By Reuben Abati
“I do not believe in my mind that the way things are in Nigeria, any Catholic priest has the mandate to decide which of the political contestants should be voted for…I don’t believe a priest should be doing that…If he was in my archdiocese, I will have sanctioned him long ago for the kind of utterances he makes.” – John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Catholic Bishop of Abuja Metropolitan See on Fr. Ejike Mbaka (2015)
Prophecies and predictions by Christian pastors typically mark the top of a yr and the start of one other in Nigeria…egged on by the media, on the lookout for juicy materials for his or her overtly spiritual and superstitious readers, these pastors generally overreach themselves as they dish out prophecies as in the event that they have been some form of annual merchandise. This yr has not been completely different with fascinating prophecies provided by Apostle Johnson Suleman, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Catholic priest Rev. Fr. Camillus Ejike Mbaka and a bunch of others. What I discover curious yearly, is that every Pastor finally ends up saying one thing completely different from the opposite, whereas what we all know is that there’s solely ONE GOD – absolute and indivisible. The teleological idea of God is monotheistic, however in the present day’s Pastors of their prophecies convey a pantheistic idea of God: a God that speaks in lots of voices and kinds, making a dissonance which is then exploited by the media, because the yr unfolds, measuring the prophecies in opposition to precise developments, to find out who among the many many prophets is the true seer. This seeming retailing of prophecies within the public sphere needs to be a supply of concern to the Church.
Of all of the prophecies that I’ve examine this yr, I discover two notably fascinating. The first is the New Year Day declaration by Pastor Tunde Bakare earlier than his congregation on the Latter Rain Church that God had simply spoken to him to not depart politics, as a result of he nonetheless has an project for him within the political area. “God told me to run for President”, he introduced. When – he doesn’t know however he tells the congregation to wish together with him. “When He tells me the time, you will hear about it.” It might be recalled that Pastor Tunde Bakare was the working mate to President Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) throughout the 2011 Presidential election. His determination on the time to enter politics was fairly controversial notably amongst his Christian brethren who argued man of the material shouldn’t swim within the soiled and dirtied waters of Nigerian politics. The CPC misplaced the Presidential election and Pastor Bakare returned to the pulpit.
He gained’t be the primary Pastor to declare curiosity within the highest workplace within the land. Pastor Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church first ran for President in 2003 as a candidate of the Justice Party. Then he ran once more in 2007 and once more in 2011 on the platform of the FRESH Democratic Party. He misplaced on all events. Yet every time Pastor Chris Okotie declared curiosity within the Presidential workplace, he at all times stated he had heard from God. Listening to his campaigns, he at all times sounded so positive that he had certainly been anointed by God to be President. In 2015, God apparently didn’t communicate to Pastor Okotie as a result of he didn’t trouble to hitch the race.
Do Pastors Okotie and Bakare, each discovered males, hear the voice of the identical God? Is it attainable for God to anoint two of his servants as Nigerian President on the similar time? For, certainly, when Pastor Bakare’s critics opposed his determination to enter politics, his stoutest defence in 2011 was that he had heard the voice of God, and that the voice of God is superior to that of man. He quoted the Scriptures: Psalm 78: 70, 71; Romans 13:1. We, lesser mortals, might in all probability not totally perceive the methods of God and the prophetic Ministry however the clergy should resist the temptation, unwitting temptation could also be, to undertaking God in detrimental mild. The doctrine is that the omniscient God, the I-am-that-I-am that we all know by no means performs politics with His phrases. He doesn’t contradict Himself. He retains His guarantees.
The second prophecy of curiosity is from Rev. Fr. Camillus Ejike Mbaka of the Adoration Ministry, an evangelical arm of the Catholic Church primarily based in Enugu. In latest years, Fr. Mbaka appears to have turned himself right into a religious authority on Presidential politics in Nigeria. A prophet since his major college days, by his personal declaration, Mbaka now tells Nigerians who needs to be President. In 2015, he had predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari might be President. He was very vital of the Jonathan Presidency. When then First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan visited the Adoration Ministry in Enugu, Mbaka reportedly rejected her offertory and reward – a sign that he wouldn’t affiliate with somebody that God had not chosen for one more time period in workplace. As he put it: “There is no one kobo of Jonathan or Mrs Jonathan in my hand. The Holy Spirit rejected all of them. When the saga was going on, I put my hands on the altar, swore an oath that if I ever touched Jonathan’s one kobo, may he win the election and that if I never and I am being accused of it, he will fail the election…”
President Jonathan misplaced the election and Mbaka was triumphant. He gained extra credibility amongst his followers and the APC and the Buhari Presidency took him as a buddy and their beloved priest. He acquired particular reward from President Buhari. He would later be invited to the Presidential Villa for an viewers with the President who counseled him for his “steadfastness.” When the personal jet that took Mbaka to Abuja touched down on the airport, and Mbaka confirmed his face and waved to the gang, you’ll suppose it was the Pope himself visiting the capital metropolis.
