By Rev Fr Gerald Nwafor
An elder should not be in the house and the she-goat will deliver her newborn baby in rope (Okenye ada anon a uno ewu amuo na ogbuli). I know very well how delicate and sensitive this topic is, but we should not stand by and watch our future being toyed with.
Should we fall from the tree because of fear of the monkey (Aga eji ujo daluu enwe na enu)? Mbanu! I am very close to both parties, and I know what most of the public knows, but with a little extra because I lived in Enugu and Onitsha concurrently for more than forty years.
I was in contact with both Peter and Fr. Mbaka from time to time. Both were saying things from viewpoints that were very personal to them. Peter said, “show me the project and we shall divide it into two halves, and you do one and I will do one.” I do not see anything wrong with this statement. Mbaka said, “Okay forget about the project, break kola nut only.” That is true also going by the tradition of the Nigerian harvest celebration.
But it should not be by force, and you cannot tell the person that his political future is tied to Iwa-Oji (breaking of the kola nut). We do not do the world by force and that is your name (ejiro ike eme uwa). Why the force to donate to your church?
Settling our scores in front of our enemies is not a trademark of the Igbo people. When I was working somewhere a long time ago, a rich man visited me and asked what he could do for my parish. I told him to give me bags of cement. He said I will hear from him later. Days ran into weeks, to months and years, but I did not get any message from him. I wasn’t happy about it.
I saw him on another occasion within the state. I greeted him with one hand, I did not say anything to show my sadness, but my action registered my grievances. When we were living the occasion, I complained to my friend who had carpooled with me about my earlier encounter with the mogul, and how he behaved now as if to say he did not remember his promise to me after drinking my palm wine.
My friend suggested that we should visit him privately and remind him of the promise. I was so pissed that I rejected the offer. After two weeks the rich man visited me again, and apologized profoundly for not fulfilling the offer soon enough. He was hauling a trailer load of cement, and even today you can see the wall still standing at my parish assignment of ten years ago. Today we still communicate as best of friends.
Fr. Mbaka was within his right to ask Peter Obi for donations, but Peter Obi has the right to say NO in capital letters or to say in a low tone, “What is the project and how you want me to help?” It was not a business venture, therefore Mbaka has no right to be angry if Peter Obi decides to withhold his donation.
I watched all those people who were standing on the podium with Mbaka and Peter on the said day of harvest at Mbaka’s adoration ground, both Christians, Muslims, and traditionalists. Most of them donated millions of Naira which was a good gesture and show of generosity.
But my caveat to that donation is this: We shall bring the Bible for the Christians, the Quran for the Muslims and Amadioha (Juju) for the traditionalist and ask all of them to swear an oath if that money was their private money or public money? I can assure you that something big would happen and many would not dare to take the oath because we know the behaviors of the Nigerian politicians.
Peter Obi has said many times that he is allergic to money being spent wrongly and more allergic when public money is spent privately by public servants. Is there anything wrong with that proposition? I don’t think so.
Besides, one of the donors in that harvest was caught on camera stuffing a 10-million-dollar bribe into his babariga pocket. If you did not see that go to google and type in (Nigerian governor putting ten million dollars of bribe money into his pocket). The fact that Mbaka invited Peter Obi to his bazaar was a sign that Peter Obi has given him something in the past.
The fact that Mbaka said that if Peter Obi didn’t donate on the bazaar’s day he would not know where the election would take place was a sign that Mbaka knew how Nigerian selection (sorry I mean to say election, I misspoke) does happen, thanks to the case of Hope Uzodimma. The fact that Mbaka did not accept the fact that Peter was not going to waste his money on an unknown project, not unknown gunmen, is a sign that after four years he cannot forgive or forget.
The fact that Peter Obi did not get into a verbal exchange with Rev. Fr. Ejikemeuwa Camillus Mbaka is a sign that Peter Obi will be a good leader, if he has the opportunity to be in charge of the national cake. Did I misspeak on these facts? I don’t think so because I am connected to the two people, and I have the moral authority to speak.
Peter Obi is my brother from the same state, and once my governor, and once my homie in Odo-Akpu Onitsha, and my at-will-employer a long time ago, and many other things I should not reveal for public consumption. Fr. Mbaka is my brother: we are ordained into the ministerial priesthood of Christ. And I have served with him during my days in Enugu and received a stipend from him as a student, so I am in the position to speak to the burning issues of the stingy-men-association. Get your PVC first.