By Anthony Awunor

Anytime Easter celebration is mentioned, what comes to my mind is Jesus Christ’s death and His resurrection. The next thing that comes to my mind, as a home-grown guy, is the great Peter.

Peter, a former Roman Catholic Church altar server, is the Founder and General Overseer of Church of Blessed Virgin Mary, with global headquarters at Onije in Ubulu Uku, Aniocha South LGA of Delta State.

Because the church was established and nurtured by the self-styled Prophet Peter, Ubulu-Uku people tagged the church as “Uka Peter”, meaning Peter’s church. Up till today, nobody in Ubulu Uku calls the church by its real name. The popular nomenclature is Uka Peter and it is well recognised.

I have always respected Peter due to the way the church punishes the biblical Judas on every Good Friday. Good Friday at Ubulu Uku is like a carnival, courtesy of late Peter’s penalty meted on the wicked Judas Iscariot. I have, in many occasions, observed Good Friday in other places but no spiritual organisation, all over the world, has punished Judas Iscariot the way Uka Peter does every year at Ubulu Uku.

Recall that Judas sold Christ cheaply many centuries ago. Consequently, our Uka Peter, in their wisdom and spiritual guidance, find it very important to drag the Jesus seller round the entire length and breath of Ubulu uku on every Good Fridays. It is an annual event; and every member of the church takes it very seriously. It is not a joke. The tedious journey starts from Idunu Ishonu to Isho quarters, back to Abuedo and the penalty measure ends up at Enugu-Iyi with colourful funfare.

Traditionally, Uka Peter is known for such ritual of dealing with Judas Iscarot every Good Friday at Ubulu Uku and it has become a symbol of some sort at the Ezemu Kingdom.

As they drag Judas around town, you will hear protest songs such as “Judasi ole, ogbu nwa madu, onye oshi! meaning,” Judas, the killer of another man’s child; a thief”.

After dragging Judas all over the town, they would take the effigy to their headquarters where it would be set on fire with another stanza of the song.

This time, it goes this way;

O Jesus,(2x)
Is on the cross(2x)
Jeeeesus is on the cross,
He is on the cross
All my sins have been taken away
Ooh glory to the father
All my sister take him awaaaaaaaaaaaay
Ooh, take him away.

The song is a difficult one if you are not a member of the fold. I learnt it when I engaged one of great Peter’s numerous sisters to teach me the stanzas. Truly, Peter had a bevy of elegant and trendy ladies in his church. They were good singers with sonorous voices that can move the mountain with powerful praises.

As expected, many Ubulu-Uku folks never honoured Peter, just as it was revealed in the Holy book that “A prophet is not honoured in his hometown”. Honestly, Peter’s kinsmen never took him seriously throughout his reign as the GO.

But even though Ubulu Uku people didn’t honour Peter as much as expected , the Church of Blessed Virgin Mary grew widely and the brand was well known all over Nigeria. A good case in point was their Apapa Road branch of the church, located at Costain area in Lagos which attracted many followers, including indigenes and non indigenes of Ubulu Uku.

No matter how anyone can describe Peter, I had long time ago, developed my own respect for great Peter. My respect for him grew when Peter predicted the coming of Acquired Immuned Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) few years before AIDS was pronounced in the United States.

I was still a young chap when Peter revealed the coming of AIDS at Idegwu primary school, along Udo road on an “eke market” evening in 1980. I can remember all that happened as I was there live that day. Peter was carried to the primary school at about 4: 00pm with an Ark carried by four able bodied young men. When he predicted it, people didn’t know what he was talking about. I can remember he said “A disease will soon break out and nobody will be able to cure it. We should pray that God will protect all of us. He said it in ubulu language. I was afraid when Peter mentioned it that day. But no sooner than Peter left the primary school than i forgot what he revealed about the emergence of AIDS. I only reflected on it when the contagious disease was pronounced years after.

The import of my story is that Peter was a great man. Only God knows where he would be now, as none is in a position to judge him.

Having said that, I will always remember Peter whenever Easter is celebrated because of the way he punished Judas with the help of his numerous Sojas.

Happy Easter to all Ubulu-Uku people home and abroad.

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