President Muhammadu Buhari has recently commended the Catholic priest, Ejike Mbaka, for his conduct leading up to the 2015 elections. In a statement on Thursday congratulating the leader of Adoration Ministries in Enugu for his 20th priestly ordination, Mr. Buhari said history would favor Mbaka for courageously speaking truth to power at great risks.
In the statement signed by his spokesman Garba Shehu, Mr. Buhari said Mr. Mbaka chose the part of honesty, despite understanding the repercussions from his fellow leaders who were “detached from reality.”
On New Year's Eve, Father Mbaka told Nigerians to vote Goodluck Jonathan out of office. He cited the fact that President Jonathan failed to rid Nigerians of insecurity and corruption in the country.
Father Mbaka also encouraged his followers to vote for Mr. Buhari even though he was a Muslim, saying that regardless of religion, he was the right person to lead the country.
On January 6, 2015, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, called for sanctions against Father Mbaka, saying that based on the rules of the church, the priest was to be punished for his outburst. He criticized the cleric for going overboard in his sermon and suggesting that the Jonathan administration was plagued with “bad luck” and poor performance.
“I do not believe in my mind that the way things are in Nigeria, any Catholic priest has the mandate to decide which of the political contestants should be voted for,” Cardinal Onaiyekan said at the time.