Friday, April 30, 2021 11:23 pm
Given the current shouting match between him and the Presidency, the issue is that Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka’s prophesies and public utterances make him a subject of huge debate
By Elesho Richard
In spite of the dry January 2020 wind, people from all walks of life trooped to the Emene prayer ground of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN) for its worship service. Praise and worship songs were going on, that Sunday 19, when suddenly a sea of heads turned in a single direction.
Joyful noise enveloped the arena. As Rev. Fr Anthony Camalus Ejike Ebenezer Mbaka made a gliding dash for the wooden pulpit, the congregation erupted in ecstasy. Dressed in a light green silky flowing rob, he walked round the pulpit with Episcopal or near divine majesty.
On March 20, 2020, the same drama repeated itself at the same venue when he declared that the deadly Coronavirus would die just the way Ebola vanished when it entered Nigeria years back. Mbaka urged Nigerians not to panic or be afraid of the deadly Coronavirus because, as Vanguard reported, it, would soon be a thing of the past. He added: “To those who believe in God, all things are possible. No matter how it has defied people, it cannot defy God.’’
For the Priest, January event was a great moment of triumph. The type that consumes a man after accomplishing great exploits. The good singer that he was, he took over the microphone, easily moving from one sonorous rendition to another to the admiration of his almost fanatical followers. The atmosphere was a cacophony of victory shouts as he held the jubilant congregation spell-bound by his mannerisms.
Mbaka had good reasons to be excited. He had recently been in the eye of the storm and vindicated over his prediction of a change of government in nearby Imo State where the People’s Democratic Party’s, PDP, Emeka Ihedioha held sway as Governor. As he alluded, if the prophecy had not come to pass, it would have cast a dark shadow on his ministry and made his enemies to prevail. “But God of Elijah and Elisha is not a liar.” He disclosed.
Everything started 31 December during the crossover night service at the Adoration ground. High point of the programme was when the Priest delved into the slippery terrain of Nigerian politics in his prophetic utterances that upset the Applecart. Hear him:
“In spite of all that would happen this 2020, there is hope. In Imo state, there is hope. Hope, Hope Hope… Hope in Imo state.” He advanced reasons for the hope. “Imo people have suffered (but) God is raising a new hope that would be an agent of salvation for them.” And for emphasis, he added “He’s coming with a new flag to restore the dignity of that noble land of Imo. Lift your candles as I bless Hope Uzodinma and I empower him to spiritually take over.”
Perhaps to underscore his message, he added that he did not know how it would come to pass. But he boasted that “no prophecy has ever been declared on this prayer ground without coming to pass.” His advice to doubters was “please if you heard that there would be a new government in Imo and you don’t like the message; if I say Hope, you say hopeless but do not fight me… If you do that, the God of Moses, Elijah and Elisha will deal with you”
The message rankled many nerves as the Priest came under attack from various quarters. Not without good reasons. Ihedioha had won the 12 March 2019 Imo State Governorship election with clear margin. Professor, Francis Otonta, the Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, who announced the result disclosed that Ihedioha, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, polled 273,404 votes and won in 11 of the 27 LGAs to defeat Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, AA, who polled 190,364 votes and won in 10 LGAs. Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, a former Senator, had 114,676 votes and won in four LGAs while Hope Uzudinma of the All Progressives Congress, APC, another former Senator, came fourth with his 96,458 votes and two LGAs.
Although Ihedioha was subsequently sworn in as Governor on 29 May, the three other candidates proceeded to the Election Petitions Tribunal to challenge his victory. On 20 September, the tribunal dismissed the petitions declaring that the PDP candidate was validly elected by the Imo people. That judgment was reinforced by the Court of Appeals on 18 November. Still dissatisfied, the aggrieved candidates took their petitions to the Supreme Court, the final court in the land. The Court’s pronouncement was being awaited when Fr. Mbaka invaded its privacy with his prophecy.
The Priest received not a few knocks for the message. Many people accused him of prejudice and disrespect for the Supreme Court while others called on the Catholic Church to sanction or caution him. But, not being one easily cowed by persecutions, and fully persuaded of his convictions, he engaged his traducers.
The following Sunday, 5 January ,Mbaka shed more light on the prediction. He spoke of “a new leadership that will break barriers…Those who are attacking the message are just casting pearl before swine, the Holy Spirit has said it, and that is final.” To show that he is not a novice in legal proceedings, he offered an explanation: “Even though Ihedioha has won in a tribunal and at the Appeal Court, that doesn’t mean that he will triumph in Supreme Court. Enough of all this brouhaha.”
“What we are doing in Adoration here is spiritual, it is not according to our power, it is the Holy Spirit, once he reveals it, we say it,” he advised
Nigerians were all eyes and ears on the Supreme Court on Monday 13 January. That day, the highest Temple of justice was scheduled to adjudicate in the Governorship tussle in six states including Imo. The others were Benue, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano and Plateau. Apart from the last two which are controlled by the APC, the others are PDP strongholds.
