“We have not entered into any covenant with anyone. Last time the first lady came here. We are not partisan. We welcomed her. We did a spiritual drama here and lifted four birds to fly up. The main one that should fly up refused to go. I did everything possible but it refused. And it was the healthiest one. It represented Jonathan. We wanted it to fly for Jonathan and the spirit of God said don’t disturb it.” – Rev. Father Mbaka.
The above statement, credited to Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, and reportedly uttered by him during the 31st Dec. 2014 midnight mass (otherwise known as crossover service among the Pentecostal church faithful) at his Adoration Ministry Church, Enugu, is not only appalling, but quite unbecoming of a Catholic priest, especially considering the fact that the scene in the foregoing statement is more like something typically seen, observed, and/or enacted mostly by the native doctors, the chief priests of deities or pastors, of white garment churches.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with Rev. Father Mbaka welcoming the first lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria into his Adoration Ministry in Enugu or even doing so with four birds (pigeons) which supposedly signify peace.
Nonetheless, there is certainly something wrong with Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka to say that the “main one” of these four pigeons that refused to fly up represented President Goodluck Jonathan, and that it was even the “healthiest one” for that matter. Hmmm! What all this implies is that, first, contrary to the claim by Reverend Father Mbaka that he was not partisan, he is actually partisan. Otherwise how could he single out one out of the four pigeons as representing President Jonathan – for the PDP? Without telling us whom the other three pigeons (birds) represented? Again, another gaffe, that it was even the “healthiest one” which represented Jonathan that purportedly refused to fly up – meaning that the other three birds that were not implicitly in the best state of health were ironically the ones that flew. This is really absurd, comical and reminiscent of the recently past years of Tunde Bakare-Obasanjo melodramatic prophesy.
For the avoidance of doubt, it must be emphasized that it is neither the intention here to hold brief for President Goodluck Jonathan nor to attack Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka for airing his view on national issues. Instead, the clear intention here is to dissect the salient issues arising from what is now commonly referred to as Rev. Father Mbaka’s fierce attack on Jonathan titled “From Goodluck to Bad luck.”
Having said that, it is instructive to start by way of reference to the exact words of Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka as reported by the media and for the purpose of clarity. According to him:
"The Onitsha bridge, has it now been built after six years of Goodluck? The roads built in the South-East during Buhari and IBB, the so-called Hausas, cannot be maintained by this government.” Truth be told, it is really a pity that President Jonathan’s promise to Ndigbo for a second Niger bridge is taking donkeys’ years to be accomplished. In the same vein, it is regrettable that Mr. President appears to forget that this is one bridge that has a great deal of economic potential/benefit for his own people of South-South as well, when completed. And because this same promise is once again being thrown up as a subject of political campaign in 2015, it is not likely to go down well with all and sundry. Perhaps this provides the prism from which some aspects of Rev. Father Mbaka’s outburst could be well situated.
However, it would have been better if Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka had remembered that issues pertaining to development are hardly discussed in isolation. Hence, as the censure goes squarely to Mr. President over the apparently incomprehensible delay in the construction of the second Niger bridge, on one hand, praises naturally ought to be showered on him in the same vein for the unprecedented facelift he has given to the Akanibiam international Airport in Enugu, on the other hand. Though President Jonathan has not fulfilled a number of his 2011 campaign promises to the people of South-East zone, that does not mean he deserves the sort of fierce polemics emanating from Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka.
Left to good reasoning instead, what Jonathan deserves from Mbaka in the prevailing circumstance is ceaseless prayers and encouragement. This is more so imperative given the general feelings of Ndigbo and their political support and sympathy for President Jonathan’s government. Surely, there is no gainsaying that what the Obasanjos, the Buharis, the Abachas and, in fact, the Hausas of this world could not do for Ndigbo—by way of appointments into key government positions and the building of an international airport of relatively world class standard in Enugu, after decades of their misrule and the unleashing of excruciating marginalization on the Igbonation in the process—what was done for us in less than half a decade by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Of course it will be somewhat hard not to give thump to General Babangida in terms of the developmental legacies of his administrations in Igboland – particularly in the area of road construction. But frankly speaking, can the same be said about Major General Muhammadu Buhari, whom Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka appears to be leading his political campaign? Sincerely speaking, Mbaka’s latest gaffe is not just embarrassing to Igbo nation, the Catholic faithful, and particularly to some of us who used to pay attention to and/or show empathy for his Adoration Ministry, but also it is quite disappointing and totally discouraging.
