Rev. Fr. Camillus Ejike Mbaka, the spiritual director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), showed the traces of one that would be outstanding.
He was given birth into a poor family of a palm wine tapper of a father; Ejike Mbaka was not in anytime discouraged, he will always get involved in helping his father so as to help the family sustain, and keep on.
Finding a deep look into the early beginning of this great man has made Saturday Sun to his ancestral home in Amata, Ituku, in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Amata is a village which is behind the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla and hidden from the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway.
In Amata, nobody talks anything bad of Ejike Mbaka, the villagers see them as their shining light.
Thus, they view with suspicious attitude anybody who comes to ask anything about the Catholic priest whose popularity has soared in the country and beyond because of his uncommon prophecies and controversial statement.
Subsequent discussions has revealed why Ejike Mbaka was loved by his people, from the young to the old, the traditional institution to the church, his family members and close associates: whose lives he had touched positively in one way or the other, I tell you he is a man of influence and a very great heart.
Most of them don’t only see Ejike Mbaka as a prophet of God, but also a man that’s unexplainable, I tell you he is just very wide beyond what you can imagine. Ejike Mbaka had become very famous as he had never spared any erring government in power, he will always state whatever he see them doing wrong, always on the front view, and always ready to stand with his word, very controversial, starting from his home state, Enugu even till the national level.
He once had a running battle with a former governor of the state, Dr Chima-roke Nnamani even as he did not spare the immediate past Governor Sullivan Chime during his second tenure when he felt the governor was derailing, he is kind of man that will support you today but once he notice that you’re derailing he will state it plain and clear and let you know that you are derailing.
He also carries his fearless nature, to the national level when on December 31, 2014. He prophesied that former President Goodluck Jonathan would be sent out of power in the 2015 presidential election because of his inability to pilot the affairs of the nation well and the way corruption has been the order of the day in his regime. His prophecies came at a time nobody imagined the incumbent, and dominant political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP could lose an election.
With numerous amounts of worshippers who come into Enugu from all parts of the country for his weekly adoration service, where prayers, healings and miracles, take place, the young priest has become a household name in the country.
We will be looking into some encounters that unmasked the fiery priest.
His early days
Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka was born in 1967 to a poor palmwine tapper, Mazi Ogbuefi, and Mrs. Felicia Mbaka, of Amata, one of the smallest villages in Ituku Community, Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State. His mother was the second wife of Mazi Ogbuefi who was desperately looking for of a male child as the first wife has keep on giving birth female child.
His mother’s marriage to Mazi Ogbuefi his father could not last as she left with her little child at a very tender age. Felicia who has long re-married in the neighboring Community recalled that from childhood she observed that her son was a special child and different child.
Her words: “He was never sick; and throughout the war he never suffered any of the common ailments that affected most children.”
She said that she was surprised at the early rising of Ejike Mbaka, though she had expected him to be great and very successful, but never knew it would be of the present magnitude. Ejike Mbaka was a very smart young boy who had readymade reply to anything you told him. He was exceptional, she said. The young boy, according to his mother, was a quiet and peaceful person who never looked for trouble; saying that “if you look for his trouble he will give it back to you as you bring very distinct in nature.”
His early education life
Though Mr George Okafor, a retired teacher at Central School Ituku, where Ejike Mbaka did his primary education, he was not for once his teacher, but talked about knowing him as a very humble and hardworking boy.
“He lived in the village and schooled here at Central School Ituku. Almost all the developmental projects in the community, he contributed much to them. Even this church here, he is the person building that Church. He has many of our sons and daughters on his scholarship and he has employed many of our sons.
He grades the village roads almost every year; the Central school building he replaced the roof after it was blown off by the wind. He is a blessing to us,” Okafor said. Also Chief and godfather to Ejike Mbaka, who also taught at Central school, talks about knowing him as a child in the primary school. “I knew him starting from his childhood days; he came from a poor family. His late father’s name was Ogbuefi Mbaka. He is the only son his mother bore for Ogbuefi Mbaka. He attended his secondary school at former St. Vincent Agbaogugu; from there, he joined the seminary school and was later ordained as a Catholic Priest at St. Anthony Catholic Church, Ituku.
Before he secured admission into the seminary he was known for his religious activities; most prominent of his activities then was his block rosary crusade where he gathered children and prayed with them. So, that was how he started his life and his parents didn’t sanction him, as he has desired to go for priesthood. They never approved of it; they did everything possible to stop him. The day he was going he just left; his father was there but didn’t know what was happening.
By the time he realized what was happening he did everything humanly possible; he went to all the big native doctors he knew that could bring him back. Even the week he was being ordained, his father took ill and was taken to the hospital. Luckily for them, he recovered on the day of ordination and he had no alternative than to show his presence. The mother who was no longer living with the man at the time was also there; and that was the first time the two of them were coming together and they sat on the front row of this church St. Anthony Catholic Church Ituku.
Words from His Royal Highness Igwe Cletus Owo (Ubatuoke 111 of Ituku) is Mbaka’s traditional ruler about him; he would not mince words to say the fiery priest was one of the most illustrious sons in Ituku land.
