The Enugu-based Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, was reported recently to have gone 'missing'. He later re-emerged to tell the story of his whereabout. The Enugu Catholic Bishop, Callistus Onaga, had 'arrested' Mbaka and kept him incommunicado reportedly for some days. And that led to some riot by his followers and rumours of kidnapping and sequestration by security forces. When he was 'released' finally by Bishop Onaga Mbaka told the cheering crowd welcoming him back that he had been suspended for a month for blessing IPOB fugitive leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka and the presidency and the (mis)ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were exchanging verbal grenades recently. Following his controversial declaration that President Muhammadu Buhari should either resign honourably or should be impeached by the dormant federal parliamentarians both the presidency (represented by Garba Shehu) and APC (ably represented by Yekini Nabena) had reacted angrily to the Mbaka bombshell calling him names and questioning his source of inspiration.
For Mallam Shehu 'Garbage' Mbaka was angry that the contractors he brought to Buhari for security contracts were not awarded the contracts sought. And for the APC Fr. Mbaka had crossed the red line and he would be reported to the Vatican for dabbling into politics Nigeriana. Nabena even warned Mbaka about possible exposure of the hiden secrets behind his person and sources of inspiration in a demonstration of subtle blackmail nay, intimidation.
Last Sunday the intrepid priest hit back at his critics. He appeared unruffled during Adoration church service in the coal city. Speaking defiantly from the pulpit overlooking an impressive attendance of the faithful the reverend father stood by his statement. He confirmed that he indeed took three "unknown" men to Buhari for security contracts!
Sounding supremely haughty Mbaka dismissed the presidential spokesman telling him that he had many like him in his employment roll call and asking him if he knew how many poor families he had been feeding or taking care of. He welcomed the idea of papal convocation risibly insinuating that the Pope would clap for him in the event of report coming from the Nigerian government about his political interventions.
But before the papal applause for Fr. Mbaka for his implied political intervention in our national life the Catholic Pontiff in his holiness ought to ask hard questions before reaching any conclusion. Pray, why must a priest who should be apolitical under normal circumstances be actively involved in political prophesy and other mundane engagements outside the catholic doctrine or authority?
Who were the three local or foreign contractors he took all the way from Enugu to the seat of power soliciting for contracts on their behalf? If he claimed he did not know them from Adam how come he took them to the President? What if they turned out to be scammers? What proved that they would deliver if their wish for a contractual engagement with government was granted? What if they were 'terrorists' sent across from abroad to spy the federal government or do damage to the system?
Why would an ordained priest be wining and dining with supreme mundane powers whose policies are making life less bearable for the people? Who controls or supervises Fr. Mbaka's investments and where did he obtain the money to be an investor?
And after his blissful trip to Aso Rock Villa (where he was pictured grinning with both the President and the Vice-President) why did Mbaka suddenly be preaching his sermons in English and having them interpreted or translated in Hausa language? On whose account are the financial resources he is deploying towards providing succour and charity to the needy as he boasted?
The problem lies deeper than the verbal tirades of the Adoration crowd head and the governing minions. As the former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, rightly put it the warring parties were just "blackmailers" who did not deserve the attention of Nigerians. Of course the attention of Nigerians ought to be fixated elsewhere: the battle to survive amidst kidnapping, armed robbery, Fulani herdsmen terrorism and economic crunch.
The Arewa Youths for Progress and Development (AYPD), has joined its voice to calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to resign as his administration had been unable to arrest the "ever increasing insecurity and the dwindling economy". In a recent statement signed by the President, Danjuma Sarki, the northern group said that with the current state of the nation the Buhari government had been incapacitated and could not address the increasing wave of insecurity and downturn of the economy.
The Department of State Services (otherwise known as the DSS) had waded into the Mbaka controversy by declaring that some notable religious and opposition leaders in cahoots with foreign elements were trying to instigate insurrection or disharmony among Nigerians. The DSS by that singular statement had demonstrated that they were not loyal to Nigeria but to the survival of the masked dictatorship in the country.
Pray, have you ever heard of the American CIA, the British Scotland Yard, the French DGSE, or the Israeli MOSSAD issuing a statement denouncing free speech or warning against dissent? The DSS is beholden to Buharism and that is enough ground for trepidation.
According to the voluminous priest those he brought for security contracts were professionals and experts in the field of security architecture. Who knows if their services were sought or if the presidency had engaged them things would have not degenerated to this irredeemable level they have attained today.
That, again, tells you the complacency of the presidency towards securing lives and properties if Nigerians, something which ordinarily ought to be the primary purpose of government in any responsible democratic society. Alas, no one cared what they came with or their capacity to discharge the jobs whose detail or presentation never happened.
We could be accused of playing the devil's advocate here but no one was sure about the security package they had in their possession. So no one could tell their real intentions.
Perhaps, if the contractors had succeeded in their mission Fr. Mbaka would have been made richer through the presidential connection he provided. There is no way Mbaka could not have known those he was taking to the President or what he stood to gain in the event of favourable reception.
And now that everyone is a loser, Mbaka, the contractors and Nigerians, it is hoped that Buharism would heed the call of resignation or be made by legislative fiat to retire to Daura. Buhari needs to go home and retire since his fragile health and old age can no longer permit him to function effectively as President.
Before Pope Francis 'canonizes' Mbaka or claps for his engagements in politics Nigeriana we must warn against any hasty papal approval that lacks analytical depth of the problem and why Fr. Mbaka is a controversial member of the catholic clergy unlike thousands like him in Nigeria and elsewhere.
While we have demonstrated our support for his recent anti-Buhari call we hold that Fr. Mbaka is playing 'politics' for percuniary interests. The sooner he changes his clerical comportment in accordance with the laid-down rules of engagement of Catholicism the better for us all.