Few days ago, Nigeria woke up to the fiery message of the lead pastor of Adoration charismatic Catholic Church, Rev Father ejike Mbaka titled ‘Goodluck To Badluck’. The message touched on several issues and the video is now everywhere online. As of today, it has gathered over one hundred and fifty Thousand views on YouTube within short time.As usual and should be expected, it has received several negative and positive attentions from the pew and the pulpits.
Even Father Mbaka’s own tribe, Catholic Church in Nigeria had distanced itself from the message. One Catholic Arch Bishop has said, ”Father Mbaka should be considered as one of the Catholic priests as well as parishioners in Nigeria and not the voice of the church in its whole form”. The said Arch Bishop was also quoted as saying Father Mbaka spoke his own mind and not the mind of the church he represents. Further he felt given the creed of Catholic church, Father Mbaka should be disciplined as no such views should be openly expressed by a Catholic priest. Pastors, clergy from different denominations have also expressed shock for such ‘avowed statement’ from an hallowed position.
Ours is a funny society. A society where docility rules on the surface but when we are at the confinement of our rooms, many including clergymen expressed more than what Father Mbaka spoke out loudly. Even on current affairs analysis on various media, people felt religious leaders are not supposed to take part in partisan politics. Many Nigerians are afraid of the truth but they will be glad if they could borrow the mouth of their neighbours to say what is in their minds. The issue of religion is critical in Nigeria. No wonder many politicians always seek an affiliation to a major ‘Man of God’ or the other. As the custom was, any December that precedes election year, Incumbent President, Governor always attend the largest congregation of an inter denominational Christian programme popularly refered to”Holy Ghost congress’.
This is an annual event of the Redeemed Christian Church of God of Nigeria. Even the popularly known ‘Ebora Owu- high traditional fetishism tittle holder in Egbaland’ former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo never missed this opportunity. Even Late President Yar Adua and his vice then who later became President, Goodluck Jonathan were said to have consulted with the church General Overseer before and after becoming President. Unfortunately, President Jonathan did not find time to attend 2014 edition. If what we heard from grapevine was true, it might have been because President Jonathan learnt one of the ‘Daddy G.O’ sons may be coming strong on the frontline. Daddy G.O is the popular name for The Redeemed Christian Church of God, General overseer- Pastor E.A. Adeboye.
Wise Presidents had used this programme which is usually attended by Millions of people to seek ‘spiritual and annoited covering’ for the task of winning election. This is a discussion for another time.Coming to Rev. Father Mbaka, the Catholic Father who has the privileged of speaking to thousands of congregants every Sunday used this special Sunday to lambast and exposed the level of bad leadership of the Present administration. According to him, Nigeria was excited to meet with ‘Goodluck’ when the Present President came in only for the fortune of Nigeria to begin to turn into badluck in every sphere. Father Mbaka talked about bad leadership in terms of the inability of the President to fix bad roads, provide good health as well as quality education among many other challenges. While enumeration all these atrocities, the teaming crowd were hailing, clapping and saying Amen. Amen in literary biblical terms means’ may it be so’.
But while the crowd were hailing his speech, a keen observation of the leaders of his parish church who were on the podium with him showed something contrary. Even the junior clergy on the podium covered their mouths in wonder and possibly thinking the man of God was trespassing or may be a fear that he might be picked up by the the state Security Services. That is our position. You may want to view the video again.While we may not want to join issues here with any side, the point of observation here is the marked Inconsistency in the utterances of Father Mbaka. It will be recalled that In November 2014, it was widely reported one of the top Government officials from that region brokered a relationship with the Rev. Father Mbaka and the Nigeria First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, who was physically present in a Sunday worship. It was widely reported in the Newspapers that the man of God did say the President will win the election and no one should fight him.
At the meeting, the first Lady was prayed for as well as annoited by the same Father Mbaka. One wonders what has changed?.Though in Father Mbaka’snew message he did say he did perform a spiritual exercise of flying four birds and the healthiest bird ‘which according to him’ was very significant could not fly. That to him was an indication President Jonathan should not contest. This he refused to give a voice to immediately until now. During this period when many Nigeria Newspapers covered the opinion of the Rev Father Mbaka’s endorsement of President Jonathan and where he warned nobody should fight the President, no Catholic Bishop or top leaders in Nigeria spoke out that Rev Father Mbaka was not speaking the mind of the church.
None said he should be punished for flagrantly endorsing, annoitng the First Lady and by extension her husband as God sent. Also none of the church leaders who are now speaking out against Father Mbaka did not say a word. That was not important or called for response or what do we say is the major reason for that radio silence then? Or do we say the yuletide season had covered the faces of many called great men of God. As concerned citizen, we keep wondering why the double standard? Why do we live in this kind of double speak society where we often overlook a part and concentrate on other parts of the story. He that comes to equity must come with a clean hand so say an adage. Are our hands, the hands of our leaders and ‘Men of God’ really clean? Why can’t we have a standard of measurement, why is there too much juxtaposition in Nigeria society? When Father Mbaka ‘endorsed’ President Jonathan why did Catholic Church not say ‘that was not the position of the church? Several questions to answer here.
The purpose of the piece is not to blame but to raise questions about our attitude.With Father Mbaka, we can only wait till one has a word with him to know what went wrong as to why he could not speak his mind when the First Lady was physically present and after? Why is it also that our society including the church does not have a standard of measurement? To some issue we are very focal while to some we remain silent?. Many had also argued, the role of the church is to pray for good governance and do nothing. If this is true why is church collecting money from the society or becoming willing tools in the hands of Politicians?. This is a paradox within the Nigeria society that needs attention of everyone.