The Enugu state chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is unhappy with the transfer of Fr Ejike Mbaka, a spiritual director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu (AMEN), from Christ the King parish, GRA, Enugu, to lesser-known Our Lady Parish, Umuchigbo, Njinike, by the Enugu Catholic Diocese.
The party is also unhappy that Mbaka, a senior priest, has been ” will be degraded to an assistant parish priest” at his new posting.
Mbaka moved out of Enugu on Saturday, describing his transfer as a witch-hunt and saying he would suffer at his new base, but he promised not to fight anybody as he was “welcoming the church’s voice with absolute acceptance and obedience”.
Mbaka who formally handed over Christ the King Parish, GRA, Enugu, where he served as parish priest for 20 years to his successor, Rev. Fr. Theodore Ozoamalu would be moving from a duplex to a room in Our Lady Parish, Emene, where he is to serve as a resident priest, under another priest.
Mbaka has said he welcomes the decision of the church leadership with absolute acceptance and obedience, stating that nobody should see him as a recalcitrant priest.
In his words, “I know we are going to suffer; between now and few months to come, I am going to suffer; I am going to suffer because I have no place to lay my head; I am going to suffer because I have no place to keep the Ministry’s assets; I know I am going to suffer; fortunately it’s going to happen in the month of Lent; so I am going to use my exit here to observe the Lent.
“But Jesus said it to His apostles in John 16:20, ‘You will be sorrowful and the world will be rejoicing but very soon I will turn your sorrows to joy.’ So I am waiting for that moment because for now I know we are going to suffer.”
Defending the priest in a statement on Sunday, Osita Okechukwu, spokesman of the APC south-east caucus, alleged that the transfer was influenced by outside forces and expressed concerns over Mbaka’s safety.
“It is wrong to punish the fearless priest for his prophecies, which have proven to be from God,” read the statement.
“Whereas we accept that the transfer of priests is a routine exercise of the great Catholic Church, we do not wholly accept a situation where the church allows external forces to influence transfer as the Mbaka’s case suggests, otherwise, future liberation clergy who speak truth to power will be hamstrung to the detriment of the society.
“Our major concern is the security implications and the fate of his flocks who are mostly the downtrodden who may find it difficult to go to Emene for salvation and healing. We frown at anything which will put Fr. Mbaka in harms way or deny his flocks healing.”
He maintained that APC remained in solidarity with the priest, observing that he had been under persistent attack from opponents of Muhammadu Buhari since prophesying that he would win the presidential election.
He also accused the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of playing a role in Mbaka’s transfer.
“As a party, we have watched with concern and trepidation the criticism, the attack, assault and unpleasant comments hurled against Fr. Mbaka since he providentially prophesied that President Buhari would win the 2015 elections.
“Even the Church did not spare him – he was called unprintable names, yet his prophecy came true. We are happy that Fr. Mbaka was vindicated.
“It must be pointed out that accusing fingers were pointed at the direction of some anti-Buhari elements like Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a group that didn’t want to hear the name of Buhari – even though Ohanaeze denied the allegation, doubts still persists.
“For we are still at a loss why a senior priest will be degraded to an assistant parish priest.
“We repeat that we are in solidarity with Fr. Mbaka and our major concern is the security of Fr. Mbaka and the suffering of his flocks mostly the poor who need his healing powers.
“We had thought that His Lordship Bishop Calistus Onaga could have retained him at the Adoration Ground, as the Bishop Emeritus Gbuji did because of security of his life and easy access by his flocks.”