“For God to have given us somebody like Ejike Mbaka, we are grateful to Him. Since 1995, when he was ordained priest we started experiencing changes in the entire community; both in the lives of the youths and equally the elders by empowering them with the word of God. From there he started rising; I must not forget to talk about fact that he started his Christian life from childhood; let me say from day-three of his birth. He was the leader of most groups in the church from his tender age and he grew up that way, decided to go for priesthood. But he suffered so much because there was no money to train him; people continued to con-tribute, 2 kobo and 3 kobo, even people outside community kept on helping and he was lucky to be ordained a priest. I remember what Fr. Stephen Njoku, who I call his mentor, said the day he was ordained. Father Njoku said at St. Anthony Ituku, that Ituku has something; that what is inside this small boy is greater than what we the parents knew.
That is how different he was that even the fathers of then knew that truly something strange is about to emerge from him. That this boy ordained today is a great man. That he is equally afraid of him’; these were his words to our people after Ejike Mbaka’s ordination. Since his ordination our community has changed. In those days, we used to have only about two persons that had cars; two cars in the entire community. But since his ordination every compound has at least one car. Because he was praying that our people are very poor; he normally holds a prayer for the community every January 2nd and his cry to God to help his people out of poverty is manifesting. Today, people are breaking forth in the land. The secondary school, he is paying fees for almost everybody. I don’t know how to describe him… what he is after is how to improve the lives of the poor people. People will want to come and build this and that for him, he will say no, please bring that money; there are people that have no houses; there are people that are hungry; let us use that money and empower them,” the traditional ruler said.
Chief Laz Owo, Chairman, Amaokolo Development Union
The good testimonies about Fr Mbaka did not stop with what the traditional ruler said as the Chairman of Amaokolo Development Union, Chief Laz Owo added to the long list.
“Mbaka is a true manifestation of God’s love to Ituku town. Who could have known Ituku or Amata village if not for his sake? He is the first son of Mazi Ogbuefi Mbaka; a palm wine tapper who like Ituku town would not been allowed to have Ejike Mbaka as a son if the gift of man were the gift of God almighty.
Rev. Fr. Jonathan Nweke, from Awgu Catholic Diocese and Rector St. Vincent de Paul Minor Seminary was at the seminary with Ejike Mbaka. His words: “I have known Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka for a very long time; initially when he entered the seminary, St. Cross Seminary Nsukka about 1986/87 academic year, we were together for about a year. What you see didn’t just start today; what you see today is what we observed many years back over 20 years ago. This is a man who didn’t do minor seminary; he studied here at St. Vincent Agbogugu. Eventually, when he came into the seminary to do the one year orientation probation, here was a man who was known within this so short a time as a man who was very generous; a prayerful and quiet man.
“He is one person that is loved by almost all the students which is not very usual because people who come in from secondary schools often feel intimidated because they are new in seminary. But this is a guy who came and was loved by the students; at the time he was leaving you saw so many people were affected that they were losing a friend. His generosity was beyond measure; he was generous with his time, was generous with other things that he had. He was actually very poor that time so he had no money to give. But from the little he had it was surprising that he was ready to give.
“Actually, I loved to visit him because as at that time he was the best palm wine tapper in town. So, that generosity of Ejike Mbaka started way back then that he will always share with you the little that he has; its normal when you have more you could give, but this is a man that will use his little resources to help you. “So, the things about him that has been with him from his seminary days have been his generosity, his prayerful life, his friendliness, his compassion for people; he is exceptional. So, when I see these things having blossomed now as a priest, it’s not anything new, it has only taken a larger scale; and we see that his sense of generosity is beyond measure. All my life I am yet to see a priest who is so generous, has touched the lives of people. Not people he has known but people from all walks of life 90 per cent of whom he never knew; yet always willing to give service to humanity. This is faith in action and I see this man as a man who has faith in God,” Nweke said.
Also Rev Fr. Nweke believes that there are two ways to look at Ejike Mbaka prophecies and politics unlike those who criticize him out rightly.
On one side, Ejike Mbaka is a prophet and God has given him gifts and he can’t even hide those gifts even if he wants to. When we look at the Bible, for instance, when God sent Jonah to Nineveh with a mission; Jonah taught himself smart and decided to run away but unfortunately, something happened that brought him back to the place he was running away from.
So, sometimes I see Ejike Mbaka issue as that of a prophet that has a call by God. So, if God has given this man a prophecy to make he is bound to make them if not he suffers for it. So, if God has called him and we see his prophecies…it’s not just about politics, everything about life; and these prophecies are coming true. For instance, in the recent one ‘from good luck to bad luck’ that caused a lot of commotion and people were calling him politician and stuff like that, it’s only because people don’t understand who a priest is. As a priest he has priestly roles and prophetic roles and he is bound to exercise them. So, I wouldn’t say he is a politician because he is being prophetic because he is a priest ordained to be like that.
