Man dumps Christianity for Egbesu traditional worship
By Olisemeka Obeche
A graduate of the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Apostle Bodmas Prince Kemepadei, has sparked a religious controversy on the social media following his renunciation of Christianity in favour of Ijaw traditional religion and challenging others to toe his line.
Kemepadei, who hails from Sagbama local government area of Bayelsa state, in a cryptic post on his Facebook page on November 24, 2020, claimed that he decided to embrace the Egbesu worship after realising that he had been deceived into rejecting his traditional religion for Christianity.
He wrote: “I was a joyful Christian and a believer in Jesus Christ; but I woke up from my sleep, and realised that I have been duped by foreign myths plagiarised and remodelled from my people’s customs and practices.
“I discovered that the foreign myths sold to me as Yahweh, Jehovah, Mary and Jesus, is actually the story of Ijaw spiritual tradition of Woyin, Egbesu, Agadagba and her arch divinities, who was and remains the supreme creatress of all life. I believe this Ijaw story was stolen and later remodelled as Christianity and forced down on our people to accept, after demonisation of their beliefs.
“I believe that our people had known God before the invasion of the westerners; that our people worshipped God and God related to them before the introduction of Christianity and other Western practices. I believe that in a bid to colonise us, our practices were demonized, our father’s were forced to accept Christianity while they exported our sacred totems overseas.
Orient Weekend gathered that Egbesu is an ancient war deity of the Ijaw ethnic nation credited with powers to defend themselves in times of war and oppression. The deity’s powers and famed began to wane following arrival and occupation of the Ijaw lands in the late 19th century by the British Imperialists.
Kemepadei expressed belief that the Ijaw principle as contained in the worship of Egbesu was the ideal way for the spiritual liberation of humanity and peaceful coexistence of all.
He said: “I believe that God will judge us not according to our beliefs but by our deeds. I believe that when the Supreme Creatress incarnated and manifested on Earth, other Celestial beings were in the company and they are what we referred to as Orus (Angels). I believe that these Orus are sometimes reincarnated as humans, they are the prophets, priests and other divine Messengers.
“I believe there was a life before this life and a life after this life. I believe that the first natural habitat were the waters and that water is sacred and a source to all life.
“I believe that all men must purify themselves with water as a form of remission of sins. I believe absolutely in the power of the Divine mother and of the divine feminine Woyin, Tamara! I believe that all the EGBESU’s are manifestations of WOYIN. I believe that it is by propitiation and atonement that the world is made.
He challenged others to join in the crusade for restoration of African traditional religion by renouncing their Christianity and embracing traditional worships.
“This is the best challenge you will ever see on Facebook. So, if you love Ìsẹ̀se and African spirituality and you’re not ashamed, just copy and replace my name with yours and make this your status update edit as appropriate. I challenge my friends listed here to also publicly announce their faith and each to challenge other five people.
This paper gathers that his post drew mixed reactions on Facebook with some commentators urging him to retrace his steps back to Christianity.
“God loves you, and will not allow your soul to perish but pls give your life Jesus Christ and be born again and what you need will come”, Godsave Onyinyi James reacted.
Cletus Opukeme adds: “In your desperation for material acquisition, even if you don’t know God, beware of law of ‘karma’ retributive ‘justice’ that rewards you in equal measure.”
Gift Yiki, however, leapt in his defence, declaring: “Life is not that serious na. You all should stop all this. God have mercy on you. Life is all about soul consciousness and not who you worship. Let the man be biko.
Alex Ebi Biegs also fired back at Kemepadei’s critics: “The ‘God have mercy’ folks are Christians by virtue of necessity. They are being influenced greatly by the subtle and systematic threats in the Bible, the book of fairy tales.”
Comrade Aminayanasa Douglas Wilcox however, responded with swift declaration of his Christian faith.
“I believe in God the Father Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth. And His only son Jesus Christ, who was crucified, dead and buried with my sins, He rose again the third day with victory and ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. I am not alone, He gave me the Holy Spirit to empower me in the journey set before me. Therefore, I cannot fail because I have the power of creation (the Holy Spirit) residing in me.
He added: “Remember this, Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father without passing through Christ. I am not ashamed to tell the world what you did for me. Thank you Jesus Christ for saving me. I am saved by grace!”
Kolade Olufunso also weighed in, stressing that one’s religious inclination has no bearing on life and afterlife.
He argued: “Whether we choose to believe Jesus Christ or not, we all must appear and submit to Him once we die. Whether we like it or not or we believe Him or not, He alone is the one who will determine our fate in eternity.”