As Nigerians get closer to the 2023 election, Catholic Priest and Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka is in the storm again after dabbling into politics.
His current ordeal started after he attacked Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP.
Mbaka, known for his political prophecies, had vowed that Obi would never become Nigeria’s President because he is a stingy man.
Newsmen observed that this is not the first time the controversial Catholic Priest verbally attacked Obi.
Recall that Mbaka’s grouse with Obi can be traced back to 2019 when the former governor, then Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s running mate, had visited the Adoration ministry, and he failed to make a monetary donation.
Obi had instead requested to be shown a project so he could make his support towards it.
But Mbaka would not take that. Frowning at Obi’s action, Mbaka had made some derogatory statements against him and PDP.
The controversial cleric had said PDP would lose the then-presidential election due to Obi’s action.
Following the ensuing controversy, Mbaka later apologized to Obi in a viral video, stressing that he never meant to ridicule him.
Recently, Mbaka said he apologized under duress because his Bishop asked him to do so.
It was observed that between 1999 and 2007, the administration of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State was at the receiving end of Mbaka’s inciting prophecies which he portrayed as being in defense of the poor in Enugu State.
He had vowed then to remove his cassock should Nnamani win re-election. But all that is now history as Nnamani did not just win re-election but has been elected to the Senate twice.
When Chimaraoke left office, the priest turned to his successor, Sullivan Chime.
During the build-up to the 2015 general elections, Mbaka predicted the end of PDP and former President Goodluck Jonathan,
When a historic victory followed for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress in 2015, many of his followers pointed to the precision of his prophecy as a sign that he heard from God.
Mbaka’s followers paid little attention to the fact that an administration that should have improved their lives has overseen seven years of insecurity and poverty.
The clergyman, however, had a fallout with the administration after the 2015 elections with claims of Mbaka soliciting for government contracts from the Presidency. This, the clergyman denied.
Following the fallout with the current administration, Mbaka had called for Buhari’s impeachment if he failed to resign due to the state of insecurity in the country.
Shortly after his call, the Catholic priest “disappeared”, with his whereabouts unknown.
To this end, youths and his followers had given the Federal Government 48 hours ultimatum to produce Mbaka. While the Department of State Services, DSS, was accused of picking the priest, the spokesman of the secret police, Peter Afunanya, denied their involvement in his alleged disappearance.
It was later discovered that Mbaka’s disappearance was due to an invitation he honoured from the Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga.
Onaga had tactically held him at the Bishop’s court in an attempt to dissuade Mbaka from making further comments against the Federal Government. A one-month ban was then slammed on his ministry, during which he was asked to go into a period of prayer.
DAILY POST reports that one year after, he is back to another round of controversy, leading to the indefinite ban on the Adoration Ministry.
His current attack on Peter Obi was said to have embarrassed and infuriated the Catholic Church authority, especially as the Catholic Bishops had last year in Enugu after their meeting, warned priests against using the pulpit for such utterances. But Mbaka is one of those who have found it difficult to obey the directive.
Speaking on the recent development, Anthony Ehilebo, the PDP’s Head of New Media, accused the priest of damaging the image of the Catholic church.
Ehilebo urged Mbaka and other clergymen to apply restraint when making comments in public.
In an interview with DAILY POST, the Abuja-based lawyer said clergymen should learn to draw the line between religion and politics.
He said: “I think we should do well to keep religion out of politics; religion and politics do not go together. But religion can come in when the general welfare of people I’d involved and not when it becomes a personal attack on people.
“We can make plenty of noise when it comes to Mbaka because he has made some political pronouncements; he reacts when upset, makes comments and apologizes. The question is, why make such a comment in the first place?
“I think we should be cautious of our public comments, especially if we have a certain amount of followership. If a normal person speaks, it’s understandable; but when a clergyman speaks, it’s taken seriously. This is why the clergy should use their words sparingly.
“Some comments are meant for politicians, not the clergy. A priest, pastor or an Imam can delve into a topic when it’s general enough or if there is a direct issue related to religion, like when Christians or Muslims are being killed; then they can speak, and you will see the sanctity of that voice of purpose.
“Someone like Bishop Kukah, you can’t say he is not objective. You can see that he chooses his words when he speaks. Kukah explains himself and gives you logic to his comment. Mbaka is damaging my fate; it seems like he is going astray; and even at that, what happens to the church’s elders? Is it that they can no longer exercise the powers given to them?
“I watched the video where he was trying to get Peter Obi to donate money; it encourages greed. Asking people to donate N25 million, how can you justify how they made that money?
“I think there must be caution, and people should be made to hold some certain standards, even if we are so emotional, we must exercise some restraint.”
Meanwhile, similar to their reaction when Mbaka was being held last year, his followers again took to the streets on Sunday demanding that the Adoration Ministry be re-opened.
Mbaka’s followers, who used all manner of abusive names against Bishop Onaga as they protested, threw caution to the wind, with some of them unable to state what the Bishop had done wrong.
All they chanted was ‘Onaga Must Go’.
However, Mbaka has come out to disown the protest, maintaining that it did not have his endorsement.
In a statement he personally signed, Mbaka said “my attention has been drawn to activities that took place in the Adoration ground this Sunday (19/06/2022).
“I am not in any way involved in such activity. We received with obedience the directive issued by my Bishop, His Excellency Most Rev CVC Onaga, on June 17, 2022. May I therefore appeal to the faithful, in particular, members of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria, to remain calm, and united with the body of Christ in the Diocese and also refrain from any measure of violence, either in action or by abusive utterances. Those who take to attacking or insulting my dear Bishop should desist from such.
“The Bishop is the Chief Shepherd of the Church in the Diocese and we remain his flock who in every way and at all times is expected to be respectful, obedient and willing to respond favorably to his apostolic directives.
“May I once more remind you that all Adoration activities have been suspended till further notice.
“Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria is ever submissive to the mother Church. I enjoin all adorers to know this and remain constantly in prayers for the manifestation of the will of God in the life of the Ministry.
“The life of the Adoration Ministry is in the hands of God under the direction of the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese.
“Once again, I pledge my obedience to my Bishop. Adorers should endeavor to attend Masses on a regular basis. I request your prayers and I promise to be praying for you in this perilous time. I commend our beloved Diocese, the Adoration Ministry, the Adorers and myself to the Holy Trinity.
“Our Blessed Mother Mary, the Mother of Perpetual Help, shall help us overcome this trying moment.”