Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the spiritual Director of Adoration Ministries, Enugu, Nigeria, AMEN is a man of God with influence and a difference. He knows his onions in both celestial and terrestrial matters. His sudden disconnection from public arena last Tuesday was reminiscent of the Old Testament times. For those familiar with the narratives, it evoked the pitiable image of a Prophet Elijah, the Tishbite in hiding at the Brook Cherith or in a cave at Mount Horeb to stave off the building anger of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, his wife.
Mbaka reads the signs of the times and knows when to strike. When he went missing like a plane from the radar, many minds were agitated. His absence from mass on Wednesday infuriated his followers. A group, Ohaneze N’digbo Youths, OYC, Worldwide escalated the matter. The group raised an alarm noting that the cleric’s whereabouts was unknown.
They had claimed that Mbaka was last seen on Tuesday and that every effort to get to him proved abortive. Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, the President-General of OYC who disclosed the development in the statement signed by him said: “We have it on good authority that his aides have neither seen nor heard from him since Tuesday.”
“Calls put to his mobile line have also remained unanswered; this has now prompted us to issue this alarm as we would not take it lightly should anything untoward happen to him.
The alert was enough to ignite a crisis. In no time, parishioners in their thousands including youths, women, men and those who hardly knew him flooded the streets of Enugu in protest. They insinuated that government had a hand in his “loss” – arrest or abduction.
Poor government, the rancour forced a usually taciturn Department of State Security, DSS to issue a statement. Dr. Peter Afunaya, spokesperson of the secret service, flatly rejected the suggestion that Mbaka was in their custody. Afunaya said: “Rev Fr Mbaka is not with the DSS. The DSS did not pick him up, please.”
The controversy was still going on with the protesters in the Bishop’s Court Enugu when Mbaka appeared from the blues like a magician. He exonerated the DSS and heaped all the blame on Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Dr. Callistus Onaga.
A man not used to economising words and often given to speaking truth to power, not a few persons traced the Priest’s woes to his sophourus tongue.
He was a die-hard Buharideen (kudos to Dr. Ruben Abati who coined that patronym). Mbaka talked himself to troubled waters over worsening insecurity in the land. During worship service in his church on Wednesday, 28th April, he was unambiguous in his call on President Muhammodu Buhari to either resign or be impeached.
“Nigerians are crying because there’s no security in the country. The National Assembly should impeach the president if he doesn’t want to resign,” Mbaka said.
He warned the lawmakers that should they fail to impeach the president and begin to attack him; “…something worse than what they can ever imagine will happen to the members.” He added that “enough has to be enough. There is time for everything.”
The remarks accelerated his match to open confrontation and hostility with a Presidency he helped to establish. Garba Shehu, President Buhari’s spokesperson did not hesitate to give it back to the Priest.
In a statement on Friday, 30th April, Shehu said Mbaka was angry because Buhari did not honour his request for contracts. “Here is the point of departure: Father Mbaka asked for a meeting and to the shock of Presidential Aides, he came accompanied by three contractors. The President graciously allowed them in, and to everyone’s surprise, Father Mbaka asked for contracts as compensation for his support.
“Anyone familiar with President Buhari knows that he doesn’t break the laid down rules in dealing with contracts or any other government business for that matter. He requested the appropriate authorities to deal with the matter in accordance with laid down rules. Now, this is what is eating Father Mbaka.”
Shehu was not alone in his master’s defence. Yekini Nabena, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC joined in the issue and released a veiled a threat to report the Priest to his employers at the Vatican City in Rome.
However, the priest laughed off the indictment and dismissed the party official: “If the Pope knows I am speaking against bad governance, he will clap for me. So please, quickly go to Rome,” Mbaka said at a gathering on Sunday. He admitted leading three contractors to Aso Rock but added that it was during Buhari’s first tenure and “for contracts meant for securing the country.” He did not see anything wrong in that, more so that his candidates did not get the contract. He concluded that God used Shehu to expose that the Buhari government has not been giving him money.
When he appeared on Wednesday to quell the protests, he linked his travails in the hands of the Bishop to two things. His blessings of Nnamidi Kanu, leader of the secessionist outfit Independent People of Biafra, IPOB on one hand and face off with the Presidency on the other.
He said Onaga invited him for a meeting. But by the time he got there he saw some consultants. He was then instructed to stay out of circulation for 30 days of intense prayer and fasting. Hear him:
“I appreciate your patience, endurance, incomparable love, unquestionable solidarity and unique identification with this ministry…You people have been looking for me, look at me here.
“I wasn’t with my phone because I decided to go in to pray to avoid dissonance at that time. The miracle is that at the time I was with my phone calls were coming from here and there that you people were heading to Bishop’s court and Cathedral. Immediately I asked the group that I spoke with to ask you to go back. They insisted that they must see me otherwise they will not go. I spoke with them on video call but never knew they are over 47 groups. I thought that having blessed the first group that they have gone. It was at that moment that I started receiving calls. I told them I cannot go anywhere unless I hear from my Bishop.
