish with pagan undertone as in Christ “…there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3: 28) “since Christ is all and is in all” (Col. 3:11).

“The public is equally notified that the authentic leaders of CAN whose names were used in the formation of the new purported state Exco were never consulted and had their names and portfolios impersonated. Again, to answer the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi State is equally not just an impersonation of the body of Christ in Ebonyi State but criminal.

“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi State passes a vote of confidence on the leadership of His Eminence, Rev. Dr Scamb Nwokolo, as CAN Chairman, Ebonyi State. Any person(s), or group(s) dealing with the fake body of CAN does so at its own risk.”

This ugly trend is coming up less than a year after the inaugural ceremony of the Rev Scamb Nwokolo-led CAN officials in the state.

Responding to the communique, the splinter chairman of Ebonyi State CAN, Pastor Dr Aloysius Nweke Ogah, described the communique as unnecessary, adding that Rev Scamb Nwokolo will never head the Christian body as his election was “null and void”.

Aloysius said, “The position of Ebonyi State Christian Association of Nigeria has been vacant since Rev Fr Abraham Nwali left office. One Scamb Nwokolo was illegally occupying that position which he had no right whatsoever to be there.

“He was said to be elected but as far as Nwokolo is concerned, was null and void. It was said that it was dead on arrival but in this case, it was dead before it ever arrived. Why? He is not from this state; he is from Anambra State and we have been saying that let Ebonyi CAN remain Ebonyi CAN.

“let it remain Ebonyi own, and Ebonyi State is the only state in this country where non-indigenes are not only in the CAN leadership structure but also trying to take over the whole leadership.

“From the time Ebonyi State was created in 1996, the chairman of CAN was first occupied by Bishop B. C. B Onyigbo from Anambra State, then Bishop (Dr) Onyenze from Imo State, then Bishop Akupusi from Abia State.

“At the end of Akupusi’s tenure, B.C.B Onyigbo wanted to come in the 2nd time, being pushed by this present Scamb Nwokolo, and we rose. We the indigenes rose up and said no and we protested, demanding that they should allow indigenes to rule the state as in other states.

“So, we went to Abuja where the national leadership sent Bishop Ajujungwa, who came and monitored the election. It saw Rev Dr Emmanuel Nshi of Assemblies of God emerge, which was the first time Ebonyi indigene became leader of Ebonyi CAN.

“At the end of Dr Nshi’s tenure, another election was conducted, this Nwokolo, who saw how we had stood our ground against non-indigene coming to lead us, went and mobilised both cash and thugs from Anambra and contested against Rev Fr Abraham Nwali.

“When His Excellency, the former Governor, Engr David Umahi, saw what was happening, he intervened and we campaigned seriously and Rev Fr Abraham Nwali became the 2nd Ebonyi man to occupy that office.

“At the end of the tenure of Rev Fr Nwali, Nwokolo came up for the third time and the election was done secretly on 13th June last year. It was not advertised either on the radio or the newspaper as everything about the announcement was done in blocks. We asked what he meant that an election involving an entire state Christian is said to be done in blocks.

“And in the first place, Nwokolo was not qualified to be there as a non-indigene, which he’s aware of how we feel. He said that he came from the Organization of African Instituted Churches, OAIC, block and our question is: ‘Are there no other qualified Ebonyi people to go for the position in OAIC as we know that there are professors, Archbishop, Bishop and all other personalities there?

“OAIC presented the wrong candidate in the person of Nwokolo and that’s why we are saying that the office is vacant and I took over the position because he’s not our chairman and never will be. If he said that he was elected, I said that such an election was null and void even before it was conducted because he has no locus.

“To make him Ebonyi CAN Chairman is not biblical, The Bible condemned bringing a stranger to head a people that are hosting him, Deuteronomy 17:15. Also, Nigeria’s constitution condemned it. Rt Hon Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru is a Governor of Ebonyi state today because he didn’t come from either Abia, Maiduguri or Imo state. He is a bonafide citizen of Ebonyi. As it is in the secular world, so it is spiritually.

“When we speak, they said ecumenism, ecumenism. Yes, it is ecumenism for a Christian to come together but you can’t go against the Bible principle because it is stated that you can’t head your host.

“Deuteronomy 17:15, ecumenism cannot cancel the Bible, Nigeria’s constitution does not support it, and even nature is against it. I cannot just rise and go to the Holy Roman Catholic Church or Anglican to head their leadership, it doesn’t happen.

“Nwokolo does not qualify to serve as Ebonyi State CAN Chairman, which he’s aware of as we fought it in his presence prior to the emergence of Rev Dr Emmanuel Nshi and Rev Fr Dr Abraham Nwali and he can’t bridge it, which will not work.

