The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, (CBCN) has formally and categorically ruled Fr Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu in Enugu State out of order. According to the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, the Most Reverend Godfrey Onah, Rev. Fr. Mbaka is completely on his own because what he did last Sunday amounted to merchandising God’s blessing. But the Church, says Onah “does not sell God’s blessing”
Onah who was preaching at a mass foregrounding a crucial meeting of the Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja of which he is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman was referring to the Bazaar at the Adoration Ministry last Sunday at which the controversial priest made declarations of approval and disapproval considered to amount to dancing out of step, especially by the Catholic Church which is very sensitive to anything bordering on political vulgarity.
Bishop Onah who stated emphatically that he stood on the authority of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria on the issue also said it is not in the character of the Catholic Church to interface with politicians in the manner Fr Mbaka goes about it. The Bishop has thus basically declared Mbaka to be on an egocentric mission in what must be the most authoritative, doctrinal articulation of the Catholic Church on the Mbaka phenomenon raging since 2015.
Not only did Mbaka reprimand some politicians, he solicited and accepted donations from politicians at the occasion. Most notable donors were President Muhammadu Buhari whose gift or donation of N2million for ‘breaking the Kola’ was presented by Senator Hope Uzodinma, the APC governorship candidate for Imo State who stated that he was there in two capacities – on behalf of his family and the Federal Government. It is not clear if the governorship candidate was enacting his own initiative or did get the blessing of the president with whom Fr Mbaka has been fraternising since 2015. The PDP Vice-Presidential candidate, Peter Obi declined to offer anything categorically and to which Mbaka responded by saying that the way the PDP was going, it might not get the votes. It was learnt that he invited so many politicians, each of whom he had a message, almost depending on what he gave or did not give.
For these and other practices he has become known for across Nigeria, the Reverend Father is receiving the hottest bashing from the Catholic establishment. While the Most Rev Onah chose to take on Mbaka from the intellectual space of Veritas University which is wholly owned by the Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Achi, the Director of Communications of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu was also doing same from his base. He said in a statement that the Catholic Church is not a partisan front where its operatives can politicise the pulpit. He also added that Fr Ejike Mbaka is totally on his own.
Bishop Onah who preached to what can be called a full house of Veritas Univesity, meaning Catholics, other denominations in Christendom as well as Muslims said God’s plan for Nigeria is for unity in diversity. Although this reporter did not get the exact words he used, he categorically mentioned Hausa-Fulani, Igbos, Yoruba and every other ethnic groups whose peaceful cohabitation he does not think is contrary to God’s wish. He is though not satisfied with the state of the nation, a problem he says the Church is confronting by raising a university which has been designed to be a leadership training ground. As far as the Bishop is concerned, Veritas University is, therefore, not just another university and all its students and other stakeholders should feel privileged.