By Chioma Gabriel, Editor Special Features
Peter Obi vs Mbaka : ‘Defecating’ on God’s altar
In the beginning…
It is often said that a long story is not told at benediction. However, that saying can no longer hold true with the way things are going in the Catholic Church nowadays.
Known for its condescending sneer towards the gospel of prosperity, Catholics in Nigeria are today outraged by the events that played out at the recent thanksgiving and bazaar of Adoration Catholic Prayer Ministry in Enugu. Mammon has gained entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the church and it took one man to defile the sacredness of the Church’s holiness.
Money. Mammon. The holy book says the love of money is the root of all evil and many men of God have fallen in love with mammon.
The pride of the Catholic Church is the celibacy of priests because celibate life and ostentatious living do not go pari-passu. For this cause, Mother Theresa lived and died.
But as sin entered the world through one man, greed and corruption have entered the church through corrupt priests.
Angel Lucifer used to stand before the Most High, praising Him day and night but one day, he said to himself: I can ascend the throne of the most high, I can be like the most high…The rest is history.
And here we are.
Defecating in the church
Controversial Catholic priest and Spiritual Director of Adoration Catholic Prayer Ministry, Fr Ejike Mbaka again in the news again over his prophecies on 2019 elections and his attack on the vice presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, Mr Peter Obi for refusing to donate money to his ministry.
Obi had just returned from the Vatican where he received Papal blessing to proceed with his vice presidential ambition but got back home to be ‘defecated’ upon by Fr Mbaka.
In a video that has gone viral, Mbaka was seen telling the vice presidential candidate of PDP, Peter Obi during the annual harvest and bazaar celebration of the church that neither the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar nor President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, would win the 2019 presidential election.
A man of controversy
Fr Mbaka is not new to controversies. His predictions and prophecies are often greeted with mixed reactions from Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora. Mbaka has the tendency to speak from both sides of the mouth. He says one thing and contradicts himself the next time. He had knocked Buhari severally and turned around again to praise him.
He had also given conflicting prophesies on Buhari and Atiku.He once prophesied that Atiku will defeat President Buhari in the 2019 presidential election but he warned the PDP presidential candidate not to behave like Buhari when he gets to office.
In December 2017, Fr. Mbaka had prayed for Atiku saying that he has what it takes to make Nigerians smile.
Mbaka, who in his new year eve message of 2015, predicted Buhari’s electoral victory over the then President Goodluck Jonathan had also later accused him (Buhari) of playing ethnic, despotic politics by surrounding himself with people without vision and not inclined to his line of thought.
He said the President has wasted a golden opportunity offered him by God and by implication, has disobeyed God.
“Someday, they said the government has spent trillions of naira on social investment scheme and I want to know who are the people they were spending the money on; the vice president said they are giving N10,000 to small scale businesses and I asked, is this how they will transform Nigeria? You give somebody N10,000 for business, what type of business will N10,000 start?”
When Atiku Abubakar emerged the PDP presidential standard-bearer, Mbaka knocked him and raised fears that Atiku may not be able to solve the problems of Nigeria, as according to him, the problems of the nation were so enormous and challenging.
“If anybody is thinking that if Atiku becomes the President of Nigeria, things will get better, ‘who born you? It is easier for a Camel to pass through the eye of a needle than this country to be good.
“Somebody will have billions and want to take the one belonging to the public while hunger will be killing his people. Look at the type of money they shared during the primaries to the extent that they brought Bureau de Change. They said Buhari is change, but Atiku is bureau de change. They were sharing the money in dollars and it was going out in millions of dollars in Nigeria where hunger is killing people, where you don’t have food to eat.
When the ruling All Progressives Congress announced the cost of its Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms, Mbaka described the cost as outrageous; saying that if the leadership of the party had conscience, they would not have collected N24 million from people to obtain the forms, adding that a party with conscience would have returned the money to the aspirants instead of casting aspersions on them.
“There are some people that sold their land to pay for this form because of the promise they were made. I don’t think these politicians were thinking of heaven, that is why they are ready to kill anybody that stands on their way,” he said.
Irked by Mbaka’s lack of confidence in Atiku, spokesperson of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Segun Sowunmi had said the 2019 general elections will be based on issues and as such, will not join issues with Rev. Fr Mbaka.