“Beyond this, Nwokolo and Anayo Ilo are terrible people, not only in CAN but even in blocks. He and cohorts manned a division in PFN and planted one Prophet Obaji against Wilberforce Otti and split PFN, and there’s trouble there.

“How can you be in other people’s state and all you do is cause division instead of making peace, which is not biblical? If you read Proverb chapter 6, you see that God doesn’t like such people bringing discord among his people.

“There’s a body called Indigenous Ministers of God Association of Ebonyi State, which I am the national president, but the same Nwokolo, Anayo Ilo and Rev Fr Nwali conspired to plant one Usulor, who have been making trouble and parading himself as the national president.

“During the administration of former Governor, Engr David Umahi, he called me and asked if I took those ministers to court. I was invited and after hearing from me, he asked that I withdraw the case and directed Rev Fr Abraham Nwali to look into it. Fr Nwali invited us in March 2018 but never gave a verdict. But in March 2019, he called Usulor and inaugurated him as the chairman against me. Thank God that the former Governor intervened and rebuked the move.

“We never knew that this divided to rule was a plan for Nwokolo to pave the way for him to grab power. Every other election conducted that day was legal but that of Nwokolo is an aberration because Nwokolo and cohorts are corrupt.

“Last Christmas, His Excellency, the Governor of the State, gave Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN Christmas largesse to the sum of 100,000,000 (One hundred million naira) and 1000 (one thousand) bags of rice, but he didn’t share up to twenty bags of rice, but took the remaining one to his Umunze town in Anambra State where he shared it and people were hailing him as a hero while ministers here in Ebonyi State celebrated Christmas on empty stomach.

“We are demanding that he should pay this money and we have written to the national office to inform them.

“Looking at some of these things, we cannot bear it any longer. Nwokolo was a vice chairman of CAN under Rev Fr Abraham Nwali and occupied the chair of head of block at the same time and always collected a double share of whatever was coming to CAN, including cars, for which he gave one to his concubine, and we are demanding that he returns it.

“So, we are no longer kidding. In 2017, in Anambra state, one Rev Dr John Ndubuisi from Abia State was elected as CAN Chairman and the same Nwokolo, alongside his group, protested until he was removed from office, paving the way for an Anambra indigene to hold the position, but he is here doing the same thing he fought in Anambra.

“All the members of EXCO who signed the vote of confidence were those who did not get the message we sent to them, but we have reached them to relay rightly what is happening. Any Ebonyi person rising up to deny what we are doing is a Judas Iscariot in our midst.

“We want to inform the general public that Ebonyi State has come of age and no more neo-colonialism, no more taking what belongs to us to another state. Since 1976 when CAN was created by Nbang, Nwokolo has been there for 48 years, which if Nwokolo is in civil service would have retired. He has no other business other than CAN. That is his ministry, business and source of income, which is why he is finding it difficult to leave.

“We want to state it categorically that if anybody had elected him in that election, it is null and void because it is contrary to the country’s constitution, nature and Christianity and we are insisting that he returns every property of CAN with him and our money.”

Pastor Ogah further emphasised that the state executive, under his watch, would not resort to court as all the biblical peaceful resolution and moral persuasion must be exhausted before taking the issue to the court.

“We have to exhaust all biblical provisions for peaceful resolution and moral persuasion before thinking about the court, while we don’t forget that the state is not a lawless nation.

“We have reached the National Executive with our reports. As for the block, we have five blocks, which I equally belong to, and every Christian is a member of CAN. Our action is not going to tear the Christian body apart, rather it will bring peace because falsehood, corruption and the divide and rule they’re practising are what we are trying to bring to an end. So, what we are saying is that a stranger cannot head his host,” he added.

About the Author

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Sunday Ogbu is a professional journalist with eight - twelve years experience that had worked with various print and online media. Sunday specializes in news reporting with the aim of educating his readers on current social, political and economic occurences within his area of coverage. Sunday is a strong force to work with in the media industry and uses his positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. Sunday is inspired daily by his wife and their four children. In his free time, Sunday likes sight-seeing, reading and discussing issues of societal interest.

Sunday Ogbu
Sunday Ogbu is a professional journalist with eight - twelve years experience that had worked with various print and online media. Sunday specializes in news reporting with the aim of educating his readers on current social, political and economic occurences within his area of coverage. Sunday is a strong force to work with in the media industry and uses his positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. Sunday is inspired daily by his wife and their four children. In his free time, Sunday likes sight-seeing, reading and discussing issues of societal interest.

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