Mbaka’s profession as a star priest assumed a brand new taste at that time. After his go to to the Presidential Villa, he continued to promote the Buhari Presidency, and on events even did a greater job than authorities spokespersons. Buhari might do no incorrect in his eyes. He accused the Jonathans, whom he had earlier accused of plotting to kill him, of making all the issues that the Buhari administration was confronted with. In the warmth of the pro-Biafra agitation by Nnamdi Kanu and Indigenous Peoples Organisation of Biafra (IPOB), Mbaka dismissed the agitation as “evil.”
On New Year Day 2018, this romance between priest and president ended. Fr. Mbaka who had anointed Buhari as President in 2015, withdrew the anointing. He advised President Buhari to not think about looking for a second time period in workplace. He addressed President Buhari thus: “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.” The Holy Books are full of comparable tales of the prophets delivering God’s messages to rulers. When God withdraws the anointing of a specific king or commander, or points a stern warning, it’s normally because of an offence that has been dedicated.
Fr. Mbaka quickly supplied a justification for his prophetic message when he accused President Buhari of (1) failing to take heed to his spouse – “an adviser, a wonderful mentor, a visionist, a matriarch”, (2) permitting himself to be hypnotized by the incorrect individuals who encompass him, (three) failing to ship on his promise of change, and “toying with the privilege” God has given him; and (four) working an anti-corruption marketing campaign that’s “…archaic and barbaric, a witch-hunt, terribly selective”. Fr Mbaka didn’t pull his punches. He says: “…Heaven demands Buhari, our President to change all those who are holding and caging him in captivity. If he will not change them, he will be changed… Change or you will be changed…God said that Buhari is in trouble. Buhari is in a horrible bondage. Nigerians are dying in your hands…Your change mantra is questionable. You are to change your change or you will be disgraced out of office.”
In these phrases, Fr. Mbaka appears like he was delivering God’s personal evaluation of the Buhari authorities. Although he advises the President to “wake up” and “sit up”, the thrust of his message is that the President ought to embrace the Mandela possibility and never search one other time period in workplace. Fr Mbaka reportedly additional disclosed that the anointing for the workplace of President has been handed to Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Fr. Mbaka’s messages, coming at a time when politicians are starting to place themselves for one more spherical of elections is certain to ruffle feathers. President Buhari’s supporters have since rejected his condemnation of their administration. His selection of Dankwambo as future President has additionally equally been rejected, with innuendoes, in a scathing piece by Muhammad Jibrin Barde that there “may be more than a handshake from his darling Governor Dankwambo.”
Prophets within the Bible weren’t at all times preferred for his or her messages however ought to Fr. Mbaka run into troubled waters together with his mouth, he might not benefit from the assist of his bosses within the Catholic Church who’ve for too lengthy warned him to cease utilizing the title of God and the Church to pick out political candidates for the Nigerian voters.
He jogs my memory of Samuel within the Bible. Samuel was choose, priest and prophet. Mbaka additionally sees himself as a choose, priest and prophet. Samuel anointed Saul to be king over a united Israel, at a time when the Israelites needed change (1 Samuel: 9-10) They have been uninterested in the rule of judges and prophets, and needed a king like their neighbours. Saul, having been chosen, following a message from God, grew to become the primary King over Israel. He was a robust navy commander who gained many battles for his nation. But he was additionally jealous, inflexible, insecure, dictatorial and covetous.
When David who had been his armour bearer, and who nursed him again to good well being with music, later defeated Goliath on the battle of the valley of Elah and the folks sang in David’s reward: “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:eight), Saul grew to become insecure and needed him put to demise. It didn’t matter that David was his son-in-law, and one of the best buddy of Jonathan, Saul’s son, who was of a a lot kinder and affable nature. King Saul’s anointing was withdrawn when he transgressed within the eyes of the Lord and the Lord departed from him. (1 Samuel 15: 9 – 29; 1 Samuel 28: 16 -18). The similar Prophet Samuel who anointed Saul additionally anointed David, the son of Jesse as subsequent king (1 Samuel 16: 1-13). Saul was advised that his anointing had been withdrawn and he would come to a bitter finish. This prophecy was fulfilled: on the battle of Mount Gilboa, the Philistines defeated the Israelites, three of Saul’s sons have been killed, and he himself fell on his sword.
Bible commentators have criticized Samuel’s reign as choose, priest and prophet by way of its combination of politics and spirituality. Fr. Mbaka is equally responsible, even when his function as choose is totally presumptuous. By naming Dankwambo of the PDP as subsequent President, he may have invited unto him, the identical form of persecution that David confronted. What is completely different and instructive on this occasion, nonetheless, is that with Fr. Mbaka and different up to date prophets in Nigeria, it’s most troublesome to know the place the religious turns into political and the place politics feeds into spirituality. Nigerians realizing this to be true proceed to pay attention all the identical to their prophets and pastors as a result of a lot of our compatriots imagine within the concept of God and His dominion over all issues. What we have no idea and will by no means be capable of set up is the way to make that mandatory distinction between when a Prophet really hears the voice of God, God as in God, or when a prophet hears voices as in psychiatry. What is for certain is: as prophets, it’s attainable to listen to the Voice of God, however as human beings, it’s attainable for a similar Prophets “to hear voices.”