The high expectations were, however, cut short by the court for two reasons. First, the number of people that invaded its premises was not anticipated. Apparently uncomfortable with the poor security presence and the large crowd, the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Tanko, directed the security agencies to sanitise the court room and premises. He demanded that the lead counsels in each of the cases must not have more than five lawyers. The judges left the court room to allow order to be restored. They returned after some minutes.
Joseph Daudu who was lead counsel to INEC was on his feet to begin his argument, when the CJN interrupted and announced that one of the justices hearing the case was critically sick.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, the court will abruptly rise because one of us is sick,” he said. within seconds, he led the other justices out of the court to their chamber to enable them attend to the sick one whose name was not disclosed. It took about 40 minutes before one of the registrars of the court announced that all appeals in the case had been adjourned till the following day, 14 January.
It must have been a traumatic long wait for parties in the cases. As to be expected, people arrived the court early the following day. That day, the seven-man panel headed by the CJN delivered a damning verdict against Ihedioha. The judges in a unanimous decision held that he was not validly elected and awarded victory to Uzodinma. Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who delivered the lead judgment said some 213,000 votes from 288 polling units belonging to Uzodinma were wrongly cancelled and declared the APC candidate as the valid winner of the governorship contest. The court therefore ordered immediate withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Ihedioha. It ordered that a fresh Certificate of Return should be issued to Uzodinma forthwith, adding that he should be sworn-in immediately as the governor of Imo state Uzodinma received his Certificate of Return the following day, Wednesday 15 January. The new governor and his Deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku, were subsequently inaugurated the same day by Justice Pascal Nnadi, Chief Judge of the State.
An elated Mbaka then took a step outside prophecy. Accompanied by one other priest, he made an appearance at the inauguration. He went on to pray for the governor and sanctified his office before returning to Enugu.
Following the Supreme Court pronouncement, Fr. Mbaka and his supporters went euphoric. A statement by his spokesman, Maximus Ugwuoke, claimed the prophet gave 40 prophesies about 2020. As only one has come to pass yet, he warned Nigerians to expect fulfillment of the remaining 39. He said the victory of Uzodinma was evidence that Mbaka was “truly an anointed man of God.”
The statement further stated that the fact that the Supreme Court’ s seven justices unanimously agreed to the judgment showed that God was behind the prophecy.
He went on an ego trip: “We are not all gifted alike. Fr. Mbaka’s prophetic gift should be a source of pride for the Catholic Church and indeed all true Christians as a living evidence of divine presence within the Church. As a lawyer, I tell you that there are double fold angles to this miracle.
“One is the miraculous resuscitation of Hope Uzodinma from the far away position he was placed in the election result announced by INEC in Imo State. The second is the unanimous confirmation of the seven Justices of the Supreme Court that Uzodinma was the rightful winner of the election.”
Thus says the Lord: Fulfilment and controversies
As his followers were celebrating the fulfillment of the prophecy, however, those not persuaded by it have accused the Catholic Priest of a litany of transgressions. “He is neither a priest nor a prophet. May be a Chief Priest of a shrine…or a Juju man.” a journalist told TheNEWS in Enugu. Others accused him of leading the prophetic arm of the ruling APC and that what he branded as prophecy was nothing but “a privileged information to fly a kite.” To some, he hawks predictions to the highest bidder.
An Imo State pressure group, Rebuild Imo Media, RIM, insisted the Priest is an agent of the devil. Amanze Obi, its coordinator lampooned him in a statement. “If there is any spirit that dwells in Mbaka, it is that of sorcery. It is common knowledge that Mbaka, an ordained priest of the Catholic Church, has sold himself to the devil. Thus, rather than the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, Mbaka is possessed by evil forces and this is why he is always a willing tool in the hands of evil men.”
In spite of the criticism, the Priest became pompous in his estimation of the events. “Ihedioha and co should go and relax. This is not unprecedented, it happened to Jonathan, Atiku and Peter Obi and after everything, my prophecy came through. You must not be the Governor of Imo State, and you are not better than Hope Uzodinma,” Mbaka said.
Mbaka was born and raised in a home where palm wine tapping/selling was a family business. His father Humphrey Ogboefi Mbaka was a notable palm wine tapper in Amata Ituku, Igwu LGA of Enugu State. After school each day, the boy assisted his parents in hawking palm wine round the village. It was around this period he started exhibiting a talent for clairvoyance, sort of. After acquiring theological education and trainings in the priesthood, he was ordained in 1995.
He was said to have possessed striking ability to foretell the future from childhood. The gift became handy in his primary duty as a Christian Minister.
However, controversies have trailed his path. In the build up to the 2015 general elections, Mbaka prophesied doom for the incumbent President and candidate of the PDP, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, while affirming victory for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammodu Buhari. During the December 31 2014 Crossover night, the Priest who used to be a supporter of Jonathan made a sudden turnaround in his message titled “from good luck to bad luck.”
“I’m not saying that Goodluck is a bad man. He is a good man. But he cannot lead Nigeria. As things stand right now, from the oracle of the Holy Spirit, Jonathan should quietly resign honourably and let Nigeria be. The destiny of Nigeria is greater than Goodluck Jonathan. The Goodluck in Jonathan has become a bad luck to Nigerians. Whatever brought him in should send him back and let Nigeria be.”
