Reverend Father Camillus Ejike Mbaka who claims not only to be a priest of of the Most High God and a prophet, is also a stormy petrel, a Socratic gadfly, a social critic, a non-comformist, and a rebel with a cause. Ejike Mbaka is vocal, bold, fearless and courageous. He threads on rough paths, and swims in troubled waters. He is controversial, as well as uncompromising.
For over two decades, even before the advent of the present democratic dispensation, Ejike Mbaka has used the pulpit to expose and to criticise the ills of the society, and to attack those who surprintend over the affairs of the country, at both the federal and state levels.
As one who believes that he is gifted with the power of clairvoyance, who claims to see the future, who claims that the Spirit talks to him, Ejike Mbaka had predicted many things that later came to pass.
He said he saw the death of Sani Abacha, and it came to pass. He said Ikedi Ohakim would not be reelected Governor of Imo State, and it came to pass. He said Goodluck Jonathan would not be reelected President, and it came to pass. He said Peter Obi, and his principal, Atiku Abubakar, would not be elected Vice President and President respectively, and it came to pass. He said Hope Uzodinma would be Governor of Imo State, and it came to pass, etc.
Sometimes, Ejike Mbaka’s power of clairvoyance would fail him, like when he said that Chimaroke Nnamani would not be reelected Governor of Enugu State in 2003, but Chimaroke was reelected. But that is the problem with the Spirit, who works in mysterious ways, beyond human cpmprehension.
The current travails of Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka stem from the fact that Mbaka had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, or be impeached by the National Assembly, since he was not able to solve the security challenges facing the country. Mbaka who was an ardent supporter of Buhari and who had campaigned for him in 2015 and 2019 elections, believed that the glory of God had departed from the President, this time around.
Then, hell was let loose. Loquacious spokesperson to the President, Garba Shehu, said Mbaka was aggrieved because he had led three contractors to the President, but did not succeed in securing contracts for them. Mbaka responded by saying that he actually led three expatriate security experts to the President for the purpose of tackling the security challenges in the country, but that he did not personally ask for contracts from Buhari.
The next thing we heard was that Father Mbaka was missing, some people said he was kidnapped by “unknown gunmen”. Every place went hysterical, into confusion. But before any search team could be raised, they said Mbaka was summoned by his Diocesan Bishop, Callistus Onaga. As a result, some people marched to the Bishop’s House to ask for the whereabouts of Mbaka, and in the process, destroyed many things. Which is too bad.
This added a new twist to the whole saga, and some people began to ask: Why was Mbaka summoned by the Bishop? What offence did the man commit? Was Mbaka the only person to call for Buhari’s resignation? Several other people had told Buhari to resign, because the President had failed to stem the rising tide of insecurity in the country.
But if on the basis that Mbaka, as a priest, a Minister of God, should not talk politics, there are other Ministers of God who not only talk politics, but also participate in politics. Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Catholic Church, talks politics. Pastor Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, talks and participates in politics. Our Vice President, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, is an ordained Minister of the Redeemed Christan Church of God. He talks and participates in politics, etc. So, should Mbaka’s case be different?
They said that Father Mbaka led some chontractors to ask the President for contracts, but they did not say that Mbaka requested contract for himself. But even if Father Mbaka had asked for contract from the President, what offence did he commit? Does his priestly calling preclude him from asking for contracts? We are yet to be told.
Mbaka worked for the Buhari regime and therefore, there is nothing wrong if he asked for compensation. But since they did not tell us that they compensated Mbaka for all he did for them, we leave that for the judgement of their conscience.
They said that Father Mbaka had blessed Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). What is the big deal about it? Do we no longer have freedom of speech? Is Mbaka not entitled to bless whoever he wishes to bless? Whoever does not like it, should go ahead to pronounce his curse on Nnamdi Kanu.
We do not know what transpired between Father Mbaka and his Diocesan Bishop, Callistus Onaga, which led to alleged disappearance and reappearance of the controversial cleric and the unruly behaviour of some of his followers. Whatever might have transpired, our thinking is that this should have been handled with tact, diplomacy and maturity, rather than allowed it to get out of hand.
Bishop Callistus Onaga is the chief shepherd of all Catholics in Enugu Diocese. It is his responsibility to give all his flock, both the ordained, and the lay faithful, adequate protection. Pressures might have been mounted on him from some high quarters to give out some of his flocks whom they do not fancy, to devour by wolves. He should never allow this to happen. He should never give in. He should stamp his feet, to protect his own. Nobody can touch or remove him as Bishop, because they were not the people who appointed him.
Nigeria is fast descending into the abyss. Many people are suffering. Human life has lost its value in the country. People are dying everyday, killed like fowls. We should not all keep quiet. We should speak up, because to keep quiet is to give acquiesce to these injustices in society.
As our own Wole Soyinka had said: “The man dies in him who keeps silence in the face of tyranny”, and also, according to Edmund Burke: “It is the silence of those who would have spoken and the inactivity of those who would have acted that made it possible for injustice to thrive”.
Those in high positions, whose voice counts, should therefore no longer keep quiet while the country is bleeding to death. They should speak out and clear their conscience. In his letter of resignation to the French colonial government, during the Algerian war of independence, Frantz Fanon wrote: “There comes a time when silence becomes a dishonesty. The ruling intentions of personal existence is no longer in accord with issues of common place values. The decision I have taken is that I cannot continue, under the pretext that there is nothing else to be done”