By Evaristus Offor
BEFORE delving into the crux of this piece, I would love to pay special homage to some of our great and honourable journalists in the country ranging from the amiable Femi Adesina, present Special Media Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, pastoral Mike Awoyinfa, philosophical Robert Obioha, and late lionic Dele Giwa, theological Dimgba Igwe and others who have proved to be selfless, truthful, noble in their pen pushing profession. I also doff off my hat for fearless Ndibe who tells the truth as it is. These and other professional journalists have never written articles that derided and embarrassed the public or individual Nigerians unlike some who have sold their souls to the demon in order to gain percuniary advantages.
However, the main concern of this article is the ugly emotional outbursrts by a politically drowned man, who only indicated publicly his morbid animosity against a true prophet of God, Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka whom he felt was instrumental to the sacking of his master, the former President Goodluck Jonathan, and consequently denied him his source of daily bread and power. I am talking of Reuben Abati. Precisely on the back page of The Guardian of Friday, February 5, 2016, the said Abati ignorantly delved into religious and theological terrain where he is not conversant with just to deliver a revengeful pen power punch on Fr Mbaka. As an ignorant lay man in theological or ecclessiastical pavillion, Abati assummed the role of episcopal head rolling out Mbaka’s punishable canonical sins, quoting some bishopric authorities to authenticate his journalistic and parochial venoms. Abati, while analysing the recent posting of priests of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu and Fr Mbaka’s cry of desperation, erroneously condemned the latter’s personal views about the negative results of his being posted out of a mega complex to a one room residency. Coming from an emotionally distressed mind, Abati tried presenting Fr Mbaka falsely, because Mbaka was only telling his immediate congregation of some physical problems they were going to encounter while moving to a smaller place. But he was truthful judging from the property of the ministry and the place they were relocating to. Even if Abati was in his shoes would he not tell his office staff that they would encountr accommodation problems regarding the volume of their journalistic possessions. The truth about this journalistic viterpuration only shows an acrimonious vendetta on Fr Mbaka’s prophetic pronouncement which shook the political sphere of the country and which helped in throwing onto board President Muhammed Buhari. Who is not happy today that the so much fought for change really came our way. Is Buhari’s moral tsunami not complimented world wide. Instead of thanking Fr Mbaka for helping us get this needed change, those who helped in killing our economy are all crying foul and dirges of crucifixtion. No matter what enemies of truth may say about him, Fr Mbaka is a vibrant and fearless young priest who has kept faith with his calling more than most of pastors who support his villification because they dance and wine with oppressors and economy destroyers. How many rich pastors and priests have shown great concern for the poor, but instead extort them unto death. Fr Mbaka is into many genuine pastoral businesses -music, manfacturing and spiritual ministrations just to help the poor, but how many of his traducers such as Abati, have assisted indigent Nigerians and the oppresssed. Yes people praise Abati for his writings, but how many positive revolutions has his writings engineered as Fr Mbaka’s sermons and human right activism have done. Fr Mbaka has suffered a lot in the hands of assassins, oppressors, critiques, pastors and priests because of his stance against injustice, marginalisation of the dejected, hence, he is not afraid of suffering as Abati wants us to believe.
Concerning assets, the Church is a very good investor in such, so Fr Mbaka is right talking of assests in a capitalistic sense as you would talk in terms of your writeups and journalistic books. I am certain that you would prefer going to jail than allow people tamper with your books or library which you cherish a lot, so also with Fr Mbaka’s property which is God’s too. You wrongly intepreted Fr Mbaka’s statements not meant for the press insisting that the melodrama was nothing short of an act of protest and incitement. Haba! Are you imputing words and meanings into this young priest. Did the Church in Enugu tell you that Fr Mbaka was protesting and inciting the masses. You are the one inciting the Church to see it that way. Too bad. But when Christ called on his Father, “my Lord, my Lord why did you forsake me”, was he protesting or inciting his audience. Did Jesus not weep at the death of his friend Lazarus? Was he not afraid at the garden of Gatesamane when death faced him? Why the sweat of blood? So no human being loves suffering and Fr Mbaka is not differrent. It is very insensitive and immoral for you to incite the public and the Church against a loving and hard working priest through these your uncharitable words presenting him to be a renegede or rascal or an affront to Church authority. I think that you and your oga should have answered the questions on the lips of millions of people over the world concerning the outrageous and outlandlish corrupt pratctices of your regime before attacking the personality of a worthy priest of God.
