Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, the combative Enugu-based Catholic priest, who controversially turned against then President Goodluck Jonathan during the campaign last year, has broken his silence on the misery being faced by many Nigerians since President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration in May last year.
During the campaign, Mbaka in a sermon in which he claimed that “it was Goodluck for Jonathan and bad luck for Nigeria”, had endeared himself to Buhari the candidate. The priest then went on to endorse Buhari as “God-sent”. This earned him a visit from Buhari’s wife in Enugu and being hosted in Abuja by the president and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
For the past few months Mbaka kept a low profile while Buhari’s approval ratings tanked as the Nigerian economy went south. A source close to the priest told Naijiant.com that he had been busy sorting out his accommodation since he was transferred to a parish in Emene, a suburb of Enugu.
But the charismatic priest could not keep quiet any longer and let rip in a sermon yesterday.
Watch it here:
Mbaka lamented that “hunger was everywhere” in the country, students could no longer pay school fees and that those fees have been “hiked” despite many being unable to pay them. Using typically colourful language, he said “Nigeria is being attacked ferociously by hunger” as landlords and tenants were complaining. He stressed that the church “feels the impact and can’t keep quiet”.
“Buhari should know there is trouble”, Mbaka declared and the president needed the right type of advisers that “represented the poor masses”. He called on Buhari to “do away with his advisers”.
Mbaka emphasised that “there was suffering everywhere and people are smelling of suffering. A hungry man is an angry man”. He added that there was a lot of anger and there was no solution. He claimed that the mortuaries were full because the “death rate was high” and many people “were attacked by hunger and hunger is like a robber”.
As he got into his groove, Mbaka asked the president to “sit up” because “a red light was blinking on the country”.
On the fabled fight against corruption, Mbaka claimed that “nobody wants to listen to stories about Saraki and Ekweremadu” and what was needed was “economic revamp”. The Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu were charged with forgery in what many see as a politically-motivated prosecution. Mbaka implied that hungry people didn’t care about corruption prosecutions.
He used the collapsing exchange rate of the naira to illustrate the dire economic situation, saying that “the dollar is growing as the naira is dying”.
The priest, who was congratulated last week by President Buhari on the 21st anniversary of his ordination, argued that hunger in the land was making people lose faith in God and there was no end in sight. The hunger was driving a lot of people to rely on the church for charity and this was an indication of the level of poverty.
The sermon also took in the spike in attacks from the Niger Delta Avengers. Mbaka called this just “the good morning” of the troubles, suggesting worse was to come.