Cornelius Chiadi Ezeibekwe, a 25 year-old Mathematics teacher who recently caused a stir in Ekwulobia in Aguata local government area of Anambra State when he wedded his younger sister, aged 17 has opened up on why he took his sister to the alter.
“I am a Sabbath and, in searching through the scriptures, I discovered that one could marry his sibling. So, we went ahead with the arrangement to marry my younger sister,” he told the Vanguard in an interview
“The marriage ceremony was observed inside our family compound, which also serves as a place of worship for us. My immediate elder brother, Paul Ezeibekwe, the pastor, was present during the ceremony.” He added
In Igbo land, such a marriage is a taboo and it was on the basis of this that youths of the community burnt down the Sabbath Church where Chiadi and his sister were thought to have been joined as husband and wife.
Chiadi, the sixth of 10 children (eight boys and two girls) by Louis Ezeibekwe, is a mathematics teacher at Community Secondary School, Isuofia, also in Aguata local government area.
“God told me to marry my sister and she also saw same vision. There are places in the Bible that support such marriage. Those in doubt should read Songs of Solomon Chapters 4 and 5 and 1st Corinthians Chapter 7.
“Since we took this decision, I have not felt anything unusual, or felt that I did anything wrong. In the school where I teach, many people ask me about it and I boldly refer them to the Bible”. He explained
His sister is a student of Federal Government Technical College, Awka, but she left school to enable her observe what Sabbath people call ‘Shimta’.
During the observation, which Chiadi said lasts for one year, she must remain in the compound. It was during the observation that the marriage took place. Before then, she had left school because of the controversy generated by her marriage with her elder brother.
Louis Ezeibekwe, their father, 78, and who recently buried his mother who died at the age of over 100, appeared not to be in control of the behavior of his children as he exhibited signs that all was not well with his health.
His eldest son, Emeka, who lives in Port Harcourt and who is not a member of the Sabbath Church, said he belongs to the Winners Church. He also confirmed that their father was not well.
Though members of the family were originally Catholics, they later changed to Seventh Day Adventist Church and subsequently to their own brand of Sabbath worship, with Paul, one of the children of Louis Ezeibekwe, as pastor.
“What happened is that when we decided to get married, we told our parents our intention and my father asked us if we knew what we were about to do. I told him that we searched through the scriptures and that God sanctioned it. It was after this that our parents consented.
“However, our other relations objected to the idea when they learnt of the plan and when we ignored them and went ahead with the marriage, they and other villagers burnt the Sabbath Church where we used to worship because they thought it was in that place that we worship, not knowing that we have since abandoned the place and worship in our compound.”
Worried by the development in the community, some elders went to the traditional prime minister of Ekwulobia, Chief Gabriel Ezeukwu, to lodge a complaint because the traditional ruler of the area, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke, is out of the country. After consultations with other elders in the community, Ezeukwu ordered that the marriage be dissolved and a cleansing of the community of the bad omen arranged.
It was gathered that the Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia is handling the cleansing process, especially when it was realized that the family was originally Catholic. Asked if he would subject himself to the cleansing by the Catholic Church, Chiadi said in as much as he would not like to break the law of the land, he would leave everything to God to decide because it was God that gave him the vision to marry his sister.
He said further: “Except my eldest brother, Emeka, other members of the family supported the marriage and our father only changed their minds following the uproar generated by our action. It is not the beauty of my sister that made me to marry her. The attraction is that when God wants you to do something, you should do it. “One of the reasons for marrying my sister is to avoid divorce which is rampant these days because even if we divorce, we will remain in the same family.