Now come to think of it, which single road did General Buhari as a Head of State construct in Igboland as claimed by his “campaign manager” Father Mbaka? Even at the time General Sani Abacha appointed him as the Director General of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), one had thought that General Buhari would have utilized that rare opportunity to accord due attention to the dilapidated roads and moribund infrastructure across the length and breadth of the entire South-East in the way and manner he meticulously and diligently executed diverse projects in the North—with higher concentration of efforts on the development of his North-West geo-political zone (the home land of the Hausa-Fulani). But everything rather turned out to be a far cry from the lofty expectations of the people of the South-East zone, which available records have shown the latter to be the most marginalized in the entire Buhari PTF project. Yet this a man Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka sees as the agent of peace and change in 21st century Nigeria and the “best” to be embraced by Ndigbo? God forbid! And if one may ask, can General Buhari bring peace in Nigeria after he had deliberately and callously failed to do justice to all and sundry while handling his PTF undertakings? Or can there be peace without justice? In fact, it will serve us all better to read via Google Mr. Law Mefor’s graphic treatise on General Buhari’s PTF “apartheid” projects titled: “The Buhari PTF Days: The Untold Story.”
Again, it is a risible approach to blame Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s government for the seemingly self-inflicted insurgency currently ravaging the North, particularly the North-East geo-political zone, as encapsulated in Fr. Mbaka’s diatribe against Mr. President. Unarguably, the security of lives and property remains a cardinal responsibility of any responsible government. And so far, there is clearly nothing to show that the present government has not been responsible enough in this regard within the ambit of our laws as well as the limit of rules of engagement available to the Nigerian military and other security agencies operating in the “evil axis in the North.”
To think otherwise is tantamount to merely being economical with the truth, as Fr. Ejike Mbaka has demonstrated thus far. If till today countries like Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan, etc., are still battling to contain the dastardly activities of terrorist groups in their clime, after more than a decade these deadly groups made their debuts, what on earth makes Fr. Ejike Mbaka think that Nigeria’s case should be radically different – even with her abysmal level of underdevelopment? And this is even more so the case considering the sordid role of the political and religious leaders of the affected region in covertly fomenting the sustenance of the menace.
Unfortunately, not even Fr. Mbaka’s Presidential candidate – Major General Muhammadu Buhari – is deemed not to be complicit in the overt attempts to embolden and promote the bloody activities of the insurgents as amply and hitherto evidenced in a series of his snide supporting remarks and advocacy for the well-being of the Boko Haram sect. In fact, what Fr. Ejike Mbaka and anybody supporting him seem not to realize for now, beyond the pockets of façade of coincidental attacks on Muslims in the North, is that campaigning for the candidature of General Muhammadu Buhari or even a victory for him – though quite remote – amounts to an endorsement of terrorism, legitimization of the killings of Christians in the North as well as the ultimate triumph of the seemingly long-fought battle for the Islamization principles of the Islamist Boko Haram sect.
But whether or not Reverend Fr. Ejike Mbaka cares, as he arrogantly sounded in his tirade against Jonathan, the blood of scores of innocent Nigerians that was spilled in the far North in the aftermath of 2011 presidential election on the strength of the widely reported reckless utterances of Major General Muhammadu Buhari will NEVER, NEVER, allow this country to be returned into the hands of the locusts and parasites whose only stock in trade at all times is plundering and personalizing Nigeria as their forefather’s (Usma Dan Fodio’s) estate.
In the final analysis, it is high time the Catholic Church in Nigeria salvaged its battered image and modus operandi arising from Reverend Fr. Ejike Mbaka’s novel wave of politicking and his “oracle of holy spirit.”
Onyiorah Paschal Chiduluemije writes from Abuja. Contact him at [email protected] or at 07012130204.