He then called for support for Buhari’s APC change mantra. “We need change. Whatever it will be, let it be. This is my golden message to my beloved country. What actually is happening (Ogini nne me?)…By the grace of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are announcing spiritually change! 2015 should not be a year of any hooligan, maneuvering to hijack power. This is our New Year message. Listen, when you go home, tell anybody you see that from the oracle of the Holy Spirit, we are announcing change. Can somebody help me to shout change in Jesus’ holy name?”
The Priest’s switch of loyalty was viewed by many as grand apostasy. He was once an ardent supporter of Jonathan. In fact, about three weeks before his famous melodramatic recount he had played host to the President’s wife, Dame Patience Jonathan and said good things about her husband.
Generally, Nigerian politicians enjoy patronising prophets, sorcerers and other religious personalities. Thus, on Tuesday, 9 December 2014, the then Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu along with the President’s wife and her friends paid a visit to the adoration ground. Mbaka was reported to have prayed for them, frowned at those accusing Jonathan of underperforming and assured the first lady of electoral victory for her husband. He further absolved the President of any blame in the Boko Haram insurgency insisting he was good enough for a second term. But something went wrong.
By the cleric’s account, Mrs Jonathan refused to give him her Phone number. Listen to him: “When she (Dame Jonathan) came, I told her to give me her (mobile phone) number so that I could give her messages, but thrice, she refused. It was later she told one of the pastors with her to give me his number. So, before that message (Mbaka’s preaching against Jonathan), I had called the number for two weeks but it was always the Personal Assistant to the pastor that picked the calls.” He considered it an act of insolence and that was the seed for the withdrawal of his support for Jonathan’s second term bid.
He stopped further calls, returned the money the first lady brought to his church “in appreciation” and drew the battle line. He said he released some pigeons into the air to fly. However, and unfortunately, too, the one which was spiritually linked to Jonathan refused to fly, even though it was most well fed. It was ominous. He said when he petitioned God for an explanation, the Supreme Being told him the pigeon refused to fly because he had torn the kingdom into shreds from Jonathan’s hands. Following the divine revelation, he immediately detoured, withdrew his support, and began a ferocious campaign against the first family.
The development shocked critics who accused the Priest of swindling Jonathan. “Right from my primary school, God has been using me for prophesy,” he said. “In the case of Jonathan and his wife, God in heaven knows that apart from the offertory the woman gave on the altar, which I knew the amount, I took that amount and put back inside the same bag that one of the former aides of Jonathan brought – small bag filled with dollars in appreciation of God, not as bribe. But the Holy Spirit said, ‘send back this money’. She didn’t give it to me directly. She gave it through somebody and I returned the whole money plus the one she used for offertory, all of them were returned. There is no kobo of Mrs. Jonathan or Jonathan in my hand; the Holy Spirit rejected all of them.”
Time wore on without any reaction from the President’s camp. Then Mbaka went ballistic by accusing the first family of assassination plot. He said: “Let it now be known to the whole world that President Goodluck Jonathan and Patience are planning to assassinate Father Mbaka. It is a known secret.” He didn’t have the details of the plot though. “So however they are planning it, I don’t know. Whomever they want to use, I don’t know.” But, he was certain “they will not come themselves and do it. They will not do it by themselves. They will use these unemployed people, the same people I am speaking for.”
Father Mbaka said he should be taken seriously on the issue. The rest is now history. The election came and Jonathan lost.
Mbaka’s second term predictions on Buhari were not less controversial. If anything, they were filled with record breaking inconsistencies. One moment he could be hot. The next, ice cold. He expressed disappointment at not being patronised by a President he helped to power, although Aisha, the President’s wife had visited him in July 2015 and occasionally sent gifts to him. In his 2018 Cross Over night message, the Priest berated the President for inflicting pains on Nigerians and warned about an electoral doom for him in 2019. He said the President was sluggish, archaic and hypnotized by a cabal.
Mbaka said: “I had wanted to pray for you and because I don’t want anybody to attack me, I don’t want the Bishop to invite me, I don’t want politicians to attack me anywhere, God forced me to say this…Change or you will be changed. God said that Buhari is in trouble. He is hypnotized and his mantra has been canibalized…The wind will be too strong that Mr. President and the cabal will be blown out of office shamefully.” But, nothing is permanent under heaven. Before the end of the year, the hostility had transmuted into friendliness. This was how.
It all started the first weekend of December 2018, when Peter Obi, Vice Presidential candidate of PDP and former Governor of Anambra State honoured an invitation to the Adoration ground for the annual harvest and Thanksgiving service. Fr. Mbaka amidst other dignitaries, called out Obi, who he fondly described as “my brother” to announce a donation and project at the bazaar sales. The politician declined to make an indecent public show of his donation. An angry Mbaka understood that as stinginess and warned that the political journey of Obi and his boss, Atiku Abubakar might “end in shame.”
Mbaka while standing next to Obi had asked him to “stay in front of this children of God and tell God what you will do for Him … or what that means is, you don’t want to do anything for God. This is common deceit.”
