By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Francis Igata
ENUGU—Enugu cleric, Catholic Priest and founder of Enugu Adoration Ministry, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, yesterday, celebrated his 20th priesthood anniversary, describing it as victory over enemies of truth and blackmailers. This came just as President Muhammadu Buhari hailed the patriotic spirit of Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka saying that ”Father Mbaka is a great priest who was not afraid to speak truth to power, even at the cost of his own life or being hated by leaders in power.”
It should be re-called that Mbaka’s message of change, which he delivered before the March 28 presidential election, attracted criticisms, especially from the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Speaking at the Christ the King Parish, Enugu, during his 20th anniversary mass, attended by thousands of worshippers, including the wife of the Enugu State Governor, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, the cleric said despite all the attacks against him, God continued to protect him because he remained on the side of the truth.
He declared: “I am not tired after 20 years, 20 years of good health; 20 years of miracles from God; 20 years of hard apostolic work; 20 years in the hand of God.
“There was a time they blackmailed me; they were saying such things like ‘Mbaka why? Mbaka this, Mbaka that’, but I have remained in the hand of God.”
He, however, said he had forgiven his attackers, praying God to “forgive all those who have fought us on the course of this ministry and bless those who have stood behind us.”
In a special message, entitled, ’20-point agenda,’ Fr. Mbaka said he was praying for President Buhari “that God will protect him so that enemies will not destroy him. I also pray for Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi so that God will not allow occultic men to steal his vision.”
In a brief chat with journalists, the spokesman of the ministry, Maximus Ugwuoke said blackmail and unnecessary criticisms had rather strengthened the cleric.
According to him: “Those who are saying he should stay out of politics are misguided. It is part of the role of priests. So, they are merely trying to cow him down but I can tell you that Fr. Mbaka is not somebody to be intimidated; the more they do this, the more he is strengthened.
“In these past years, you can see how God had vindicated him; you can see his prophetic message before the general elections; at a time, he was repeating that prophecy even in the face of threat to his life. So, today, we are celebrating victory against enemies of truth.”
President Buhari in a statement by a Senior aide on Media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, President Buhari said “Father Mbaka is a great priest who was not afraid to speak truth to power, even at the cost of his own life or being hated by leaders in power.”
According to the statement, “Mbaka was a remarkable example that religious leaders are the conscience and moral compass of the society.”
The statement further stated that the priest “rose to the occasion to add his voice in support of good governance and identify with ordinary Nigerians in the face of despair and uncertain future.”
It also explained that adding “one’s voice to make one’s country better has nothing to do with politics”, and that as the “conscience of the nation”, religious leaders cannot afford to be aloof or indifferent to the miseries of the people.”
According to the statement, President said “though honest opinions attract hostility from leaders detached from reality”, history would be kind to Father Mbaka for courageously speaking truth to power, even at great risks.
President Buhari, who said he is “overwhelmed by Mbaka’s sincerity and patriotism” prayed to God to grant the Priest more good health, long life and wisdom in the service of humanity, adding that he is a fountain of inspiration to all Nigerians.