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Of Mbaka’s Discordant Tunes And His Critics

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This is a season of pre
dictions, not just for what becomes of the New Year in the long run, but what lies in the belly of the forthcoming general elections in the country. Thus, when the popular Enugu catholic priest and founder of the Adoration Ministry, Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka chose to be partisan in his liberation theology, Nigerians began to question the authenticity of his messages to his numerous admirers.
Rev Mbaka’s messages concerning President Goodluck Jonathan at two different fora form the basis of judgement on the style, colour and what the priest stands for in politics of the time.
In November 2014, Rev Mbaka played host to First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and others at his Enugu parish where he told the First Lady that her husband had “done well” and deserved another tenure at the Aso Rock, in spite of the distractions apparently referring to the issues of terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria.
The priest did not stop there. He defended President Jonathan for not saving the Chibok school girls, adding that “campaigners on the Chibok girls’ abduction have no reason asking the President to return the girls’ home since Mr. Jonathan was not keeping them.”
Fr. Mbaka who said he heard his message from “above” offered special players for President Jonathan to win the re-election and excel in leadership. Dame Patience was special guest of honour at the 2014 annual thanksgiving and bazaar of Fr. Mbaka’s parish church. She took a bible reading from Genesis, chapter 12:2-3.
However, about a month after the visit of the First Lady, the catholic priest made a dramatic u-turn on Goodluck Jonathan and started singing discordant tunes about the President’s re-election bid. In his new year message, delivered on the eve of 2015, Rev Mbaka lambasted and warned President Jonathan to forget about his 2015 re-election bid and allow his main opponent, Muhammadu Buhari to be the next President
Apart from calling on President Jonathan to “quietly resign” for failing to tackle the insecurity and corruption in the land, the catholic priest also said that Nigeria would be doomed if President Jonathan is re-elected. He recalled the November meeting with the First Lady, and said the “spiritual drama” he performed that day using pigeons, showed that the President would lose the forthcoming elections.
According to him, four pigeons were freed from the cage to fly up but the one that represented Mr. Jonathan refused to move even though it was the healthiest.
The first question that emerges from Rev Mbaka’s spiritual drama is that the other three pigeons that flew away represented who and who? Again, why did he not disclose the outcome of the “spiritual drama” at the November session with Dame Patience? Could Fr. Mbaka  have compromised his spirituality with the fallout of the visit of the First Lady at his church’s bazaar?
Or could it be that the catholic priest uses different spiritual colours to attend spiritual/political sessions and that, by and large, determine the colouration of his spiritual interpretations on political issues?
However, an Anglican Archbishop believed that Fr. Mbaka was settled for him to change gear on the first family. The Archbishop of Enugu Anglican Province and Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, said, “Fr. Mbaka should declare to the world how much he collected from the opponent for him to say all he said against Dr. Jonathan.”
Reacting to Fr. Mbaka’s new year message at his adoration ground, Archbishop Chukwuma recalled First Lady’s visit to Mbaka’s adoration ground in November 2014 where he alleged she (Dame Patience) doled out N5 million and the catholic priest eulogized the President, urging him to continue in his good works without fear or favour only to turn back suddenly to make negative statements about him.
The Anglican archbishop, however, called on Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria to check Fr. Mbaka with a view to curbing his excesses.
The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) also expressed concern over the excesses of its priest. The Secretary-General of CSN, Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, distanced the Catholic Church from Fr. Mbaka’s comments on President Jonathan and the forthcoming general elections, saying they were his personal opinion.
He said some charismatic leaders who claim that they are getting their inspiration from the holy spirit or from God, should not open their mouth wide but pass their message in a manner that is acceptable, considering the explosive nature of the country and other factors.
But the All Progressives Congress (APC) praised Fr. Mbaka’s criticisms of President Jonathan administration for what the party called “his uncommon concern for the down-trodden and for being the advocate of the masses and the voice of the voiceless”.
APC which reacted through its South East spokesperson, Osita Okechukwu, described Fr. Mbaka as a liberation theologian, noting that President Jonathan “is a shoeless man that abandoned the shoeless when he ascended to power. Fr. Mbaka is 100 percent correct.”
He slammed the President for “monumental corruption” of his administration and also accused him of having squandered unprecedented crude oil and gas revenue resulting in Nigeria sliding back into the dangerous loop of foreign debt trap.
On Monday, January 6, 2015, pro-Buhari supporters engaged their pro-Jonathan counterparts in a war of words at the old market road in the commercial city of Onitsha where the former insisted that there was nothing wrong in what Fr. Mbaka said. According to the pro-Buhari group, Rev. Mbaka only gave the message of God to save the ailing country from the hands of President Jonathan.
However, leader of pro-Jonathan group and chairman of Newspaper Distributors Association, Onitsha, Jude Isiguzo, lambasted Fr. Mbaka for attacking President Jonathan, describing his action as against the principle of evangelisation. He said there is no alternative to President Jonathan and that his re-election is God’s making not man’s.
Further dissecting Dr. Mbaka’s fierce attack on Jonathan titled “From Goodluck to Bad Luck,” Onyiorah Paschal Chiduluemije, said there is nothing wrong for Fr. Mbaka hosting the First Lady and using pigeons which supposedly signify peace.He, however, believes there is certainly something wrong with the catholic priest to say that the one pigeon, out of the four pigeons, that refused to fly up represented President Jonathan.
Contrary to the claim that Fr. Mbaka was not partisan, Paschal argues that the catholic priest is actually partisan for him to have singled out one of the pigeons as representing Nigeria’s No. 1 citizen.
The second Niger bridge which Jonathan promised Ndigbos during his first term is taking donkey years to be accomplished. Perhaps, this provides the prism from which some aspects of Fr. Mbaka’s outburst could be well situated. But issues pertaining to development are hardly discussed in isolation.
While Jonathan administration cannot be spared for delaying the construction of the second Niger bridge, praises ought to be showered on him for his developmental legacies in Igboland by way of appointments into key government positions and the building of an international airport of world-class standard in Enugu, after decades of misrule and marginalisation of the Igbos in national project.
Unarguably, insecurity has challenged Jonathan administration more than past administrations but that is not to say that his government has not been responsible enough in tackling insurgency within the ambit of the laws as well as the limit of rules of engagement available to the Nigerian military and other security agencies operating n the evil axis of the North.

