Like the parable of the prodigal son, 44 members of various campus cults recently turned a new leaf as they publicly renounced their membership at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, (UNIZIK), Awka.
At the cult renunciation ceremony organized by the management of the institution and held at the convocation arena, the repentant cultists promised to forsake the path of violence and perdition. The event, according to the Director of Information and Public Relations of the university, Dr. Emmanuel Ojukwu, was geared towards dedicating the institution, the staff and students to the Almighty God.
The event, the second of its kind in the annals of the university, was well attended by staff and students. Respected clergymen within and outside the confines of the institution anchored the event, which had in attendance the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku, his wife, Gladys, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Charles Esimone, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Onyeyili, the Registrar, Barr. C.C Okeke and Dean, Students Affairs, Prof. Ken Nwogu, among others.
In his homily, a charismatic priest from the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Rev. Fr. Paul Obayi, popularly known as “Okunaerere” (consuming fire) said cultism thrives in deceit and adds no value to the lives of its members.
The priest, who disclosed that he was once a cultist before God arrested him, revealed that in cultism, one is bound, imprisoned and his freedom restricted. He frowned at the rate some youths dabble into cultism and warned those that had strayed to retrace their steps from doom.
“It is an act of foolishness to join cultism. There is no gain in cultism, it is embedded in deception,” he said.
He further charged the students to desist from sinister groups and face their primary purpose of passing out with good grades and becoming useful persons in the society. He urged them to return to God, the giver of wisdom to excel in their chosen careers.
The high-point of the occasion was a special deliverance session held for the 44 persons made up of both male and female students by the officiating priest, Rev. Fr. Obayi assisted by Rev. Fr. Mario- David Dibie and Rev. Fr. Bonachristus Umeogu. During the session, about 21 more persons came out under the power of the Holy Spirit.
In his remark, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ahaneku, described the event as a spiritual irrigation that would enrich the lives of the staff and students of the institution. He marveled at the number of those that renounced cultism as well as the huge turnout of the university community at the event.
“We need God to give us the enabling power to take control in our society. Because we have submitted, God has prepared us for the journey ahead. Be assured that the university management is here to protect your interest to achieve the best degrees with which you can contribute to the development of the Nigerian society. What we have done today is to submit to God and it will be captured in the records of this university as we train you not only in learning but also in character,” he added.
In an interview with Campus Sun, the chairman, organizing committee and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) of the university, Prof. Esimone disclosed that the event was part of the resolve of the management of the institution is to rid UNIZIK of secret cults and to enthrone discipline among students.
Also speaking, a lecturer from the Department of Haematology, Nnewi campus, Dr. Ifeoma Ajuba said: “This is the first time I am experiencing this kind of thing. When I was coming, I never knew I would meet such a crowd of persons denouncing cultism openly. I am impressed and I think this is a right step in the right direction”.
Other students interviewed commended the Vice Chancellor for initiating such an event. For Macdonald Ifeme, President, Association of Mass Communication students, the event is a welcome development and a plus to the Ahaneku-led administration.
One of the students who renounced cultism revealed that the event marked a turning point in his life. The student who pleaded for anonymity commended the Vice Chancellor for organising such a programme, which according to him, has given some of them the opportunity of being liberated from the clutches of hell. He advised his fellow students to shun secret cults, which could lead them to destruction.