“Those priests who tend to compete with so-called trendy pastors to dream dreams, see visions and utter prophecies are reminded that not all dreams, visions and prophecies are revelations from God.
“They are sometimes the product of one’s psychological disposition, brain waves or even the result of mental fatigue and should not be confused with absolute reality.
These were the words with which the Catholic Church hierarchy replied fiery Enugu priest, Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, on Sunday, over his several claims to seeing vision, the latest of which was that some people were plotting to kill President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mbaka had suddenly shot himself into national limelight in the manner he came out with his prediction of the defeat of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in last year’s presidential election, which incurred the wrath of many Nigerians, before the recent one relating to the alleged plot against the President.
Apparently irked and embarrassed by the series of controversial predictions, the church, known for its conservative and impersonal attitude to issues, appeared to harken to rising protests from several quarters and transferred the Director of the Adoration Ministries, Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), from the high profile Christ the King Parish, in the heart of Enugu to the non-descript parish in the outskirts of the state capital.
But, the transfer, which took place a fortnight ago, was received with apparent bitterness by the Mbaka, who complained of many things including the quality of his accommodation in his new parish, which he said was too small to keep some of the AMEN properties.
But, the church, through the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), not only emphasised, on Sunday that he was actually in no position to complain, but went further to school him on the conduct that was acceptable within the fold.
In an admonition at another edition of this year’s conference, President of the CBCN, Ignatius Kaigama, not only frowned at Mbaka’s prophesies, but stressed that the church and particularly its priests and leaders must avoid the “melodramatic displays that resembles modern Broadway shows.”
Regardless, followers of the fiery priest were not persuaded on the church’s stance on the issue, but instead took out their anger on Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which they fingered for his perceived ordeal.
In an angry riposte, on Sunday, they accused the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Calistus Onaga, of bowing to the pressures from the PDP and the Igbo umbrella organisation.
Signed by Kingsley Eze, Igbo Youth Kaduna, Sunday Ukam, JP; (Enugu Adorer) Adedije Wale (Osun State, Adorer), and 20 others, they accused Onaga of deviating from the approach of his predecessors, who rather than castigating the priest, actually went out of their way to protect him, maintaining that the transfer out of the Christ the King Parish GRA, Enugu, fell short of the routine transfer of priests in the diocese.
The statement said: “What Bishop Michael Eneja saw and allowed, Bishop Gbuji protected and watered but Bishop Onaga uprooted in a most barbaric and despondent manner. How? Sometime ago, he gave impromptu directive that the Ministry should stop the Wednesday all-night Adoration prayer, which Fr Mbaka complied with. The directive would have blown out the fire of the ministry and brought it to a painful end if not for the intervention of the Holy Spirit”, they stated.
“Is Bishop Onaga angry that Fr Mbaka is prophesying? Was it not from the seat of the Bishop he occupies that Fr Mbaka was ordained a priest, a king and prophet? How then can the Church become worried when he begins to prophesy? Does the Church contradict itself?
“We are not happy with the manner the wind of the transfer blew and many of us feel bad about it. Fr Mbaka is holding the brake for some of us and we implore him to keep matching the brake and hold the steering firmly because all eyes are on him. He should not be discouraged. We are behind him. Even if they post him to the moon, there we shall be with him. Where are those behind this transfer? Let them come out from their hidings so that they will compete with Fr Mbaka for us to see, in area of preaching the gospel, in prayers, in fasting or in charity.
“Some of us who are not from Enugu Diocese didn’t believe it that Fr Mbaka was transferred in this manner. The transfer is not our problem but the manner it was done. It struck us like thunder and we have been inundated with calls from our people residing outside the country, UK, Spain, USA etc. We are dumbfounded and we can’t help asking- Is this the fight of faith that the diocese is enjoined to fight? Is this how the diocese wants to win souls? While the true lovers of the Catholic Church are thinking of how to protect Fr Mbaka as gift to the Catholic Church, his own diocese just exposed him and left him without shelter.
“Most Nigerians know that the uncommon silence of Bishop Onaga over Fr Mbaka’s prophesy of the defeat of the Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP-led government by President MuhammaduBuhari was not really for nothing. He was just waiting for the time to carry out the script of the stalwarts of the overthrown party.
“Barely few weeks before the posting, the voice of a faction of the Ohaneze ndi Igbo, a socio-cultural group that fell out with the party was heard barking at Fr Mbaka to ‘shut up’ over his prophesies. And now comes the posting done in such a manner as to really shut Fr Mbaka up. Source Close to Bishop Onaga disclosed to us that the Bishop said he transferred Fr Mbaka out of pressure from Ohaneze and PDP. The posting is not Holy Ghost oriented but PDPnized and Ohanezenized, and any cleric, be him Pastor, Bishop or Cardinal that supported this is enemy of the Holy Spirit.
“How can the Bishop just wake up and tell Fr Mbaka to pack into a parish that cannot comfortably contain two priests as a third priest? Is he meant to punish him? Is that the way the Catholic Church in the diocese is meant to reward and encourage him for the glory and honour he had brought to the Catholic Church in this part of the divide and for his unalloyed humility and total obedience to the Church? Is that the way the Church is meant to reward him for taking care of the flock of the Catholic Church both within and outside the dioceses?”
The group also took a swipe at the Secretary, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Raph Madu, who had explained that Mbaka had no right to protest his transfer, warning him to stay out of the matter or be exposed, for his alleged “questionable life as a priest to public glare.”
They added: “He should learn the wisdom in the adage that he who lives in a glass house should not throw stones and keep silence. He lacks the moral rectitude as a priest to talk to Fr Mbaka and we are ready to confront him with those facts if he doesn’t mind his language.
“We are ready and determined to carry out a religious revolution in Nigeria if the stage-managed defamation and character assassination sponsored by enemies of the Holy Spirit in the garb of clerics against Fr Mbaka persists. We have been silent because Fr Mbaka has been calming us down to protect the image of the Church in Enugu Diocese, but this time, we cannot continue to hold our peace for we believe that respect is reciprocal.”