“I thank God you have never attacked the wrong people. The DSS was not involved in what happened. But the Bishop gave an order that I should not come here from today. I should leave adoration house, parish house, that there will be no programme here for 30 days and I should stay silence for 30 days. So, I am telling you the truth of what happened.
“So, why I am telling you this is that the Bishop latter came in and asked me to go and tell you people that you are destroying his house and that things are getting worst. I asked him, is that not what I told you people yesterday. So that nobody will accuse the wrong person. Bishop invited me for a meeting and I was going there to meet with my Bishop, I never knew I was going to meet with lots of consultants. So, when I entered the meeting, I maintained orderliness.
“When Bishop asked me to go and take you people back to Adoration, I asked him what happened now because you told me that I am going to stay away and silence for 30 days? Then, he said I should go first and tell you people to go because things are getting worse.
The diocese has kept mute over the allegations.
But this is not the first time Mbaka will court such controversy. He had at different times alleged attacks and assassination plots by the authorities. He had fingered government’s in not less than five of such plots. The following is an excerpt from a previous story in The News detailing such allegations.
A cat with nine lives: Story of unending assassination plots
In the midst of the controversies that becloud his prophetic activities, Mbaka has distinguished himself as the proverbial cat with nine lives. Each time soothsaying pushes him into troubled waters, he alleges assassination plot and cries for help from the public. His foretellings are usually accompanied by trademark hallucinations that end in the Priest accusing his victims of plotting to snuff out his life. From his confrontations with Nnamani, Jonathan, to his viturperations with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his recent encounter with Iheduoha accusing his victim of plotting his death is a constant trend that runs through his profile. A quick recap:
– At the peak of his hostility with Nnamani, the Priest accused the former Enugu Governor of plotting to silence him through killing. In what looked like a Hollywood action scene Mbaka gave graphic details of how he survived an assassination attempt. Sounding every breath like a bullet proof monk, he said the assassins trailed him around 11pm as he was returning from an official engagement with the Bishop. According to him, the gunmen stopped his vehicle, brought him out and started shooting at him , execution style while he lay down on the ground.
He provided further details. He was carrying his bible on his chest while the bullets hit him many times. They shot for some minutes and then drove away thinking he was dead. When he woke up, to his pleasant surprise, none of the bullet had penetrated his body. Such a miraculous escape was worth celebrating. Thus, within the month he released an album describing
the incident. The album sold like mad.
– After his friendship with Jonathan broke down beyond remedy, he accused the then President and his wife of plotting to kill him. He drew comparison between the pitiable situation and that of Pharaoh and Moses in the Old Testament. “Did they think that killing father Mbaka would make Jonathan and his wife win the election?” he asked in a video. “Is Mbaka their problem?… I want to send this message to the atmosphere, let it now be known to the whole world that President Goodluck Jonathan and Patience, are planning to assassinate father Mbaka.”
– He also narrated how Obasanjo sent killers after him. He narrated his encounter during a meeting with activist and Presidential candidate of Action Alliance Omoyele Sowore. The Priest narrated how he was almost killed days after he met with Obasanjo and “told him the truth”.
Mbaka said that during his discussion with Obasanjo, “I asked him, “Mr President, I hope after telling you the truth, I will be safe?” and he assured me of my safety. But two days later, my house was bombed. “Everything in the house was destroyed. A spy had told me to escape from the house as the house was going to be bombed.”
That was just the beginning. Mbaka said he was accosted by assassins as he was driving along, days after he survived the bombing of his house. “I had three orphans with me, whose education I was sponsoring, but they took the children aside. One of them came down and identified me saying ‘he is Fr Mbaka’. They asked him ‘are you sure?’ he said ‘yes’, then they started raining bullets on me. I don’t know how I escaped.
“When I came to myself the next day, in a nearby bush, I saw my white garment covered with blood but somehow the bullets did not penetrate me, how it happened I don’t know. This is what I want to stop in Nigeria.”
After his infamous tirade will Obi in 2018 and his prediction of victory for Buhari the Priest rejigged his old antics. He said killers were after his life. He pointed accusing fingers at politicians or the church. A statement from the Adoration Ministry claimed the Priest was attacked on Thursday, 6th December 2018 on his way to Emene, but he escaped unhurt.
Chief Aka Emmanuel, President, National Adoration Family; Chief Okolo Godwin, President, Adoration Fathers’ Associations World Wide; Mrs Ann Aligwe, President, Adoration Mothers’ Association World Wide; Chukwu Agoziem, President, Adoration Youths’ Association World Wide; and Barr Ike Maximus Ugwuoke, Media Chief said the development came to them as a rude shock and utter surprise.
His vitriols and theatrics have earned him a demotion, transfer and other punitive measures from the church hierarchy in the past. How will he traverse his current odyssey? Only time will tell.