In November 2014, he hosted Mrs Patience Jonathan. Politicians like prayers and charms. So they hang around clerics and sorcerers. At that event, Father Mbaka poured prayers on Mrs Joanthan and showered praises on President Jonathan. He said President Jonathan was not inept. He said his opponents maliciously underestimated his good works. He wondered why anyone would blame Jonathan, rather than Boko haram, for the insurgency that had taken control of over 20 local government areas. He said it was unfair to make the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ demand on an innocent Jonathan rather than on Boko haram.
A month later, in December 2014, Father Mbaka did a somersault and dropped a bombshell. God, he said, had rejected Jonathan. God spoke to him and confirmed it with pigeons. He had released a set of pigeons to fly and fight for Jonathan. One or two of the pigeons refused to fly. He went to God with his curiosity.
God told him the pigeon didn’t fly because the kingdom had departed from Jonathan. He could have stopped there. He is a messenger and no one would ask him for explanations. But Mbaka is not gifted with circumspection. He revisited his assessment of Jonathan’s stewardship. And recanted. He said Jonathan was actually as clueless as his opponents had pronounced. Many blinked in embarrassment at his named volte-face. He said everything Jonathan touched, had become infested with bad luck. He said he was compelled by God, so he was unabashed.
He was vilified. Bishops accused him of gross insubordination. They said he had undermined the neutrality of the church in party politics. Some Jonathan’s supporters branded him a counterfeit prophet. They said the internal inconsistencies of his positions, exposed him as a charlatan. They pointed to a history of what they termed— other ill motivated and false political prophesies—and said he could be a victim of auditory hallucinations. Father Mbaka dismissed the insinuations that he had spoken out of bitterness as childish. Buhari, won in 2015. Mbaka has stood patiently with Buhari since.
Father Mbaka is back in the news. This time he has not pigeonholed himself. He has left a lot of room for maneuver. He says Buhari was chosen but President Buhari has wandered. He thinks that Buhari has been hijacked and put in a bag by some evil men that surround him. He says the president must change or be changed. That could suggest that Buhari might yet get another chance. Perhaps if he showed firm leadership. That is one way of reading his prophecy.
But Mbaka has another warning. He says the president must not contest the forthcoming elections. He is certain he would be put to shame if he did. This warning seems to foreclose the possibility of a second term under any circumstance. He says the man is not only sick but old. And because he is frail, everything in the country, he says, has gone frail. He concedes that Buhari has good intentions. But that he is physically too weak to see them through. He has allowed opportunists who pay lip service to corruption seize the reins of government. And rather than sweep away corruption and poverty with the brooms they came with, they have preoccupied themselves with sweeping public funds into their big bags. Mbaka, definitely, has not lost his theatricals.
It would seem though that Mbaka always comes with grains of truth, delivered melodramatically in a bag of chaff. But since he always claims God, we must then believe that the incoherencies are spiritual permutations and combinations mortals like us would forever find difficult to understand. If President Buhari contests and wins, Mbaka yet wins. It would be said that Buhari listened and changed his ways. And God gave him another chance. If Buhari hearkens and chooses not to contest, then the prophet will also be true. He yielded to a divine revelation. Head or tail Mbaka wins this one.
Some of Buhari’s supporters have denounced the priest. They think he is being used to create negative sensation. Some say he is badly ego driven. I know that Mbaka could rightly be considered a political man of God. It’s possible that he delivers what God tells him together with his own feelings. But it would serve Buhari and his team well to accept the prophecy as constructive criticism. What Mbaka has told with fanfare as prophecy is actually trite.
There is nothing in that prophecy that is a revelation. There was nothing he told Jonathan in 2014 that was a revelation too. But Mbaka’s admonition is yet significant. Not because he has a sizable following in parts of the Southeast. No. He supported this president. When those who stuck out their necks and supported this president air their frustrations in hisses, in letters, or in prophecies, the president ought to listen.
There is nothing in Mbaka’s prophecy that Aisha Buhari, the wife of the president, didn’t tell the BBC a year ago. Father Mbaka referred to the president’s wife as a frustrated and rejected god-given mentor to the president. The First Lady had declared she would not support her husband if he failed recover the reins of government from usurpers.
She was frustrated. She is not alone. She came back a few months ago from her sick husband in London and announced that significant changes were imminent. She triumphantly proclaimed that the Jackals and Hyenas would be banished. Whatever her husband promised her in ‘the other room’ in London has become a failed promise. Mbaka likens the president to Jonah swallowed by a whale. The problem is that the Abuja whale appears not in any hurry to release its victim.
Those around the president could boast that the president would win the national elections in 2019, easily. That could be correct. But they must be concerned that the president has failed to live up to the expectations of his many supporters around the country. That is neither good for the president and nor for the country. And performance must be more important than winning for winning sake.
Fortunately for Father Mbaka, no Bishop would invite him for questioning. The council of Bishops could even possibly praise him for valor and forthrightness. The complex nature of Nigeria’s politics allows for such fundamental changes in attitude. Nothing is hinged on any moral principles.
Father Mbaka thinks the governor of Gombe could be a good fit. Since he has unfettered access to God, why can’t he simply submit the man’s name for promotion and submit the names of the members of the cabal for punishment. If the men of God were firm themselves perhaps the politicians would sit up.