Obi replied: “Father, what I said is straightforward. You will come and show me the project so that the two of us will talk. That is what I said.”
Mbaka then accused the former governor of making “political statement” to which he responded: “Father knows I don’t make political statements. Anyone here from Anambra state knows Peter Obi has never promised anything and failed. I am a fundamental Catholic. I do whatever I say at the church.” He explained, like a frightened pupil, before his tormentor-teacher.
The Priest said in response: “In your capacity and what God has done for you as governor … God hates stinginess. What I am saying is not to please you, but what will save your life. Otherwise you and Atiku will fail.”
Mbaka went on to tell Obi how governors of Ebonyi and Enugu made donations without announcing at the altar and urged him to do same. The former Governor eventually broke kola with N500,000.
The priest also said he would make prediction regarding the 2019 presidential election come December. He advised Obi to bring Atiku to his church before that date. Of course, the PDP Vice Presidential candidate left the church unhappy that day.
Mbaka was set for the kill. Not long after Obi departed, Nzodinma along with Governor Abubakar Ganduje of Kano State entered the church with a Federal Government delegation. Mbaka was excited as the congregation welcomed them with jubilation. Incidentally, it was in that meeting that the Imo APC candidate planted the seed that blossomed his Governorship ambition. He was reported to have broken kola with N2 million and announced a project on behalf of Buhari. A happy Mbaka was said to have made positive pronouncement on his political career.
The Priest turned to Ganduje and gave him a message for Buhari. He was unhappy that despite his well known support for the President, he had not extended any patronage to the ministry. He confessed that “It’s because of Buhari that we have he had suffered much for the President. He may have withdrawn his support for him but partly because of his good wife who “has been sending some charity articles, food articles we give to the poor, but this ministry must be built.”
He urged Ganduje to impress it on the President to show appreciation. If Buhari cannot come to the Adoration ground, Mbaka would make do with a visit to Aso Rock. The President needed to act fast as he would be making his yearly prophecy by 31 December.
The APC hierachy must have latched into the poor relationship between Mbaka and the PDP candidates, who apparently called his bluff. The December deadline came and Mbaka said the President would win reelection. That was further reinforced on Monday 28 January, 2019 when the Priest made his pioneer visit to Aso Rock. For him it was a much awaited longing to luxuriate in the ambience and opulence of the seat of power. About two months later Buhari was reelected for second term.
When the Lord has not spoken: A Gale of unfulfiled prophesies
Fr. Mbaka’s prophesies have also been plagued by a worse form of controversy – unfulfilment. In fact, it will appear that for every of the pronouncements that came to pass, there are several others that have not seen the light of day. For many of the predictions, they came with the usual razzmatazz that accompany a gaze into the future. They were spread by fleece-able carriers into an equally gullible and expectant public. The only difference, however, is that heaven has withheld their coming to pass. Below is a list of some of such prophesies.
* His signature failed prediction is the one he made about the second term ambition of former Enugu State Governor, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani. In about 2002, Mbaka had a frosty relationship with Nnamani which resulted in the former prophesying that the latter would die that year and would not contest not to talk of winning reelection. Before his first term election in 1999, both men had been friends. In fact, the priest was said to have taken the politician to the monastery and offered prayers for his success at the poll in 1999.
Nnamani won and the two remained united for a season. They were reported to have parted ways over the Priest’s persistent and demanding visits. Although, smallish in stature, the Priest, as an enemy, is formidable enough for any politician. Their hostility became public when the Priest made unceasing verbal mince meat of the Governor in his programmes. The stampede during an Adoration crusade in which 13 congregants died was the enzyme that let all hell loose. Mbaka accused the Governor of killing the worshippers with a gas spray. At intervals hundreds of worshippers would gather around the Lion Building (Enugu State Government House) and poured invectives on Nnamani, its landlord. They invoked Holy Ghost fire on him at will and tagged him wicked.
At the peak of the tension, the Priest prayed, prophesied and vowed that Nnamani would lose his bid for reelection. The election came and the governor did not only win in a landslide, he also won election to the Senate after successfully serving his constitutional two terms.
* In 2011 Mbaka recorded another notable failed prophecy. The former Director General, DG, of NAFDAC, Late Prof. Dora Akunyili had resigned as Minister of Information and aspired to represent Anambra Central in the Senate on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. She had a strong opponent in Dr. Chris Ngige a former governor running on the ticket of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
As the situation was becoming uncertain with election fast approaching, Akunyili opted to intensify her prayers. Promptly, she travelled to Enugu and approached the Prophet and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry. Mbaka welcomed and prayed for her. He also assured her of victory in the election. The late politician must have left there light hearted, since Mbaka had prophesied victory for her. However, she lost at the poll. She was defeated by Dr. Chris Ngige.
* In January 2016, Mbaka predicted that Nigeria would experience new crises and overcome them all. In truth Fulani herdsmen versus farmers clashes, Shiite crisis and general insecurity cropped up and intensified. But, none has abated since then. Instead, they have grown from bad to worse.