“We have taken the position that we will respect the clergy. We will respect all Nigerians, the leaders of the political class and we will even respect President Muhammadu Buhari and his campaign.
“Therefore, we plead with all Nigerians that we focus on the issues before the nation and the issues, and agenda before the Nigerian nation is that we need an Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to become in charge of the country as he will be able to bring his private sector discipline into the running of government business such that he can open up the economy to serve and add value to everybody in Nigeria including the clergy.
“And in doing that, part of the great care we must take is that the leaders of thought and religious leaders in the society must be encouraged to concentrate on the issues that help us to unite as a country.
“We call on all of them including Father Mbaka to please work with us and the PDP presidential candidate and ask questions where they need clarifications.”
On Mbaka kicking against Buhari’s second term, APC said:
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has not always kept quiet over Mbaka’s pronouncements. When Mbaka kicked against Buhari’s second term initially, the party said it was not bound by the prophecies of any individual as regards the forthcoming presidential election in 2019.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, while responding to a statement credited to Fr. Mbaka, who had advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election then, said the APC as a political party is not run based on prophecies, which, according to him, “is a personal conviction or belief.
“We cannot run a political party by prophecy. Prophecy is a matter of personal conviction or personal belief. The party cannot act based on any kind of prophecies because we are not operating on that. We only act based on what is politically correct. People are free to believe such prophecies but our party will not act or take critical decisions based on prophecies”, he said.
Mbaka then had expressed disapproval of President Buhari’s leadership of Nigeria, and lamented that Nigerians had suffered untold hardship.
He had said, “Mr. President, as I was waiting on the Lord, I’m asked to advise you, don’t come out for second tenure. After this, retire, peacefully. Mr. President you are the cause of your own problem. God gave you an adviser, a wonderful mentor, a visionist, a matriarch, in the person of your wife, Aisha, but you don’t want to listen to her. That woman is heartbroken because she understood that you are not yourself. Come back to yourself or you will cry by the time you will be sent out of office. So, those who are encouraging you to come out and run again, they want to disgrace you shamefully and publicly”, Mbaka had said.
Social media ablaze
But the last straw that broke the camel’s back was the recent utterances which has set the social media on fire. Nigerians have taken to Facebook, Twitter, instagram and through the national media to criticise Fr Mbaka for the recent ‘money for hand, back for ground’ prophesies.
The Catholic Church has also disowned Mbaka, saying he might be disciplined.
According to the Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Achi, the diocese was not in support of the cleric’s remarks. He noted that it was wrong for priests to make political statements from the pulpit.
“The diocese is not in support of any priest making political statements. The church is supposed to be apolitical and the Bishops’ conference has said that repeatedly. We are not supposed to make any political statements from the pulpit within the context of Mass, that is, church service. So, it would be wrong to stand at the pulpit to make any political statement. There is a document issued by the Bishops’ conference to that effect. So, he just spoke on his own, not representing the diocese.
“We are not expected to come out openly to support a particular candidate for any reason. The church’s law does not accept such a thing. So, it would be wrong for anybody (priest) to come out and give an endorsement to a particular candidate.”
In a tweet by Mazi Odera on the issue, he said: “How can Rev FR Mbaka throw caution to the wind and attack a PAPAL KNIGHT with this venom standing on the altar of the Most High? This is the same man who the former Pope gave a Papal’s knight on his commitment and propagation of the gospel with his wealth. His great and good work rang all over the world and attracted commendations, not only from Catholics but wider world.
“This same Peter Obi just came back three days ago from Vatican where the Pope called him and gave him his Papal blessing and how can Mbaka who is not even a Cardinal go against the Pope like this, all to score cheap political points? How can the Catholic House of Bishop watch this affront and remain silent? This must be what made Christ to throw down the table of money changers in the temple and call them den of robbers.
.”Peter Obi is being accused as the governor who brought the church closer to government, which I can authoritatively say that he has done more to churches than all other governors lumped together, including what he did for schools, health centers, hospitals and church buildings. His monthly visitation to schools all over Nigeria with standard 1 Million Naira cheques has never been beaten or rivaled. So, why should Mbaka force him to pledge his finance for him or he will carry out his threat of prophesying against his candidature as if God has handed his mantle to him. “The threat and intimidation is ungodly, unwarranted and filled with venomous mischief.
