By Bolaji Ogundele and Jide Orintunsin, Abuja
The Presidency on Friday fired back at outspoken Enugu Catholic Church priest, Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, claiming that his recent diatribe at President Muhammadu Buhari stemmed from a failed contact bid.
The President’s party, All Progressives Congress (APC), also joined in the fray, branding Mbaka’s call for Buhari’s impeachment ungodly, and threatening to ‘expose’ him to the Pope.
Mbaka, until recently a strong supporter of the President, stunned many Nigerians earlier in the week when he said Buhari has failed the nation and should quit or be impeached.
“Nigerians are crying because there’s no security in the country. The National Assembly should impeach the President if he doesn’t want to resign,” he had said.
But responding to Mbaka on Friday, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the clergy was angry with the President for allegedly refusing to circumvent contract award procedures for him.
Mbaka, according to the President’s spokesman, had requested audience with the President but to the chagrin of Presidential aides, he came with three contractors, demanding that he be compensated for his support with contracts to his friends.
The President was said to have asked appropriate authorities to attend to the demand in accordance with laid down procedure, a response which allegedly did not settle well with the clergyman.
Shehu said: “An outsider distilling the avalanche of verbiage will be surprised that after supporting the President two times to win the Presidency, Father Mbaka has made a complete U-turn, preposterously asking President Buhari to resign or be impeached.
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“Here is the point of departure: Father Mbaka asked for a meeting, and to the shock of Presidential Aides, he came accompanied by three contractors. The President graciously allowed them in, and to everyone’s surprise, Father Mbaka asked for contracts as compensation for his support.
“Anyone familiar with President Buhari knows that he doesn’t break the laid down rules in dealing with contracts or any other government business for that matter. He requested the appropriate authorities to deal with the matter in accordance with laid down rules.
“Inside the Villa, discretion prevailed, that if those pictures and requests were made public, the followers will turn against the religious leader. None of it was released. Now, this is what is eating Father Mbaka,” the statement claimed.
APC: We’ll report you to Vatican
Moments before the allegation against Mbaka by the Presidency, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had daubed Mbaka’s statement as ungodly.
It threatened to report him to the Pope and the Vatican for committing acts capable of causing instability in the country.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, said the clergy’s call for the impeachment of Buhari could instigate the people against their leader and cause disaffection for the government.
Nabena said it was unfortunate that a man of God “who is supposed to deploy all known spiritual means of averting crisis” would rather threaten a democratically elected government for “his own personal benefit while pretending to be speaking for the people.”
Citing Mark 4: 35-40, where Jesus Christ calmed a storm that was about to sink a boat. Nabena noted that instead of complaining or blaming the captain of the boat, Jesus prayed and calmed the storm.
“One will wonder whom Father Mbaka is emulating because the Lord Jesus Christ did not threaten to bring down the government during his own time. In fact, Jesus Christ obeyed and honoured constituted authority. That’s why he paid his tax.
“We are calling on Father Mbaka to concentrate on his spiritual calling and stop speaking like politicians who it is obvious he (Mbaka) has been dining and wining with. If Mbaka has found another political ally, it is better to leave political message for politicians.
“Calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to either resign or be impeached because of the current challenges is ungodly. Father Mbaka should not, however, take his luck too far because there are lot to tell the Vatican and the Pope about his person and his sources of inspiration.”
Nabena also called on other clerics to emulate the likes of Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and Pastor WF Kumuyi of the Deeper Life Bible Ministry and many other true men of God who will rather fast and pray to avert crisis in the country instead of threatening the government of the day.
Mbaka had said, among other things: “How can people be dying and the chief security officer of the country would be sitting down without making any comment.
“Gunmen attacking people everywhere. Buhari should have resigned honourably following his (alleged) failure as a leader. Let me tell you that if it were in a civilised country, President Buhari would have resigned by now. So, it is amazing that he has chosen to sit tight while people are dying daily.”