ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
Writing an op-ed, former presidential spokesman and newspaper editor, Dr. Reuben Abati described Father Camillus Mbaka thus; “Last week, Fr. Mbaka stirred the hornet’s nest again when he announced to his congregation that he had changed his mind about President Muhammadu Buhari, or perhaps he had received another message from God to the effect that if Nigeria’s President Bihari does not resign for failing to find a solution to Nigeria’s problems, he should be impeached… He runs a personal ministry, more of a personal business which he calls Adoration Ministry which deploys a combination of the Scriptures, combined with faith healing, theatrics, spell-binding tactics, metaphysical hallucinations and a bit of shamanism to hypnotize an attentive audience.”
One wouldn’t have a problem with Father Mbaka if he comes clean on his political and business affiliations and interests rather than expropriating the platform of the Catholic Church to advance his economic and political interests while consciously or unconsciously branding God as a liar or as a confused entity, who says one thing today and says another tomorrow. If Father Mbaka owns up to being a political pundit, we can understand his steadily shifting opinions and allegiances and ideas on policies and politicians. Some of us quarrel with him not because we do not recognize his right and even the prudence in one changing his opinion and allegiances, but because we feel that he is being dishonest by presenting his personal opinions and wishes as God’s message or some kind of Divine revelations. Even though, I am not your regular kind of churchgoing buff, but I am an ardent believer in the infallibility of God Almighty and it should worry anyone who truly believes in God, when someone paints that same God as a kind of unstable being, who says what He is not sure and gives out messages at the spur of the moment, rather than from a well thought-out point.
Over the years, Mbaka has set a rather embarrassing record for himself and the Church he represents through what I understand as his personal political permutations and personal interests. It will take a voluminous book to detail all of Mbaka’s political adventures sold as prophecies or Divine Messages, but I will attempt to furnish us with five of such instances that are fresh in my mind;
- THE NNAMANI FAUX PAS: Formerly a supporter of Chimaraoke Nnamani, Mbaka was to fall out with the former governor towards the end of his first tenure. The fiery or as some people prefer to describe him, maverick priest, was to pour out the most bitter venom in words upon the altar of God, upon Nnamani. He swore before the Blessed Sacrament that Nnamani would win the 2003 governorship election, only if he(Mbaka) was not called by the Almighty God. He was even quoted as boasting that he would resign as a priest if Nnamani was returned for a second term. Governor Nnamani did not only return for second term, but succeeded in delivering his preferred candidate as his successor. The Ebeano political family has also continued to hold sway in Enugu political landscape for the past two decades.
- THE OHAKIM HATCHET JOB: In the run-up to the 2011 governorship election in Imo State, Father Mbaka picked on a controversial and severally disclaimed story that the former Imo State governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim had harassed a Catholic Priest. Without as much as putting a call across to any official of the Imo State Government to establish the veracity or otherwise of the story, the firebrand priest went all out with that disproven narrative. He even waxed a song which was widely distributed at the time, claiming that Ohakim personally flogged the priest. In 2014, as preparations were in top gear for the 2015 elections, Chief Ohakim was a special guest at the Adoration Ground, one beautiful Sunday morning, to worship God and give good offerings at the altar of God. Having probably given a very acceptable offering to the AMEN, Mbaka was moved in the spirit to turn from an Ohakim curser to his blesser. He showered Ohakim with so much blessings, while at the same time exonerating him of blame from the Reverend Father incident of 2010. He went ahead to “prophesy” that Ohakim would be given power “free of charge”. This was of course, interpreted by Ohakim’s men, to mean that the former Imo State governor would return as governor without working too hard for it. Of course, the 2015 election came and went without Ohakim been on the ballot in the general election.
- THE ROCHAS BROMANCE: As soon as Owelle Rochas Okorocha was sworn in as governor in 2011 to popular acclaim, Father Mbaka was one of the earliest visitors to the Imo Government House. He ‘sanctified’ the Imo State Government House and blessed the new governor as the Messiah of Imo State. He told anyone that cared to listen that God had brought Rochas to wipe the tears of Imolites, and I agree with him on that. However, it seems the god that gave him the 2011 message went to sleep around 2013, as he was singing a different tune, by then. From the same altar of God, where he showered Rochas with encomiums and messages from the Almighty, assuring Imolites thar their pains were over, he lampooned Rochas as the worst thing that happened to Imo State. He accused Rochas falsely many times. One of such false accusations was that he gave the Owerri Archdiocese of the Catholic Church, a dud cheque. This was promptly disclaimed by the Archdiocese through official statements.
- THE “LEAKED” SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT ON IMO: In his 2019 New Year “prophecies”, Mbaka took everyone by surprise when he declared that Imo shall have a new governor by the new year. He made more than an implicit declaration that Chief Hope Uzodimma was going to be governor of the State. That ‘prophecy’ was a hard pill to swallow to many observers, including Yours Sincerely. I felt it wasn’t possible, and I wrote it. Even though this “prophecy”eventually came to pass, Hope Uzodimma’s ‘victory’ at the Supreme Court remains one of the biggest wonders of our democracy till date. While Mbaka’s followers would refer to this as an evidence that their man truly hears from God, some people are convinced that that “prophecy” is the clearest evidence that the Adoration Chief Executive is a political merchant who made his altar available to a cabal to gauge the temperament of Imo people before they perfected their judicial coup against Imo people. The recent outburst by jim against Hope Uzodimma has been interpreted by some people to be a demonstration of his bitterness over the Imo governor’s failure to keep to his own part of the bargain rather than as a show of concern over the bad governance going on in Imo State.
- THE BUHARI GAMBLE: In the eve of the 2011 general elections, the charismatic priest was crooning a song fresh from his Adoration Ground, wishing everyone of us us Goodluck. The Goodluck whirlwind of 2011 was unmistakable and one didn’t need any special gift of punditry to know that the Otuoke man would ride on good fortunes to ascend the presidency. But just before 2015, there were rumours that the AMEN pilot was snobbed by the all-powerful First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
Before we could hear Mama Peace’s own side of the story, Mbaka had already gone haywire against the PDP candidate. If he wasn’t talking about things as petty as pigeons not flying high during independence anniversary, he would tell us how Goodluck had become bad luck to Nigeria. It wasn’t too long before he openly embraced Buhari and told us that God had assured him that the broom was coming to sweep away our pains and fears. Five years, down the line, our pains and fears have increased.
After a long silence following the disaster that the Buhari presidency became, one would expect that Mbaka was going to denounce Buhari’s second term ambition, but after a visit to Aso Rock, he received a ministration that Buhari was still the Messiah that Nigerians earnestly sought for and he took the message to everywhere he went to. This was notwithstanding the fact that insecurity had worsened from what it was in 2015, the economy had already crashed and Buhari’s insensitivity to our plurality was clear to even the most apolitical observer.
With the foregoing, it should be clear to anyone who is amenable to logic that Mbaka is simply a businessman and politician who is intelligent enough and has been fortunate enough to have some of his political permutations work for him. However, he might be dragging his luck too far this time around, because the guys he is currently up against are certainly not as mild and God-fearing as Goodluck Jonathan, Rochas Okorocha or Chimaroke Nnamani. They will not only unravel him, they may as well chew him “like Crackers biscuits”.