 

Samuel Eleonu

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PDP Elders Task Ikpeazu On Power Rotation

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Elders and stakeholders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Abia North, have urged Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, to ensure that power returns to Abia North in 2023 in keeping with the Abia Charter of Equity which recommends power rotation among the three senatorial zones.
The elders in a strong-worded statement, signed by the immediate-past Secretary to the State Government, Dr Eme Okoro, lamented the  danger of disrupting the zoning arrangement, which according to them is capable of rupturing the prevailing peace in the state.
The statement made available to newsmen reads in part:” We are here to appeal to you our dear Governor to work with other stakeholders and men of goodwill to ensure that power rotates to Abia North come 2023 for justice, fairness and equity to prevail.
“We also enjoin you not to succumb to cheap blackmail and arm-twisting by the zone that wants to retain power or the one that wants to muscle out Abia North because it feels it has enormous resources to do that.
“Any attempt by any of these zones to covet power at the expense of Abia North would only torpedo the peace we have all enjoyed in Abia.
“The flame-throwing by the Ukwa and Ngwa people based on old-time delimitations by the colonial masters for administrative convenience is not just archaic and unexcitingly laughable, it also creates divisions and disunity among the peace-loving people of Abia State.”
Abia North PDP elders warned that the zone would not succumb to threats and forfeit its opportunity to produce the next Abia State Governor.
“It would be worthwhile to inform them that threats of violence and intimidation have never been used to secure power in Abia and Abia North, though, a peace-loving people would not be intimidated into abandoning what is due to it.’’
“The threat of violence and resort to it is an ill-wind that blows no one any good. It would only create disunity among us.
“It is the turn of Abia North to produce the next governor of Abia come 2023. We are ready and we have our worthy sons who are more than capable to steer the ship of state.”
The PDP elders argued that since power rotation in the current democratic dispensation began with the zone in 1999, and had gone round all three senatorial districts, “equity demands that power returns to Abia North in 2023”.
They vowed to resist any attempt to disrupt the power rotation arrangement in the state.
“Being avowed democrats who truly practice what we preach, we must resist any attempt to change the cause of our history.”
The elders urged Gov. Ikpeazu to honour his promise to sustain power rotation, saying that reneging will be dishonourable.
“Great men honour not just their words but also agreements even in the face of difficult choices. We know our governor is an honourable man. For men of honour, their word is their bond and they can go to any length to redeem their word whenever you give it back to them.”
The Abia North stakeholders further argued that all states in the South East have since adopted power rotation among their senatorial districts, advising that Abia should not be an exception.
The statement was later delivered to the PDP Vice Chairman Abia North, Elder Amah Abraham for onward transmission to the party Chairman, Rt. Hon. AsiforoOkere; and Gov. Ikpeazu, respectively.

