Catholic bishop of Enugu says Mbaka's public apology was not sufficient and gets him to write to Obi

ENUGU's Catholic bishop Most Reverend Callistus Onaga has rejected the recent public apology tendered by Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka to former Anambra State governor Peter Obi for embarrassing him during a church bazaar service.


Reverend Mbaka, the spiritual director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, has been in the news a lot recently after he cursed Governor Obi, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vice presidential candidate, saying he would fail politically for not making a donation towards his church. Following the outrage over the comments, Reverend Mbaka has publicly apologised for his words, saying he did not mean any offence.


However, Reverend Onaga, under whose jurisdiction and supervision Father Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry operates, said the apology was no apology but apologetics that did not comply with what the bishops directed him to do. Speaking over the weekend at a diaconate ordination mass celebrated at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu, Reverend Onaga said Reverend Mbaka fell short of what he was asked to do.


He added: “Before we met Mbaka, he had already apologised to Obi but when we listened to the apology, we realised it was no apology but apologetics, so we mandated him to do a written apology to Obi which he agreed to do and actually did it in our presence. He was remorseful and regretted his action and we believe he would do the needful by sending across the written apology.”


Bishop Onaga also bemoaned the deep involvement of clerics in partisan politics and mandated henceforth, in line with the directive of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, that priests of the Catholic Church must not make political prophecies or endorse any politician or political party. He urged priests under his control to maintain strict neutrality in matters of politics and focus of their mandate.


“I urge you all to pray for Father Ejike Mbaka as this man has added value to the church through his work. I have on several occasions told him that he is gifted but we must not allow anybody railroad us into disobeying the directives of the church, so I therefore urge you all to pray for him so that the church can maximize his gift to the glory of God,” Reverend Onaga said.


In addition, the bishop also warned that priests were becoming meddlesome even in matters that does not concern them. He added: “I have heard such cases in some communities where the contention was that the priest said that a certain person or the other should be the traditional ruler of a community and the community was in crisis.


"This is beyond your mandate as priest as priests are not king makers, just preach and pray for them and let the counties run their affairs. In the same way, we should also allow politicians to play their politics and steer clear from the endorsements of candidates as Nigeria operates a democracy and not theocracy and we must therefore be mindful to preserve the integrity of the Catholic church.”