One of Ejike Mbaka godsons, Hon. Val Nnadozie, an Enugu-based politician said that once one is ordained a priest, three things are given to one: “First is that you are a priest, secondly, you are a prophet and thirdly, you are a king. Being a priest means that you have to take care of the spiritual life of your congregation; as a prophet you get inspiration and messages from God for you to pass unto His people.
Thirdly, you are made a king so as to be fearless; you can talk to the high and mighty. I am a Catholic so understand it from that stand point. Having that as a background the things that Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka has prophesied over time I sincerely believe are things he was asked to tell the people.
For instance, the following morning after the prophecy of 31st December 2014, we had this conversation and he told me that things he said were not the things he prepared to say; that somehow something came upon him and he started saying things that were different from what he prepared to say as a sermon.
As a priest you are made to take care of the spiritual life of your congregation; how do you take care of the people given to you if they are hungry; if they are deprived; if they don’t have anybody to speak for them. How do they praise God, how do they turn to God if they have things that are obstacles in their way? They can’t afford to feed; they can’t afford to pay their children’s school fees, they can’t afford to pay house rents, how does one expect that kind of person in that situation to praise God?
So, I see it from this aspect of God has sent a Joseph to come and liberate His people; to save them in time of hunger. The issue here is who will speak for us; who will go for us? On the night of December 31st, 2014, he prophesied that former President Goodluck Jonathan would lose election; another instructive thing he said was that ‘if your own brother would cause you harm and death, and somebody who is not related to you will make things better for you, who would you go for?’
I believe strongly that those messages came from God because the ones we witnessed have come to pass. “I am a practical example also; I had kidney failure and I know I am the only person that has survived that through the Holy Ghost. I did not have surgery, I did not have transplant and I got healed by payers. I had eight years of bareness in my house, I had gone through everything; I had gone through IVF two to three times, none worked, prayer worked for me. So, why shouldn’t I believe when I am a primary beneficiary,” Nnadozie said.
For Mr. Osita Okechukwu, another Enugu politician, I see Mbaka’s prophecy as providential; it’s God’s prophecy because it came to pass; that Muhammadu Buhari as he predicted has become president. And as Fr. Mbaka has said, that he had nothing against the then President Jonathan or against the wife; that all he had seen is that things are ruptured so much that we need a change; we need a revival of the country. And even when he met Buhari he told him that he had to pray for him because some traducers are after his life and then some people in government are also not with him. I think it is providential because nobody can accuse him of taking bribe, nobody can accuse him of sectionalism or being a religious bigot because Buhari is not a Christian. So, he has escaped the two most important factors that people use against public affairs speakers like him.
So, to me, what he did is God’s message; and then for those who criticize him I am not surprised about that because those who were benefitting from the status quo have to defend the status quo; you don’t expect them to say that the status quo should go away. Throughout history change is always resisted; the people resist change because they benefit no matter the rot. And luckily let me say that Rev. Fr. Mbaka has been vindicated;
If President Buhari did not come to power nobody will know the kind of money that was distributed out of the funds for procurement of weapons for troops at war. To me, Ejike Mbaka is vindicated; he has been proven right; the message was clearly God’s message. “Those who changed Latin America; those who made Pinochet to fall in Chile, they were what they call liberation theologians; most of them were Catholic priests; so it’s not a new thing in the Catholic kingdom to have liberation theologians. So, he is a theologian; he belongs to the liberation spectrum of the great Catholic Church. So, he is not a politician he is a liberation clergy who is not afraid to tell those in power the truth; they are very rare in the Christian community and the clergy.”
According to Jane Frances Nweze, Enugu-based public affairs commentator, “Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka went overboard with his 2016 prophecy not necessarily because he is not a true man of God, but if his prophecy is supposed to be for the nation, it’s supposed to be what will happen in the nation. Saying that God revealed to him that the president is going to be attacked because of his war against corruption is ridiculous because everybody knows there is a tendency that he would be attacked.
Attacking him doesn’t necessarily mean he is going to be killed or not, it’s more definite or more of a prophecy to say that the president would serve out his four-year-term or the president will not live out 2016. But when you say he is going to be attacked it’s inciting certain section of the public because everybody will turn to the opposition party as being the possible culprit.
Also that prophecy doesn’t have anything for our nation; what do we benefit having the information that he is going to be attacked. I think his prophecy should target things that will bring about the salvation of his people; I guess economic salvation is part of it maybe that’s why he is indirectly involved in politics but somehow he needs to tread carefully knowing he is a charismatic leader with great number of worshippers.
He should be careful not to take advantage of that because instead of yielding good fruit it may backfire and turn around and bite each of us. I don’t follow him, I don’t even care about what he says but there are a whole lot of people outside Enugu who actually follow him and are interested in the things he says. So, he has to be careful not to mislead them and secondly not to set the nation in some tension we may not find easy to come out of.”
Many people have had a lot of things, one or two things to say about this great man of God but on the good and bad part of him, but I tell you this is really a man who is a man of the people and the people of Enugu has testified to it, as we have read about his early beginnings till now. This has been the journey so far of how the great man, Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka came out of obscurity to limelight, someone who was once donated two and three kobo, now brought gospel to the nation and feed towns and cities, and now has thousands of people under his prophetic auction.