“Sometimes ago, the Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese celebrated a public mass of endorsement for Goodluck Jonathan, what sanction did the church give to him?”
Raphael Ede, Enugu
The Spiritual Director Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), Reverend Fr. Ejike Mbaka has defended his Sunday’s outburst against the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr. Peter Obi, saying that it was scriptural.
Fr. Mbaka who defended himself during his midweek ministration popularly known as ‘E No Dey Programme’ said he is scripturally right and cannot be cowed. He was said to have informed his devotees to keep a date with him on December 31, when his prophecy on the 2019 election will as usual be made public.
According to him, Sunday’s programme was a bazaar programme where people are invited to support church project (done once a year) and there is nothing to hide. While he gave instances with biblical verses to back up his claim, he recalled how Ananias and his wife died in the bible while trying to be tricky with Peter after selling their land.
Fr. Mbaka said what he asked for in a bazaar was to support God’s project not Mbaka’s project. “No project there belongs to me but Catholic Church”, stressing that “when you are led in spirit or anointed, you can talk to both the poor/politicians without fear.”
Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) had in a statement Thursday reminded catholic priests and people of consecrated life, under its watch, of the canon law of the church that bars them from active involvement in partisan politics.
The Catholic Church headquarters in Nigeria reiterated the obligation of its priests as teachers of faith, morals and, most importantly, education of faithful on their role in the political life of the country.
The reaction was, perhaps, necessitated by the recent altercation between Mbaka and the vice presidential candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, at the former’s Adoration Ground in Enugu.
CSN’s Secretary General, Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, told newsmen, at a press conference, in Abuja, Thursday that the Catholic Church was disappointed with the altercation and had asked appropriate authorities to take necessary action.
“While we are sure that Enugu Catholic Diocese, where Fr. Mbaka is incardinated, has or is taking appropriate measures on the reported incident, we wish to categorically reiterate that no Catholic priest is permitted to be involved in partisan politics.
“All liturgical ceremonies must never be used as an occasion for campaigns ahead of 2019 political activities. Catholic church remains apolitical and would never support or subscribe to any political party. Our concern is for peaceful election process, seen to be free, fair, credible and just, and a democratic governance that would herald peace, justice, equity, development and religious freedom for the common good.”
Meanwhile, some concerned Christians under the aegis of ‘Araba zone’ the popular arm that unites the millions of Adoration worshipers in the Diaspora have voiced their concerns on the controversy.
Reacting to the recent statement credited to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) on the issue, one of the leaders of the group, Sir Nelson Onyema, faulted the CBCN for giving unnecessary attention to the issue. He argued that the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Mathew Kukah few months ago took Atiku Abubakar to former President Olusegun Obasanjo for a political reconciliation and endorsement to pave the way for his emergence as the PDP presidential flag bearer.
“Bishop Kukah is the chief campaigner of Atiku, the CBCN has been silent on this and issued no statement on it. The same Bishop Kukah who is co-chairing the National Peace Committee with former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar and others were seen few days ago playing some political roles geared towards reaching a memorandum of understanding for all political parties in Nigeria, the CBCN did not issue any statement on this.
“Sometimes ago, the Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese celebrated a public mass of commendation and endorsement for Goodluck Jonathan, what sanction did the church give to him? If the CBCN should be fair on this, they should start to address the issue from amongst them. I am sensing that jealousy and envy may have infiltrated the Catholic Church in Nigeria and have expected the CBCN guard its utterances jealousy. It will be a shame for Catholic Church in Nigeria if the Bishops should continue to allow political sentiments and double standards to characterize their actions. I am sure that if this issue were to be between an ordinary citizen and his priest, the CBCN would have been silent on it. For the CBCN to make a statement on this issue just because it involves Obi as PDP vice presidential aspirant conveys their tacit support for Atiku and Obi and I can’t help asking when has the Catholic Church become Atiku/Obi campaign organization?
Another leader of the group, Stella Okpanku, observed that since the history of the Catholic Church in Nigeria up till 1994, attention has never been given to the Adoration of the Eucharistic Jesus. It was Fr Mbaka that has compelled the whole country to know the power of the Eucharist and transformed the pattern of worship in the church to the Adoration of the Eucharist after his ordination in 1995.
“Through this, he exposed the secret miraculous power of the Eucharist to both the Catholics and non-Catholics such that today in almost all the parishes in Nigeria, Adoration of the Eucharist has become a popular worship pattern with the attendant miracles. The CBCN has never issued a statement in commendation of Fr Mbaka over this.”
Earlier in a statement made available to Saturday Sun, on what transpired between Peter Obi and Fr Mbaka at the Adoration bazaar, the group observed that Nigerians should rather be grateful to God who imbued Fr Mbaka with the courageous gift to speak truth to power.
The statement signed by Ikechukwu Ugwoke said Fr Mbaka remains a bridge between the poor citizens of the country and leaders that are to use the nation’s wealth to look after them. Fr Mbaka has no need for begging Buhari, Peter Obi or anyone that came for the bazaar for money for any personal need.
They stated that Fr Mbaka is a selfless industrialist that has demonstrated his fight against poverty by using all his wealth for the poor. “Donations made to his ministry is donation to the uncountable poor masses who depend on his charity for their survival, education and welfare and it is unfortunate some of the wailers today are the same poor masses for whose sake he is being persecuted.”