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MBAKA HAS COME AGAIN
Written by Felix Amadi, Maputo, Mozambique
"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Mathew5: 13-16)watched with thrill and captivation the drama that surrounded Rev. Fr. Camillus Ejike Mbaka's endorsement of Muhammadu Buhari shortly before the last presidential election in Nigeria. From his parable of the pigeons, through the Patience Jonathan's visit at the Adoration Ministry Enugu, the 5 million Naira offering and rejection, to the Cardinal Emeritus Okogie's outburst, the story remained intriguing and educative. There is no doubt that the events of the last presidential election pitched Fr. Mbaka against many powerful individuals and establishments in Nigeria. His act of courage of endorsing Muhammadu Buhari above the then incumbent president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, elicited tones of messages of support from interested and affected parties. It also stirred an ocean of disenchantment from many of his teeming admirers, and provoked many messages of disassociation from some interest groups. His traditional base, the Catholic Church, was at pains of understanding the rationale behind his seemingly obstinate endorsement of the candidate Buhari. As a result, the leadership of the Catholic Church in Nigeria distanced the Mother Church from the Mbaka rhetoric and persuasion.
I admire Fr. Mbaka not because he is a catholic priest. I respect him not because he is a product of my alma mater, Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri, Imo State. I hold this man of God in high esteem not because he is into the ministry of healing, deliverance, prophecy and philanthropy. My utmost regard for Fr. Mbaka stems from my subjective perception of him as a fearless individual who is ready to walk his words even when the odds are against him, because as Martin Luther King Jr. said, "If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live".
After Fr. Mbaka endorsed Mr. Buhari's presidential bid, many people attacked him and argued that as a religious personality, it was wrong for him to delve into political matters. Many made the case for the separation of religion and politics in the life and ministry of a Catholic priest. I am not a proponent of the school of thought that advocates that a Catholic priest should not comment on political matters or endorse a candidate for election because it is not part of his 'calling'. My point of view is strengthened by the fact that when the Ancient Greek Philosopher, Aristotle, defined man as a "Zoon politikon"(political animal), he didn't make an exemption of the clergy. The clergy are first and foremost human beings, who are affected by the same daily conditions and situations prevalent in their immediate environment. They don't live in the Moon or Mars, but in the same society where the increase in the price of fuel affects all and sundry. So Fr. Mbaka should not be cajoled into silence and passivity in the face of what he perceives as bad leadership and governance.