By Uche Amunike
This state woke up to the hullabaloo of the fiery Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka of Amen Adoration Ministry, Enugu and his uncouth actions towards former governor Peter Obi on the altar of his Adoration ground. I was very curious when the news made the rounds and had to search for the offending video clip which had already gone viral. I watched the skit and was filled with a myriad of emotions, especially disappointment, anger and shock. It was a real show of shame.
Truth is, I have had cause to hear snide comments made by the fiery Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka against state governors, top government officials and even the former president of this country, Goodluck Jonathan but I have never been touched or badly affected by his attitude the way I was, after I painfully watched the way he shabbily treated the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi and in my opinion, the Catholic church in general.
The essence of ordaining priests is to continue evangelization from where Christ stopped. It is to work towards winning souls for Christ. It is for them to spread the good news to all nooks and crannies of the whole wide world. As a matter of fact, the priesthood is a full time job, as far as I'm concerned and they are the representatives of the pope in their local parishes.
Today however, Fr Mbaka has changed the narrative. He has proven to the whole world that he is more concerned about money than he is about anything else, including the salvation of souls. As a matter of fact, he trades his money induced prophecies for cash.
I have watched that video clip over and over again and the more I watch it, the angrier I get. I have indeed analyzed his countenance and utterances during the exchanges with Peter Obi on that faithful day and have came to the conclusion that Mbaka is causing more harm than good as a priest in the Catholic Church.
First of all, Peter Obi, apart from being a former governor of this state, is an elder. I grew up being taught that respect was one of the things that God loved in His children, so we were taught to respect not just our parents, but our elders. Again, in Igbo land, young people respected their elders, generally. And yet, Fr Mbaka willfully disrespect a man as honorable, respectable and dignified like Obi. Again, the same Peter Obi was the governor of this state for 8 years. He is a papal knight in the Catholic Church. He is the former chairman of several banks and financial institutions; a former director of several companies; a member of several government committees; a two-time chairman of Nigeria's Governors Forum; a major player in the International stage, just to mention a few of the laurels he has acquired for himself and society in general. In fact, I am so sure that his sibling who is also a priest is older than Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka.
I therefore found it very hard to deduce a reason why Mbaka treated Obi in the manner he did, especially in the presence of a multitude of his worshippers and guests. Need I add the entire world watching the video that went viral? That was an insult and a slap on the faces of every Nigerian and every Catholic. I am indeed angry!!!
Let's look at the reasons behind Mbaka's abominable actions. He wanted Obi to carry out a project in his ministry and tried forcing him to announce it publicly. Remember, this is something that should ordinarily be done voluntarily. It is important to note that Peter Obi had already made a donation for “kola”, albeit anonymously. That was not enough for the fiery and daring young Mbaka. He shamelessly demanded publicly that the “Kola” donation made by Obi was not enough and that he wanted him to make his donation open or fail in the elections. Peter Obi explained in front of the whole multitude that he had already donated for “Kola” and Mbaka was adamant. He not only insisted he wanted more than the “Kola” donation, he repeatedly harped on Peter Obi building a project in his adoration ground. My question remains, what is the position of the church in giving donations publicly? I still remember my catechism classes were we’re taught that we should give our offerings to God secretly so that our heavenly father who sees in secret will reward us. The same catechism taught us that during our offering to God, our left hand should not be aware of what the right hand presented to God. Mbaka however thinks otherwise. He wants a public announcement of donations in his ministry and it must be done with the microphone to the hearing of that massive crowd. His own Gospel is probably different. It is so different that if the donation wasn't made, he will pay back by not making his December prediction swing in the favour of the PDP Presidential candidacy team of Obi and Atiku. I really do hope the Vatican saw that video clip. I also hope the Catholic bishop of Enugu Diocese has started preparing his sanctions note. And why would he give conditions for the so called donations?
In my opinion, if Mbaka was brazen enough to instruct Obi to bring Atiku to the Adoration ground for donations towards the projects or otherwise face failure in the elections, then it is time to stop him from making those predictions. He is indeed a loose canon ball presently that needs to be stopped before he causes more damages than he has.. No amount of money donated by anyone should dictate the content of prophesies.
