By Dr. Mrs. Amuche Nwagala
The diminutive, feiry, and garrulous Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka is not my ideal priest or model. I have my reservations about him and his style of preachings. Some of his prophecies have come to fruition, while many have gone into miasma.
Before the 2023 general elections campaigns kickstarted, Mbaka who was known for political talks and prophecies was hurriedly removed from the Adoration Ministry and sent to Benin City by the Church leadership amid protests and criticisms by his congregants. Some attributed Mbaka’s sudden removal to his open criticism of Mr. Obi’s stinginess and campaign against his presidential ambition.
Shortly before the just concluded general elections, Mbaka returned to the Adoration Ministry and moderated his actions and inactions, especially as it concerns political prophecies and outbursts.
Unfortunately, before Mbaka’s return to the Adoration Ministry at Emene, Enugu, the Churches, especially the Catholic church, had been infiltrated and consumed by the Obidient movement bandwagon that was driving Mr. Peter Obi’s presidential ambition.
The churches became campaign grounds for Mr. Obi and all those who rode on Obi’s back and under the Labour Party to contest elections banked on Church’s support.
Before one could say Jack Robinson, the priests became Labour Party and Mr. Obi’s campaign managers and spokesmen on the pulpits across the country, especially in the southern part of the country. Labour Party logo became bulletins in the churches. The church leaders and priests brazenly indoctrinated and hypotenised the worshippers with the falsehood that Labour Party logo symbolised the Holy Family.
Being too religiously fanatical, our Christian brethren, especially the Catholics, imbibed the political misinformation hook, line, and sinker. In short, they were told by the priests that anyone who votes against the Holy Family symbol in the elections will automatically go to hell fire.
These were churches that had leaders, members, and candidates of other various political parties apart from Labour Party as congregants and members. The fanatical priests and Bishops were less concerned and unpretentious of the damage their political activities in the pulpits were doing and will do the churches thereafter.
They were so obsessed and fixated with Mr. Obi’s presidential ambition, to the extent that many of them went to the extreme, as if Mr. Obi was Christ. Dressed in their priestly apparels, they overtly campaigned and canvassed for votes for Labour Party at the polling units during the Presidential/ National Assembly elections with the phantom hope and overconfidence that Obi will win the election. This despicable act is unprecedented in the history of church and politics in the southern part of the country. Church members who are members of other political parties, other than Labour Party, were made to look like bad people and treated like outcasts by the clergymen.
Eventually and unfortunately for them when the presidential election result was announced, Mr. Obi, who was the new Jesus and Messiah Nigerians wanted, according to the Christian clergymen came a distant third behind Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of PDP.
That was how some politicians, who have no pedigree or trackrecord and cannot win any election under normal circumstance, hid under the Obidient movement bandwagon and the Church, particularly Catholic priests’ open campaign to win National Assembly elections.
This strange development of open partisanship of churches in the 2023 elections because of Mr. Obi’s presidential ambition in the last election will definitely rock the churches in the nearest future.
Religious politics is alien to many states in the southern part of the country, but Obi’s ambition has introduced it. How churches will manage or survive the effects or backlashes going forward is something one is not sure of.
This is especially in the light of the fact the When the church like the Catholic tried to revisit their stand ahead of the Governorship/ State Assembly elections, the Labour party’s social media hirelings took on them and accused them of being compromised by other political parties.
Dissecting the covert and overt meddlesomeness of the church in the 2023 general elections, it is not an overstatement to say that Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka deserves an apology from the church leadership. He deserves it because he is better than those who despised him but did the worst during the elections.
Mbaka’s public apology on behalf of the priests on their partisan conduct in the 2023 elections is a step in the right direction. The church was not only defiled, it was partisan and compromised. As it is now, the wounds seem to have gone, but the scars will remain for too long.
Whatever informed the church’s decision to descend into the political arena because of Mr. Obi’s presidential ambition is highly hypocritically, selective, and divisive.
Weaponising religion for political reasons which was to favour only Mr. Peter Obi and all the Labour Party candidates in the 2023 general elections is the height of partiality. extreme partisanship and injustice by the church and its leadership.