In this analysis, KALU EZIYI examines the sudden turn of events in the once-enduring relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and popular Catholic priest, Reverend Father Ejike Camilus Ejike Mbaka.
Certainly, there are a few Nigerians and its political development since 1999 when democracy reincarnated in the country that will not consider the Catholic priest, Reverend Father Ejike Camilus Ejike Mbaka, as an oracle of sort. The Enugu State-born baby-faced Mbaka is the spiritual director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN).
Mbaka could well be said to be a reformist in a streamlined and conservative denomination with almost a universal system of worship. His preaching as a protestant goes beyond the normal in the denomination.
One might not be out of place to describe his as a Pentecostal Catholic. Perhaps, this explains why services at the ground tend to lend towards interdenominational.
From the Adoration Ground in the capital of Enugu State, Mbaka has not only been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ as the route to eternity in Heaven, but also using it to comment on burning national issues no matter whose ox is gored.
Miracles, deliverance, salvation, healings, offering of schools, and widowhood and indigent people empowerment are common features of the services.
READ ALSO: Fr Mbaka Shuts Down Adoration Ministry
Mbaka has never minced words about bad leadership which he blames for the woes afflicting the country. He acquired prominent place in its political front burner when he made two predictions in 2014 and 2019 respectively that later came to pass with exactitude.
The first one was that Muhammadu Buhari, ten candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress ((APC) would win the 2015 presidential election against then President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
In a country in particular and a country in general, where if not recetly, such feat has begun to occur, the prediction was at best considered a figment of the imagination of fiery preacher.
While some considered him as merely seeking cheap political relevance, there were equally those who thought he either needed to visit his doctors for possible malaria treatment or a psychiatrist’s attention.
At the end, the prediction came to pass. Following this, the director became an instant “hero and real man of God” to his supporters, party men and friends of Buhari.
It was also believed, and rightly so that he had earned the respect of and have the ears of the incoming occupant of the nation’s foremost office in Abuja. After all it was the fourth attempt by the former military ruler after the previous three since 2003.
Unfortunately, what was either hidden in the vision from the Adoration Ground oracle or he chose to turn a blind eye to is the level of insecurity that will be recorded during Buhari’s reign. Had it been made public, Nigerians may have looked elsewhere for a “messiah”.
Three weeks to the sixth anniversary of the Buhari administration, Nigerians have during the period been exposed to unprecedented record of violence. From 1967 to 1970, the country was at war, the insecurity was limited to the theatre which was the defunct Eastern Region. Today, it is presumed to be at peace, but there is insecurity across the length and breadth of the country.
Bandits, as the authorities have termed them, if that is appropriate, Boko Haram, ethnic and secessionists/agitators, religious fundamentalists, killer herders, kidnappers, armed robbers, and economic saboteurs have been outwitting each other in their attempts to undermine the country.
The other prediction, which equally shook the political foundation of the country was about the end of the administration of former Imo State governor, Hon Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP and his succession by Senator Hope Uzodimma of the APC.
Ihedioha, the first Mbaise governor of the state had been at Douglas House for close to one year and was by all hope, comfortable. The odds were high against the former representative of Orlu Senatorial district. Ihedioha had before then floored him thrice for the seat.
First during the 2019 governorship election, second, before the Election Petitions Tribunal, and the third, at the Court of Appeal. But at the end, the nation’s apex court, the one a late judge said, “at the end the law is what the Supreme Court says it is,” and voided the victory of the one-time deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
It was this spread of insecurity that recently led the oracle to call on the president to either resign or be ready to face impeachment. Mbaka’s comment came barely two months after a fellow clergyman of the same denomination had raised the alarm over the decay in the security of the country.
In the message for which he was lampooned by many defenders of the administration and tagged with many names, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, had bemoaned the level of insecurity in the country.
In a swift reaction to Mbaka’s comment as he did to the one by the bishop, the senior special adviser (SSA) to the president, Garba Shehu, in a statement said the director was angry because he failed to secure a contract from the administration.
His words, “An outsider distilling the avalanche of verbiage will be surprised that after supporting the president two times to win the presidency, Father Mbaka has made a complete u-turn preposterously asking President Buhari to resign or be impeached.”
He said their point of departure occurred when Mbaka asked for an audience with the president, for which he arrived to the surprise of the president with three contractors and they were graciously allowed. He added that to the surprise of everyone, Mbaka during the meeting, asked for contract as compensation for his support.
“Anyone familiar with President Buhari knows that he doesn’t break the laid down rules in dealing with contract or any other government business for that matter. He requested the appropriate authorities to deal with the matter in accordance with the laid down rules,” Shehu said.
Characteristic of him, the fiery priest, who gave former governor Chimaroke Namani of Enugu State a run for his money will not let that go unreplied. Accepting that he visited the seat of government with the contractors, he added that he took them to discuss security matters with the authorities and to offer possible solutions to them.
Many have joined the Shehus in condemning the priest for voicing his concern about the security situation in the country. One of the SSA’s arguments was that Father Mbaka was not supposed to take such position against an administration he was among its midwives.
But the fact remains that the situation is degenerating per day and the government must rise up to save the country from total collapse. Shehu sounded so ordinary by disclosing the content of the meeting to the public.
Going by the common belief in the country that those who contributed in the making of an administration should also benefit from it, was it wrong for Mbaka to ask for a favour? Have we wondered how far his prediction changed the opinion of the electorate about Buhari and the APC?
Mbaka should also have learnt his lessons right from the time he saw the vision to check what the situation would be like during the president’s tenure about corruption, security and the economy.
As earlier mentioned, had he warned Nigerians of the situation that will colour the administration, they would have had a second thought about Buhari in 2015 and 2019 during which he once again added his voice for the president’s re-election. When the Jews asked for a king, Samuel, a priest like Mbaka then did not fail to point out to them the dangers they would experience during the reign of the king and it happened. From the day he made the prediction, he ought to have known that it would not go down well with many Nigerians.a