Besides, it is wrong for you to imput that a mob besieged his house in protest, rather his intimidating supporters came to show solidarity and help transport adoration ministries’ possession to his new abode. Also, you should know today that Catholics do not disobey their bishops nor threaten them in any way. We are a disciplined group. For being ignorant of the essence of his posting, Fr Mbaka is not an assistant priest but a residence one. His new place is very close to his adoration ground, hence he will be running it from the new parish, and also his posting should not be seen as a demotion, but a wheel to help him succeed. The Church has no political problem as regards this recent posting, but you lay people are trying to create such picture in order to present Fr Mbaka as a schismatic or a renegade rather than a charismatic and hard working priest. So if any body is calling for his sanctioning because of his personal political and prophetic beliefs, that person is only being jealous and envious of this suffering and energetic man of God. It is only good and fearless priests that can prophetically challange evil leaders as the Lord did to Herod when he called him, “the fox”, while he sent prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah, Nathan, etc, to prophetically warn evil leaders. Was Nathan crucified when he was sent by God to warn David that he would suffer for planning the murder of Uriah because of his wife? Did David not repent and called for divine mercy? If God is apolitical, why did he punish evil kings such as Nebbuccadnazar, Herod and others for being godless and wicked to his people. Did God not chastise or rebuke false prophets who openly condoned evil and their perpetrators-the Pharisees, religious and traditional rulers, sadducceess, etc.? Did the Lord not curse and reject the Pharisees, Scribes Chief priests and elders for being spiritually blind”?
In fact, your statements are only indices of a narrow minded heart filled with animosity over the influential prophecies of Fr Mabaka, that eventually helped the enthronement of President Buhari and the campaign for good governance which is on course. Fr Mbaka is only carrying out his divinely inspired prophecies and no jupiter can stop him from doing so, in so far as such prophecies are helping in sanitising the aegean table of corruption left to us as a legacy by the government that you promoted and protected by your pen. Fr Mbaka is only obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit following the advise of St Paul to Titus concerning prophetic work of the apostle and the integral development of the human person. He advised thus; “ it is for you, to preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine, older men should be reserved, dignified, moderate, sound in faith and love and perseverance. Similarly, older women should behave as befits religious people, with no scandal-mongering and no addiction to wine-they must be the teachers of right behaviour and show younger women how they should love their husbands and love their children, how they must be sensible and chaste and how to work in their homes, and be gentle, and obey their husbands, so that the message of God is not disgraced” (Titus 2:1-8). Also, as a prophet, Fr Mbaka is mandated to urge youths to be moderate in everything they do and while elders set themselves as examples of good work, by sincerity and earnestness, he added. So the work of a good prophet is never acceptable by evil people right from the old dispensation till date, so people with the eyes of angels have continued to praise the good work of this lonely priest who like the Master does not accommodate lies, oppression, marginalisation, injustice, etc. Consequently, no good priest goes to sleep while older politicians and their corrupt contractors continue to destroy our common heritage. As John the Baptist confronted the powerful but corrupt Herod who unjustly took his brother Philip’s wife so did Fr Mbaka confronted former President Goodluck Jonathan wisely prophesying our ugly situation from “goodluck to badluck”. According Fr George Ehusani, “He confronts the Pharisees and the Sadducees who live hypocritical lives, and also the soldiers, the tax collectors, and religious bigots who cheat, defraud and intimidate the people.” Since sixteen years of the rulership of the dead Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Nigerians have suffered so immensely through well orchestrated political profligacy, oppression, darkness, marginalisation, victimisation, unemployment, assissinations, ethnicty, religious madness and governmental irresponsibility. Imagine a government that took billions of money from already farmished Nigerian undergraduates and organised empty job interviews in all the stadia in the country where hundreds of them died and others wounded and maimed. Who will not give a pat on the back of a priest who prayed for a change from a deadly government that wickedly empowered its stooges, friends and party with trillions of dollars, while public interest was sidelined to oblivion. Who will not congratulate a pastor who asked God to change us from experiencing badluck? How times did God initiated the dethronment of kings in the old dispensation? What was the role of Moses and Aaron when God used his outstreched alms to dethrone and humiliate Pharoah and the Egyptians? In so far as our God is the Lord of well being of the flock, every true peiest must also be a pastor of the well being of the masses speaking and praying for them in all matters that affect them. He is the Lord of liberation, freedom, redemption and salvation, so also his priest. Is it not unwholesome to remain silent when an ineptude federal government denied Nigerians the promise of abundance by God to all humanity(cf Gen 3: 26-30).
In the time of Governor Nnamani when assassination of opponents, victimisation of civil servants, thuggery and fear reigned it was the same young but fearless priest who challenged and opposed him to a standstill, to the extent that today the ex-governor can not win any credible election in Enugu State. No one dares a true prophet of man and stands to tell the tale. So Fr Mbaka is synonymous with the struggle for equity, justice, peace and holiness. He is a patriotic Nigerian fightinh for the unity of the country not minding the origin and religion of President Buhari and his Deputy, provided they are on course to building a virile and egalitarian Nigerian State where origin, religion or political leaning will be the determining principles for governance. Fr Mbaka needs more than the reception he gets in and outside the shores of the country because he is a true man of God very generous, charitable, selfless and impeccablely trusted.