The Presidency and the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, on Saturday came under verbal attacks from many Nigerians over claims by the Aso Rock Villa that the clergy was angry with President Muhammadu Buhari over a failed contract bid.
Mbaka, an ardent supporter of Buhari until recently, had told worshippers in Enugu on Wednesday that the President has failed the nation and ought to resign.
He said the President should be impeached should he refuse to quit.
The call did not go down well with the President which accused Mbaka of blackmail.
A video recording of the clergy blasting Buhari for being stingy in 2018 went viral on Saturday.
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 the appropriate authorities to attend to the demand in accordance with laid down procedure; a response which allegedly did not settle well with the clergyman.
Many Nigerians have taken to the social media to express their views on the allegation.
Former Kaduna State senator, Shehu Sani, said: “Our Revered Father Mbaka crossed the Red Sea to Yemen and realised it was not the Promised Land.”
Ex-Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose said: “The Presidency and Father Mbaka are nothing but blackmailers and scammers. They don’t deserve the attention of Nigerians.”
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesman, Reno Omokri, said: “So, according to the @NGRPresident, Reverend Father Mbaka went to see General @MBuhari with 3 contractors, and requested for contracts as compensation for supporting Buhari. The President recorded that meeting. My question to Mbaka: Is it true? Are you so cheap?”
Demola Olanrewaju said: “A part of me wants to argue that Mbaka as a political contractor wanting contracts in exchange for the political support he moved for Buhari in the SE is not bad, since Sheikhs and Imams also likely get some. But the ‘South’ is very objective on stuff like this.”
Henry Shield said: “So because Mbaka allegedly asked for contracts, it is okay for terrorists to keep killing us? Please make me understand Garba’s message.”
The Secretary General of Ohanaeze Youths, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said Mbaka “is a victim of use and dump.”
The Ohanaeze scribe, who blamed Mbaka for delving into politics in the first place, urged him to “go home and sin no more.”
“What is happening recently between Fr. Mbaka and the Presidency is quite a sad one. We see it as a relationship gone sour.
“We remember how they both enjoyed a robust relationship, with Fr. Mbaka campaigning vigorously for Buhari both during his first and second tenures.
“But now that the marriage has collapsed, the hell appears to have been let loose, with the presidency trying hard to mess Mbaka up. “
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) accused Garba Shehu of cheapening and rubbishing the dignity of the office of the President by converting it to a centre for political blackmail and religious bigotry.
HURIWA said the statement against Mbaka has “totally eroded the integrity and honour of the office of the President and may need a wide range of political exorcism to restore the lost glory, prestige and dignity of that high office.”
The group recalled how the same Buhari eulogised Mbaka when he predicted his victory against the then incumbent President in 2015 and repeated the same in 2019.
HURIWA said Shehu’s colleague, Femi Adesina, had in 2019 praised Mbaka when President Buhari played host to the Catholic priest even as the President had then described the pre-election exhortation of the priest, when he descended hard on the former president as the best in his life.
HURIWA however described the press statement by Garba Shehu as tissues of lies and fabrication meant to damage the Christian brand.
By some coincidence, a video recording of Mbaka calling Buhari stingy and unwilling to make donations to his church went viral on Twitter on Saturday.
The video posted by @RBiakpara shows Mbaka accusing Buhari of failing to make donations to his church despite the church supporting his ambition in 2015.
He is heard saying: “If you know what this ministry is passing through because we are supporting Buhari. And the attackers are waiting for me to say I am supporting Buhari again and the attack will start and Buhari will remain in Aso Rock, being somebody who cannot give money?
“What does that mean? All the people being given allocation, what qualification do they have that we don’t have?” The Nation.