NSUKKA, Enugu, Nigeria – Hundreds of people this week flocked to St. Peter’s Chaplaincy at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka to mark Good Friday as part of the activities scheduled for Holy Week.
For Christians, Good Friday, which is the last Friday before Easter, is an annual Lenten-season event singled out to commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
In Nigeria, the day normally begins with the Passion Play – a dramatic presentation of Christ’s trial, suffering and death. It ends with a church service.
The officiating minister, the Rev. Hillary Ogbaka, urged participants to emulate Christ’s perseverance before his death and reflect on the way they live their lives.
“We should have a heart of forgiveness as Christ forgives his persecutors amid his suffering,” Ogbaka proclaimed.
John Udeh, a student of agricultural and bio-resources engineering, said the Passion Play helps him to come to grips with the sufferings of Jesus.
“It was great! The actors and the play were great, because it reminds us of what happened at Calvary, and it brings back the passion and sorrow of what the followers then passed through,” said Udeh.
“It was okay; they did well. I enjoyed it!” said Nneka Okeifufe, another student. “They did more than students – they exceeded my expectations.”
The drama was stocked with many interesting actors. For Eze Valentine, the protagonist who played the role of Jesus, it was really a memorable event.
He said he is fulfilled to have played the role of Christ in this year’s Passion Play.
“I am happy I did what I can do, though it is not possible to act as it was then. But I am happy I played this role,” he said.
The drama was presented by students of the Federation Theatre, an organ of the Nigerian Federation of Catholic Students.
“I feel accomplished and I am very happy because we showed a glimpse of what happened on the way to Calvary,” said Ogbe Salvator, the coordinator of the Federation Theatre group.
Playing the role of Jesus Christ, according to Eze, will not only help him to reflect on his life but will also go a long way to shape his behavior.
“Some people might see it as a normal play, but after seeing what happened today, my advice is for them to go back and meditate on this event,” Eze said.
Festus Iyorah and Nchetachi Chukwuajah are Junior Reporters for Youth Journalism International. Editing by Youth Journalism International Senior Reporter Linus Okechukwu in Nsukka.