* The same year 2016, he prophesied that an attempt would be made to assassinate President Buhari. No such attempt on Buhari’s life was recorded or made public that year.
* In 2015, he predicted that Buhari would win the Presidential election and that his tenure would witness peace and progress. However, less than two years later, he lamented that the tenure had invited suffering and hunger to the electorate. He told Buhari not to consider seeking a second term in office.
He addressed the President: “As I was waiting on the Lord, I’m asked to advise you, don’t come out for second tenure; after this, retire peacefully. Come back to yourself or you will cry by the time you will be sent out of office. Those who are encouraging you to come out and run again want to disgrace you shamefully and publicly.”
*In July 2017, the Priest was once again reported to have predicted the President’s death in a message he titled “E no dey again.” The fiery Preacher, during a programme, said he had a vision, where he attended a meeting in Aso Rock, which also had Former Military President, Ibrahim Babaginda, in attendance. “I asked him (IBB) a question about Buhari, but he told me to forget it. There is cry like rain in Aso Rock and in the North. In the spirit world, Nigerian flag is burning. Within a short time what is hidden will be revealed”, he said.
He also revealed that the Holy Spirit had told him to forget trying to help the situation, adding that, he had tried his best, but people in Aso Rock did not listen to him. He recalled, that there was a time he told Buhari that people were planning to kill him, but nobody listened to him.
* In August 2019, reports went viral that Mbaka allegedly predicted certain strange things would happen in Aso Rock on 1 October. A fellow Catholic Priest Fr. Ebube Mounso was reported as saying Mbaka was not a man of God.
Apparently displeased by what Ebube said and in order to prove his divine connections, Mbaka was reported as predicting a five hour darkness in the Villa. His alleged words: “To prove that I am really a Prophet of God, I’m going to make a Prophecy that “on 1 October, there will be darkness in the cloud over Nigeria for complete five hours starting 12 noon till 5pm. Then, after it there will be massive rain with thunder… if this sign did not occur on first of October, then I will resign as a Prophet.” Of course, the set date has since passed without an iota of the controversial predictions coming to pass.
A cat with nine lives: Story of unending assassination plots
In the midst of the controversies that becloud his prophetic activities, Mbaka has distinguished himself as the proverbial cat with nine lives. Each time soothsaying pushes him into troubled waters, he alleges assassination plot and cries for help from the public. His foretellings are usually accompanied by trademark hallucinations that end in the Priest accusing his victims of plotting to snuff out his life. From his confrontations with Nnamani, Jonathan, to his viturperations with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his recent encounter with Ihedioha, accusing his victim of plotting his death is a constant trend that runs through his profile. A quick recap:
– At the peak of his hostility with Nnamani, the Priest accused the former Enugu Governor of plotting to silence him through killing. In what looked like a Nollywood action scene, Mbaka gave graphic details of how he survived an assassination attempt. Sounding every breath like a bullet proof monk, he said the assassins trailed him around 11pm as he was returning from an official engagement with his Bishop. According to him, the gunmen stopped his vehicle, brought him out and started shooting at him , execution style while he lay down on the ground.
He provided further details. He was carrying his bible on his chest while the bullets hit him many times. They shot for some minutes and then drove away thinking he was dead. When he woke up, to his pleasant surprise, none of the bullet had penetrated his body. Such a miraculous escape was worth celebrating. Thus, within the month he released an album describing the incident. The album sold out.
– After his friendship with Jonathan broke down beyond remedy, he accused the then President and his wife of plotting to kill him. He drew comparison between the pitiable situation and that of Pharaoh and Moses in the Old Testament. “Did they think that killing father Mbaka would make Jonathan and his wife win the election?” he asked in a video. “Is Mbaka their problem? I want to send this message to the atmosphere, let it now be known to the whole world that President Goodluck Jonathan and Patience, are planning to assassinate Father Mbaka.”
– He also narrated how Obasanjo sent killers after him. The Priest narrated how he was almost killed days after he met with Obasanjo and “told him the truth.”
Mbaka said that during his discussion with Obasanjo, “I asked him, ‘Mr President, I hope after telling you the truth, I will be safe?’ and he assured me of my safety. But two days later, my house was bombed. Everything in the house was destroyed. A spy had told me to escape from the house as the house was going to be bombed.”
That was just the beginning. Mbaka said he was accosted by assassins as he was driving along, days after he survived the bombing of his house. “I had three orphans with me, whose education I was sponsoring, but they took the children aside. One of them came down and identified me saying ‘he is Fr. Mbaka’. They asked him ‘are you sure?’ he said ‘yes’, then they started raining bullets on me. I don’t know how I escaped.
“When I woke up the next day, in a nearby bush, I saw my white garment covered with blood but somehow the bullets did not penetrate me, how it happened I don’t know.”
– After his infamous tirade with Obi in 2018 and his prediction of victory for Buhari the Priest re-jigged his old antics. He said killers were after his life. He pointed finger at politicians or the church. A statement from the Adoration Ministry claimed the Priest was attacked on Thursday, 6th December 2018 on his way to Emene, but he escaped unhurt.
