Last week, the social media was set into a rage over the comments against Mr. Peter Obi’s presidential aspiration by Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu.
The viral video of the priest calling Mr. Obi ‘stingy’, caught the ire of the people who do not like the conduct of the priest who is often a political interloper.
Fr. Mbaka has been a controversial priest who loves meddling in the politics of the country and the South-east region.
During the Chimaroke Nnamani’s regime, Mbaka criticised Chimaroke and labelled him, “killer Governor of Enugu state.” He challenged Chimaroke that he would lose his reelection. Chimaroke won his election.
In 2011, when it was alleged that governor Ikedi Ohakim committed a sacrilege by flogging a Catholic priest, Fr. Mbaka was at the forefront of a campaign against the governor but he later confirmed that the flogging of the priest never happened. Ohakim lost his reelection.
In 2015, Mbaka said that the Holy Spirit told him that Goodluck Jonathan will not win the 2015 presidential election because he was not favoured by God. He said, “I want good for my people and that’s why I want Nigerians to vote out Goodluck Jonathan and vote General Muhammad Buhari. I don’t care if Buhari is a Muslim and from the North; all I care about is that Buhari can save Nigeria.” In appreciation, Buhari said, “Thank you very much for what you have done and said. It brought you out to the whole country as a man of courage. It was honest and well delivered. It has gone into the records as one of the best concerns expressed from the pulpit, not because it favoured me and my party, the All Progressives Congress, but because it was good for the country.” Buhari’s administration has been a nightmare to Nigerians.
In 2019, Mbaka declared that Atiku and Peter Obi would lose the election because of Obi’s refusal to publicly announce his donation to his ministry. Peter demanded to be given the opportunity to donate privately to a project in the ministry which the priest did not desire. Peter and Atiku lost the election.
For the 2023 election, Mbaka began his diatribe over Peter Obi’s aspiration for the seat of president. He called him ‘stingy’ for not donating money to his ministry and told his congregants not to vote for him. This time, people rose in a manner that would be the end of tolerance of Mbaka’s meddling in politics. Mbaka controls a large number of followers who see him as their ‘daddy’.
Priests should speak truth to power. The power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the pulpit must not be toyed with. The statements from the pulpit must be a powerful message of God for the common good. It must not be traded and must not be used to cause public or personal harm. The conduct of the priest has brought opprobrium to the Catholic Church especially the Enugu Diocese which people have alluded to that it is in cahoots with Fr. Mbaka. They have continued to issue disclaimer and yet would allow him back to his station.
Constantly, Fr. Mbaka has apologised to the Catholic Church, his Bishop and those he offended. He has not failed to pledge loyalty to the church. But, he goes back to his usual self.
The previous time the Bishop of Enugu diocese, Callistus Valentine Onaga reprimanded him and gave him one month suspension for his public disagreement with President Buhari when he fell out with him, Mbaka’s followers went on rampage at the cathedral and the Bishop’s residence. On June 19, Mbaka issued a disclaimer of a demonstration and demand of the ouster of Bishop Onaga by his followers following the closure of the adoration ministry by the bishop.
Canon. 212 §1 states, “Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.”
The congregants have been fed the fruit of disobedience which is not from the Holy Spirit.
They are energised politically. While it is good that people are alive politically as that will make them to make informed political choices, these people are made the instruments of political machinations which Fr Mbaka in his political meddling has sowed and watered the seed.
Fr Mbaka could be a good man but he has pitted the people against their Bishop and to Mr. Obi. They have deployed the anger of the adoration closure on both men.
This development has been utilised by Obi’s political rivals to hold on and to create more antagonism to his political success.
According to a former Commissioner to Mr. Obi when he was the governor of Anambra state, Chief Joe Martins Uzodike, in an interview with Odenigbo FM, being circulated online stated that, Obi’s goodness in helping to prevent AMCON from disgracing Fr. Mbaka was repaid with such antagonism and also, that Mbaka was induced by the politicians.
Fr. Mbaka had made the adoration ground a pilgrimage centre for the politicians who troop there to pay for seeming political prophecies. This is contrary to the tenets of the Catholic Church and has made Mbaka out as a political operative.
The closure of the adoration ministry by the Bishop for the meantime is a welcome development. The Bishop should consider sending Fr. Mbaka out of the diocese and probably out of the country for further studies.
As asked by the Bishop, we will continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to be in control of Fr. Mbaka so that, instead of issuing paid prophecies for politics, God will truly speak through him.