I see a lot of pride in Mbaka and I see rebellion too. Pride is a vice loathed by God himself. Pride made Lucifer a fallen angel. That's how much God hated pride. Pride shouldn't be a quality possessed by any priest, no matter how rich, powerful or successful they are. Fr Mbaka is an over ambitious priest swallowed by pride and insolent to the core. He is the proverbial butterfly who thinks himself a bird. He might be dynamic, smart and passionate about his ministry, but he has let the sin of pride and arrogance eat him up. I will personally choose humility over pride any day, which brings me to the man, Peter Obi.
If Peter Obi had reacted in a manner different from the way he reacted on that day, no one would have blamed him but he was very calm and composed even to the end of Mbaka's charade. Yes! Peter Obi showed me on that very day the reason he was called “The Rock”. It is only a rock that can stand and indeed endure Mbaka's uncouth vituperations. In fact I think I fell in love with the man, Peter Obi after watching that exchange. Every catholic and non-catholic individual that watched that video clip should take home, a lesson or lessons of perseverance, and calmness in the face of conflict, especially one that is laced with intimidation. Obi remained solid and undaunted and I think that was the part that got Mbaka really ruffled. My deep respects to you, Sir Peter Obi.
I presently cast my mind back to the past when Mbaka would insult the former governor of Enugu state, Chimaraoke Nnamani, endlessly and even other politicians. People would listen to him and cheer him as a fearless and brave priest who dished it out to politicians the way no one could. Looking back now, however, I think we all encouraged Mbaka in one way or the other through the years. His vocation is the priesthood, he should concentrate on winning souls for Christ instead of condemning politicians publicly. He simply overdoes it. When another group of Northern politicians came up to the altar, he told them the need for Buhari to come and build a project in his ministry, he shamelessly told them that he would have loved them to be there when he addressed Peter Obi. He told them that Peter Obi left in disgrace after he addressed him and I couldn't stop asking myself what Mbaka really wanted.
What did he gain from trying to belittle Peter Obi in front of those Northerners? Mbaka knew that Obi, being Atiku's running mate was definitely not a favorite of those Northern politicians, so why the derogatory speech about Obi in his absence?
In all these, I am however happy about one thing, Mbaka has shot himself in the foot because he only succeeded in making Obi a greater hero and succeeded in exposing himself to the world as the greedy, disrespectful, proud and insolent man in a cassock. As a matter of fact, the politicians that he insults might not be too different from whom he really is. Mbaka has shamed Catholicism and ridiculed the Igbo race in general.
Peter Obi on the other hand never stood disgraced like Mbaka planned but ended up being exonerated as he stood tall in the face of adversity.
In my opinion, that incident happened for a purpose especially at this time that he is about making history in the on-coming election, come February 2019. Lest I forget, did I rightly hear Mbaka call Obi a stingy man? Can somebody remind Mbaka that Peter Obi has invested so much in health, Education and even the church. Every month, he visits schools all over Nigeria with nothing less than a million Naira. I remember on his 50th birthday, he said he would visit 50 schools in the state and donate a cheque of N1m each to them. He did! I remember during the xenophobic attacks In South Africa when Obi went out of his own accord to visit our young men wounded and displaced owing to the unrest that the attacks brought to a majority of them. He was no longer a governor then, but he still went ahead to visit them all the way in South Africa and gave them money with which to start life afresh. Those youngsters will never forget the impact that Obi's visit made in their lives. Fr Mbaka however says the same Obi is cunny and also tricky. What a world!
The bishop of Enugu diocese should reach out to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria and seek ways to end this madness and gross embarrassment to the Catholic community. A statement officially signed by the CBCN won't be out of place, stating that they have no hands in the conduct and utterances of the fiery young Fr Mbaka. He can't keep heating up a polity that is already heated up for obvious reasons. He should soft pedal and truly decide to face the reason why he was ordained a priest in the Cathoilic church. Enough is enough!