Chief Aka Emmanuel, President, National Adoration Family; Chief Okolo Godwin, President, Adoration Fathers’ Associations World Wide; Mrs Ann Aligwe, President, Adoration Mothers’ Association World Wide; ChukwuAgoziem, President, Adoration Youths’ Association World Wide; and Barr Ike Maximus Ugwuoke, Media Chief said the development came to them as a rude shock and utter surprise.
The Adoration Ministry representatives said: “It is with rude shock and utter surprise that we received the report of the attempted assassination plot of the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria, Thursday evening by some unknown gunmen who fired gun shots at him on his way along Emene road Enugu…The contemporaneousness of the recent attack of Fr. Mbaka by gunmen with the Peter Obi and the CBCN saga leaves us to a safe conclusion that the attack on Fr. Mbaka may have either been politically engineered or ecumenically endorsed, and thus we will not hesitate to call on the security agencies in this country to beam their searchlights and leave no stone unturned in getting to the root of this issue.”
As expected, the assassination narratives drew reactions from Nigerians. A group by the name Concerned Catholics, CC, accused Mbaka of faking the stories. In a statement signed by Chief Jude Ndukwe and Rita Maduabuchi, the Group said it was alarmed that Fr. Mbaka could condescend so low as to plan his own assassination attempt only to turn around to accuse the Catholic Church of such a sinister plot.
The statement reads: “We of the Concerned Catholics have watched with utter shame and dismay the antics of Fr Camillus Ejike Mbaka of Enugu Diocese, the latest being the execution of an assassination attempt on himself which we have every reasonable cause to believe he planned against himself only for him to turn around to claim in a statement released by his Ministry that the phantom attempt “may have either been politically engineered or ecumenically endorsed”, meaning that the Catholic Church might have had a hand in it.
“We wish to state categorically that this fairy tale of assassination attempts on Fr. Mbaka has since become a charming strategy for holding his followers hypnotized as it makes them see him as a super human whose biddings they must do irrespective of its correctness or otherwise. It is a strategy he employs to curry public sympathy and presidential favours after openly lamenting at that same occasion that the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari abandoned him.”
Prophecy for the highest bidder?
The Priest has been accused of making pecuniary consideration a core aspect of his prophetic mandate. Many of his attackers believe he hawks his prophesies to the highest bidder. Those conversant with his style say he is a worshipper of Plutus the son of Demeter generally regarded as god of wealth and commerce in Greeko-Roman mythology. Perhaps, for good reasons.
The way he harassed Obi for financial patronage during the bazaar sales, left no room for another conclusion and thus attracted wide condemnation. Worried by the criticisms, Mbaka offered an apology although he explained that God deserves money. “I want to tell you that all these things are caused by jealousy and envy. They are not fighting Mbaka for anything wrong. Everyone who came was blessed but they turned it against me, saying I am after money. God deserves money. If you don’t want to bring your own stinginess hold it…Whoever felt insulted, I apologise. It was you who came for bazaar “
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, rejected the apology and mandated the Priest to tender an unreserved apology in writing. The Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga under whose jurisdiction and supervision Mbaka operates said what the Priest tendered was no apology but more of apologetics, which he said did not comply with what the Bishops directed him to do. Mbaka complied without further delay.
It was a similar situation that prevailed between Mbaka and Ikedi Ohakim, another former Governor, this time of Imo State. Indeed, Imo politics and politicians have become favourite launch pad and cash cow for the Priest. In 2010 when the country was preparing for the 2011 general election, Ohakim was accused of detaining, stripping and beating up a Catholic Priest, Fr. Eustance Okorie for obstructing traffic. An overzealous Rider in the governor’s convoy was said to have arrested the Priest on 18 August and brought him before the governor who approved the punishments, so said the rumour.
Some opponents of the governor who were members of AMEN allegedly brought the matter to Mbaka’s attention. Without further investigations, the Priest promptly waxed a record on the matter. The song “Onye Aha Kuru Father Ihe, Ogaghi AchiAnyiOzoo!” (That fellow who beat up a Reverend Father will not rule us again), became an instant campaign anthem in Imo. Rochas Okorocha, the main opposition figure cashed in on the situation. Mbaka assured him of victory in the election. True to his prediction Ohakim lost reelection and Okorocha mounted the saddle.
Some four years later, in August 2014, Ohakim, still desirous of a second term, attended the AMEN Prayer Ground for a programme. By then the friendship between Mbaka and Okorocha had been fractured. On seing Ohakim, the Priest made an immediate somersault and tendered an apology to the former governor. He told the bewildered crowd that he was misled to lie against the ex-governor in his song. The question on most lips was why did it take four years and Ohakim’s visit for Mbaka to admit to his error?
Right there and then Fr. Mbaka, in his usual style told the crowd that Okorocha gave the Catholic Archbishop diocese of Owerri a N50m dud cheque and as such, he would not win his second term election. He went further to give what looked like “a compensatory prophecy” that Ohakim would win the election. The rest is now history. Just like Nnamani, Okorocha did not only win re-election he went ahead to win election to the Senate after completing his two terms and still leaving Ohakim in the cold.
