Friday, 29 September 2017

Advent of Christianity in Eleme

For all those that love their history, here's a story for you! :

  One Friday afternoon, Onyinyechi came back from school fuming.

“Mummy good afternoon,” she managed to mumble to her mother in greeting as she furiously banged the front door close.
Her mother, startled by the hard bang, looked at her in surprise.

“Onyi dear, what happened today?” she asked in concern.

Onyinyechi was already heading to her room.

“It’s our principal,” she said tightly, “And that his annoying new policy of ‘If you don’t pay your school fees, don’t bother resuming school’ ".

“But you have paid your school fees Onyi. Why is it bothering so much?” Mother asked, beckoning her to seat with her on the sofa.

Onyinyechi sat down heavily. “It’s not about me Mummy,” she explained, “It’s about the many students affected; more than half of the student population! I don’t know who gave him this new idea. Parents have been calling and begging him to reconsider his decision but he has remained adamant!”

“I see your principal is very unyielding and firm,” Mother said thoughtfully.

“Exactly!” Onyinyechi wailed, “It’s as if he wants to wage war on the ‘defaulting’ students.”

Just then, a thought came to Mother. “You said your principal is from Eleme?”

“Yes,” Onyinyechi answered.

“That may explain your principal’s unbending character. You see, the people of Eleme were known as strong warriors in those days. In fact, they usually settled their disputes by going to wars.”

Onyinyechi’s mood brightened up a bit. “I’ve heard about the people of Eleme in Rivers State but I don’t know much about them. Do they still go on wars to settle their disputes?”

Mother chuckled. “Perhaps not so much anymore with the advent of Christianity in their place."

"Eleme is a Local Government Area that is 20km east of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.

Its headquarters is Ogale. It has ten main towns: Agbonchia, Akpajo, Alesa, Aleto, Alode, Ogale, Ebubu, Ekporo, Eteo and Onne.. Its head is known as Oneh-Eh-Eleme.

In the past, Eleme people settled disputes by going to war. There was always the loss of lives and property and yet, there was no guaranty they would win a war. So, they decided to go in search of a supernatural power that would always grant them victory.

The Elemes sent a group of people for this purpose who went to Opobo. There, they met a Christian preacher who preached about power in Jesus’ name.

This name carried power that enabled you to heal the sick, defeat the forces of darkness and even raise the dead to life. The Elemes were interested in this power.

“There is an ongoing war in our land,” they told the preacher, “Please give us this power so that this war can end.”

“This power can be got from God’s word,” the preacher answered.

“Where is this God’s word?” they probed.
“In the Bible!” the preacher exclaimed excitedly.

He went further to read the Bible to them, prayed with them and even gave them the Bible. They were disappointed; it showed clearly on their facial expressions.

The preacher smiled knowingly. “Brethren, this word of God would protect you if only you could have faith in God and obey His instructions here. One of them is that we should not engage in wars because vengeance belongs to Him. Instead, it is commanded that we show love to our enemies and spread this ‘message’ of love.”

When it was over, the Elemes returned to their land with the Bible the preacher gave them. They heeded to the preacher’s advice and began to preach the gospel and show love. This led to peace with their neighbours and brought the war to an end. With time, they built a church for their Christian meetings. This growing peace and love brought the people of Opobo and Eleme who were once fighting each other, together. Then, Christian missionaries established schools in Eleme. Today, Eleme has many churches,


 petroleum refineries,
companies and one of the largest sea ports in West Africa located at Onne, one of its famous towns.”

“Wow, what an interesting story,” Onyinyechi said, now in a better mood, “Maybe our principal needs a preacher that will talk him out of his decision.”
Mother chuckled. “Maybe dear. Now go change into your house clothes!”


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