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Wike Tasks Monarchs On Anti-Soot War

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has directed that traditional rulers in the state should exert due surveillance to check the activities of  illegal oil refining in their domains, adding that any negligence on the issue would amount to complicity in the act.  Governor Wike pointed out that any traditional ruler who failed to act on government directives would forfeit his stool.
Governor Wike who gave the directive during a meeting with traditional rulers at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Port Harcourt, said Rivers State Government was resolute on the war against illegal refining despite the challenges faced as a result of Federal Government’s negligence and compromised security system. He urged traditional rulers to work with Community Development Committees and other community-based organisations to achieve the objective of stemming the menace of illegal oil refining in the state which has obvious health implcations on the lives of the people.
Governor Wike berated the Federal Government over its indifference towards curbing the menace of illegal oil refining despite its control over the oil and gas industry.
He pointed out that the act of illegal oil refining has equally led to the depletion of of the revenue profile of Rivers State because the state could not produce its required capacity.
Governor Wike regretted the fact that most security operatives lobby their posting to Rivers State to benefit from illegal oil refining.
He said the Rivers State Government would soon pubish the names of those involved in the act and declare them wanted while security operatives involved in the act would be reported to the appropriate quarters.
Earlier within the week,  Governor Wike had at a meeting with the chairmen of the 23 LGAs of the state  urged the chairmen to destroy all illegal refining sites across the state and called on the Commissioner of Police to provide adequate security for the chairmen to destroy all identfied illegal refining sites while the Rivers State Government would provide the needed logistics for the LGA chairmen to carry out the objectives.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike on Monday hosted his colleagues in the PDP Governors Forum. The outcome of the meeting was a nine-point communique read by the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. High point of the resolution was to address the urgency required to conclude deliberations on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which the PDP Governors requested the National Assembly to consider overriding President Buhari’s veto as an option towards achieving the intended electoral reforms for the country.
The Forum urged Nigerians to vote out the APC’s mal governance in the country, which has inflicted untold economic hardship and festering insecurity in the country.

By: Beemene Taneh

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Call Me By Name, Says Soludo

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The Governor-elect of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, says he prefers to be called by his name and should not be addressed as ‘His Excellency’.
Soludo, while speaking at the inauguration of his 80-member transition committee in Awka on Thursday, January 21, 2022, urged the people of Anambra State to call him by his name.
He said if the people of the state could not call him Charlie Nwangbafor, they should simply address him as Mr Governor.
The governor-elect said, ”I was called his Excellency a while ago, but may I plead that that ‘Excellency’ tag should please wait for now. That is part of what we will discuss in this committee,”
You may just need to learn how to call me by my name, but if that isn’t good for you, then, may I request that you simply call me ‘Charlie Nwangbafor’.
“If that one is so difficult for you that you must be formal in addressing me, then you can address me as Mr Governor.”
Soludo further said members of the inauguration committee chaired by Oby Ezekwesili, are working pro-bono to ensure he gets all he needs to make Anambra better.
The governor-elect will be sworn in on March 17, 2022.

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