“From what we can deduce: Fr. Mbaka did not hear from the Holy Spirit, he only heard from the politicians who patronize or obviously made huge donations to his adoration ministry.” Ambrose Nwaogwugwu said in a comment.
From Rags to riches
Weather or not finacial considerations dictate his ministry, Fr. Mbaka is far from being poor. His net worth is put at more than $50 million. He is in fact one of the wealthiest Catholic Priests in the world
Rev. Fr. Anthony Camillus Ejike Ebenezer Mbaka was born the only son of his parents Ogbuefi Humphrey Mbaka and Mama Felicia Mbaka. Although he looks like someone in his 40s, it is curious that his date of birth is unknown or not stated in any record in the public domain. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Ogbuefi Humphrey, his palmwine tapping father and his wife, were people of lean means. But they managed to enroll the child at school. The lad had been deeply religious and a Catholic from childhood. He had a regular routine of assisting his mother in the kitchen and hawking palm wine in Ituku and environs. After this important chores, the young man used to organise Block Rosary prayers where he often assumed the role of Francisco (one of the three children believed to have been visited by the Virgin Mary in Fatima in Portugal in 1917).
He became popular in his community partly for his religious activities. He was the leader of the Prayer Warriors in St. Anthony Catholic Church, Ituku and championed the efforts to strengthen the Charismatic Renewal group in the church. He attracted more fans because of his talent for singing. His fame grew as members and non members regularly approached him to pray for them. About this time, he indicated interest in joining the Priesthood. He was opposed by his father and other family members who had hoped that Mbaka would continue the family tree. Becoming a Priest would certainly truncate that dream. The boy was unyielding and the family had to relent in their opposition.
By and large, after his days at St. Vincent Secondary School Agbogugun in Awgu, he enrolled for Priestly training at Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri and concluded his studies in 1995. It was probably at this time that the seed of his later day attachment to Imo State was planted. He proceeded to St. Joseph’s Ikot Ekpene for further training. Poverty was written all over the aspiring clergy. He looked tattered and went many days without a decent meal.
“I used to have one pair of shoes, one pair of trousers and one sultan. All the people I begged for help didn’t help me.” The man recalled. Today, the story is different. From rags and days on empty stomach, the Pastor has metamorphosed into one of the most affluent men of God. He has become a notable philanthropist and ranks among the ten richest pastors in the country. His ranking is more enviable when the study is limited to the Catholic Church.
Mbaka made a humble entrance into Priesthood in 1995. Specifically on 29 July that year when he was ordained a Priest of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, a Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. His first place of primary assignment was the Holy Ghost Cathedral which is the Secretariat of Enugu Catholic Diocese. This was where he had a burden to start a personal Ministry. He served as the Diocesan Assistant Administrator. While there he embarked on preaching engagements to many places, notably Capuchin and GTC Enugu. It was at GTC that the idea of nurturing a personal Ministry began. It was first Christened World Prayer Centre of the Eucharistic Jesus. Impressed by his records, the young Priest was posted to Christ the King Parish, CKP, GRA, Enugu as parish Priest. After serving for almost two decades in the parish, Mbaka was transferred to Our Lady Parish, Emene in 2016.
The transfer was not without a drama. Mbaka and his followers said it was punitive. The day he left CKP hundreds of adorers followed him in a long motorcade. In an emotion laden speech, Mbaka lamented his fate and wondered what would happen to the large properties of AMEN. “I have no house to keep them. They want me to suffer…I am going to suffer and suffer…”
His fears turned out to be unnecessary. Four years down the line, Mbaka is still there even as his prosperity has not diminished.
In 2016, Mbaka, a lover of sports had prophesied that Rangers International of Enugu would win that year’s Nigerian Professional Football League. He was correct. For the first time in 32 years, the team came home with the cup after beating El Kanemi Warriors of Borno 4-0 early October that year. An excited Mbaka presented several gift items including decoders and N2m cash to players and officials of the team.
Last year April, Mbaka’s donation of N12m to the Enugu Diocese of the Catholic Church i.e his employer, tingled many ears. Many adorers, as members of his Adoration Ministry are called are regular beneficiaries of his large heart. He runs a generous scholarship scheme, pays the medical bills for the indigents. Recently, the Priest gave one Patience, a singer in his church, N3.5m when she gave birth to a triplet. In fact, many of his colleagues in the Lord’s Vineyard had benefitted from his kindness.
For instance in 2016, Rev. Fr. Lambert Ejiojune received a double portion of miracles from Mbaka. He was denied ordination for some 19 years after he became a deacon. He did not lose heart in his Priestly pursuits. He remained unmarried, acquired a PHD and became a lecturer. During a visit to AMEN, Mbaka singled him out and predicted he would soon be ordained a Priest. Within weeks of that prediction the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese invited Dr.Ejiojune for ordination. That is not all. Mbaka gifted the man a brand new Toyota Highlander as a mark of his felicitation.