In his reaction, James Olisa Asiegbu said, “Church, to the best of my knowledge, is a hospital for the sinners and not a club for the saints. Let’s leave the actions of Fr Mbaka to the circle of clergy for cautioning. But what ever happened, the pride, prestige and respect of Peter Obi is still intact. A man that showered so much love for his people during his tenure can not be easily ridiculed.”
Enechukwu Okechukwu Trinity said, “If we cannot speak when our men of God are misleading us, then we will continue living in this mess. It’s high time we called a spade a spade instead of painting words. I know that Nigerians won’t even be misled on issues of whom to vote in. We are waiting. It’s a sacrilege when men of God choose to support evil because of money”.
Buchi Diboh said, “ Peter Obi visited Vatican, met the Pope and sought his blessings. The Pope did not demand for money but prayed for him. He came to Enugu to meet Rev. Father Mbaka, a parish priest. You know the rest of the story? Africa Why?”
For Maria Udeh Nwachi, “I could not finish this video. I am a huge fan of Father Mbaka, but what he displayed here was totally not like the man I completely adore. It takes courage to watch this video to the end. My courage failed me here. The few minutes I watched, I was shaking and in tears. I feltembarrassed and humiliated all through. It was not easy. I am in a very horrible mood over what I saw.”
Reno Omokri, former aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan also blasted Fr. Ejike Mbaka for asking the Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje to ‘sow seed’ to God’s altar.
Omokri accused Reverend Mbaka of inviting Ganduje, who has been accused of collecting kick backs from contractors, with video evidence, to the ‘House of God.’
“This is the same Mbaka who asked Nigerians to reject PDP and vote for the APC in 2015. It was wrong to invite Ganduje to sow ‘stolen funds’ at the altar of God.”
In a tweet, Dr Joe Abah asked, “
Can any Catholic person please educate me on why Ejike Mbaka is still a Catholic priest? Is he still part of the Catholic Church or is he on his own now?”
For Mazi Chima Amadi, Ph.D, “Was Gandollar representing PMB in Mbaka’s bazaar? If no, who invited him?”
Daddy freeze has also thrown sour grapes at Reverend Father Mbaka for blasting Peter Obi for refusing to donate money.
Engineer Anujulu Nonso said: I am a Catholic. An APGA faithful but after watching this Fr. Mbaka political harvest yesterday, I came to a conclusion that Fr. Mbaka is not what you think he is. Why persuade Peter Obi to make a donation and saying that Atiku will lose the 2019 election ? What nonsense?
“Peter Obi is the wisest politician ever lived. You can’t push him to do what he doesn’t wish to do. He earned my respect, my support and my vote after Sunday. Who is Mbaka to decide what will happen in Nigeria’s politics? Come what may, I am with Obi both now and at the poll. I will fight the battle with him till the end. Mbaka, don’t let me renounce my Christian faith because of you. Enough is enough.”
Don’t crucify Mbaka, pray for him, Peter Obi begs Nigerians
*Says donations to churches attract greater rewards when done secretly
The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Peter Obi, has asked people to stop attacking Rev. Ejike Mbaka over his prophecies.
Obi’s reaction came following a pronouncement by Mbaka on Sunday that both Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi would fail the way they were going. He wanted Obi to announce a project he would do for his church. He also said that President Muhammadu of the All Progressives Congress was yet to show gratitude for his prophecies and prayers and “will be changed if he doesn’t change.”
In a statement by Obi’s media aide, Val Obienyem, the former governor of Anambra State said he did not feel bad about the priest’s pronouncement.
Obi maintained that in every situation, there would be something positive to learn from what happened, adding that Mbaka had always spoken from the “higher perspective of wisdom.”
The PDP vice presidential candidate implored the laity to always remember their priests in prayers, adding that it was wrong for priests to be attacked based on what they say on the pulpits.
He said, “Please let us leave Fr. Mbaka alone; our duty to him is prayers for God to lead him aright.
“While one may disagree with him, we should always acknowledge that he speaks and acts from the higher perspective of wisdom.”
Obi who noted that he had a Reverend Sister and a Reverend Father as elder and younger siblings respectively, added, “I have full respect for men of God and will always remember them in my prayers. When they go wrong as humans, subject to human frailties, ours is not to castigate them, but to pray to God to lead them aright.”
Describing donations to churches as an “appreciation of God’s love and benevolence to us, Obi said, “they attract more rewards when done secretly.