Mbaka, on 4 March was quoted in Vanguard that he spends over $2 million monthly for various charity works he embarks on. He revealed this after presenting N18.8 million to the management of Annunciation Specialist Hospital, Emene, Enugu, on behalf of Multi-Life Savers for the Less Privileged, a non-governmental arm of his ministry. He gave out N10 million to 200 select members of the Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria for empowerment coupled with a bag of rice each.
According to Mbaka, the N18.8 million was to cover accumulated free medical services that the hospital had rendered to indigent people on his bill, amounting to over N14 million, while the balance covers a deposit for other indigent patients that would require the services of the Catholic health facility in future.
“We do this every day and it is on record that there is no month that I don’t spend at least $2 million silently, on charity. So, this visit is just one out of several charity outings that we undertake without any publicity. “I represent the ministry here, as the chief servant. What we are doing is physical but I am also here, on behalf of the supernatural part of the exercise. “This programme is purely inter-religious, inter-tribal and interdenominational. Among the beneficiaries are Catholics, Pentecostals, and Muslims, among others.”
Mbaka has multiple sources of income. The thousands that throng his programs come armed with tithes, offerings and myriad donations for the advancement of the work of God on Earth. The Ministry also makes money from sales of some of its branded articles namely audio and video discs, prayer books and devotional, calendar and stickers. As a matter of fact, Mbaka is by all standards a successful businessman. He has innovated and converted aspects of his ministry to commercial advantage. He reaps enormous financial benefits from mobile telephony. He ministers to his followers who had to purchase a customised recharge card at different rates through which they call him for prayers and counseling. A woman, Onyeka Ezenubu, once testified about how Mbaka prophesied she was going to conceive and give birth to a quadtriplets on phone. The prophecy was fulfilled.
Mbaka reaps bountifully from his musical talent. He is a gifted song writer and singer. He explained he gets inspiration for his songs through dreams. He sings at ease and has waxed several records. His gospels songs are very popular especially among the Christian dominated south easterners.
Mbaka is a notable industrialist. His business empire encompasses manufacturing companies and school (which is under construction). He is the owner of series of interests under the Aquarapha conglomerate. The company produces consumables such as sachet water, bottle water, vegetable oil, yoghurt and olive oil. He also owns a recycling plant, Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria, AMEN and produces Exercise Books, AMEN stickers, AMEN recharge cards, AMEN Television, AMEN Newspaper and AMEN prayer books. With his array of companies, G. Ugwyanti a commentator was of the opinion that Mbaka provides employment for more than 4500 Nigerians.
It is as someone puts it in Enugu “Fr Mbaka is stinkingly rich.” However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, accuse the Priest of being a prophet of Baal, a euphemism for fake prophet. In a statement by its spokespersons, Emma Nmezu and Clifford Iroanya IPOB said “this young priest is no different from the biblical prophet of Baal because he appears to be worshipping anything but Chukwu Okike Abiama (God Almighty the Creator). Worse still, he seemed to have abandoned his canonical calling and delved into business…”
But the Priest says he has “no apology to those who envy me because of my prosperity.”
Prophet of God or Baal? Debates over the source of his power linger.
Ihedioha should havecome to Adoration… Mbaka (Credit: KanyiDaily.com)
On Sunday 19th January, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka at a Thanksgiving service at Adoration Prayer Ground Emene, shed more light on the 1 January prophecy on Imo State.
“What’s the distance from Imo state to Enugu, that after being given the message on 31st December 31st night, Ihedioha could not come to adoration and seek God’s intervention? Rather, he embarked on attacking and castigating the message and the messenger. Tell me the person that attacked a genuine man of God and went scot free?
“What I am doing here is extraordinary and unadulterated, it is not by power neither by might. The way Peter Obi attacked the message I gave him which later put him in this present political quagmire was the way Ihedioha also attacked me.
“I think that when a message like that is given, the right thing to do is to ask the prophet what to do to avert it.”
The priest dismissed the allegations that he was collecting money to declare prophecies because he was a member of the APC. He said as a prophet of God, the message he preaches is not partisan.
“Some of you who are saying that I’m an APC man and I collect money for prophecy should stop talking. If it is a question of money, Goodluck Jonathan wouldn’t have lost the 2015 presidential election because they were ready to give me everything provided they retained the seat.
“The message is not partisan, I’m not a politician, I am a prophet of God. The Governor of Enugu State and Ebonyi State we are praising for doing wonders, are they in APC?
“I went to Imo State to pray for Uzodimma, yes! Is that your business? Did I go with your legs? If after everything Hope (Uzodinma) called me to come and pray in the Imo government house, who am I to say no?
“Even the Catholics who should be at the vanguard of protecting me are coming hard on me. A gift God gave you people to use as pride and say that it is in my church that this type of thing is happening, you people are toying with it.
“Those who are advocating the ban on prophecy are ungodly. Catholic Church is a prophetic church, stopping the prophecy is closing the mouth of the Holy Spirit.
“Church will ordain you a priest, baptize you and confirm you in the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit. When you start doing the work of the Holy Spirit, the same church will attack you. This is uncalled for.”
-This story was first published in the June-July 2020 hard copy of TheNEWS and on this online platform on 26 June, 2020.