Mbaka: Before the tanks roll out on Biafra

By Sunny Igboanugo on 15/11/2015

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Surely, many people would be wondering what Aisha, the delectable wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, discussed with fiery preacher – the inimitable and zestful Director of the Adoration Ministries Enugu, Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka. The enfant terrible, as some might aptly describe him, who was one of the nemesis of former President, Goodluck Jonathan in his quest to return for a second term, played host to the nation’s number one lady (since First Lady is forbidden), recently.

Photographs of the two were splashed all over the social media networks, including where she was being offered cola nuts, the cultural symbol of welcome in Igbo land. Now it is not known where Mbaka got the tradition of offering cola nuts to a woman, because it is not Igbo. But being a cleric, he could be forgiven for one or two cultural faux-pas, since it is not his area. A traditional ruler would have known better. But, that’s even by the way.

The more important is coming at the time it did, that event could answer a lot of questions regarding what is happening in Nigeria, particularly the South East at this time. Yes, it is imperative to establish what the President actually thinks about the current restiveness in Igbo land. And nobody is likely to have a deeper insight into the inner fortress of the President’s mind than his better half.

Now, nobody who has been following developments in the polity is likely to be confused about the place of the fiery priest in the calculation of the Buhari camp. Indeed, not a few followers of the President, particularly outside the South East, virtually believe that Mbaka is the only true friend he has in this area. Not even the politicians who followed him around in the run to the presidential election campaigns enjoy the same status, at least, in the minds of these people. Some actually swear that were Mbaka not in cassocks, he was the only one capable of contesting with Alhaji Babatunde Raji Fashola and Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi for the plum pieces of pie they got in the arrangement, rather than the likes of Chief Chris Ngige and Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, whose “paltry” pieces handed out to them that Wednesday, November 11, was in their calculation, a reflection of the worth Buhari and his architects in the All Progressives Congress (APC), place on the contribution of his South East followers. This is notwithstanding being with him under the sun and rain and practically placing their individual political fortunes on the train tracks before their people to prove their loyalty to his cause and that of the party.  


Of course, few are likely to begrudge the popular cleric. He earned every bit of this high profile stature with the President, even with the controversy and debate surrounding the manner he did it. Who would have forgotten that New Year eve sermon, when Mbaka audaciously changed the name of the former President from Goodluck to Badluck, just for emphasis and told Nigerians to embrace the change that was coming? With that alone, added to his calling and millions of followers, leaves very little room to ask further questions.

Therein lies the import of Mrs. Buhari’s visit. Of course it could be said that she was just passing by and decided to stroll in to greet a family friend. After all, the official programme was that she was in Enugu in furtherance of the objectives of her pet project, Aishatu Buhari Women Health Initiative (ABWHI). But to believe so, would elevating naivety to another level. It is implausible to think that she did not obtain the permission of her husband and or even his briefing before undertaking that obviously high-level diplomatic shuttle. So, the natural question – what message did she bring?

More so, the visit came a few days after Mbaka spoke in a totally different tenor, in what could be termed a call to arms to his people and support for the dismemberment of Nigeria. Some people even believed that he spoke out of frustration against Buhari’s alleged marginalisation of Ndigbo. “If we must be one Nigeria, let it be one Nigeria, but if it can’t be one Nigeria, let us divide…If Nigeria is divided, some Igbo people will like to be Hausa. Off course you know that. So, everybody should be allowed to go to where they want. There are some Igbo people who have no hut in their father’s house here (in the South East), but they have ten-storey building in the North and Lagos. Have you ever seen any storey-building built by a Hausa man in Igboland? Yet we say we are one Nigeria. Not even a hut. What is happening? Let us tell ourselves the truth,” he thundered in that sermon.

Now coming at a time the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), demanding for Biafra out of Nigeria, had stepped up its game, the natural translation in certain quarters, was that Mbaka had thrown his full weight in support of the effort. That the first family would naturally be disturbed at this, thus becomes obvious.

Now Buhari is not just a passer-by in the Biafran story, not only being a veteran, but a major dramatis personae in the original campaign. In fact, history records him as a key arrowhead in the 30-month civil war in Nigeria that destroyed the original Biafra.

No doubt, his loud silence since the resurgence of the new mantra, had cast some ominous feeling that a sinister response is in the offing.

Now, did he send his wife to warn the cleric about another cataclysm or persuade him not to join forces, if anything not to share blame of this eerie consequence? Did Buhari tell the priest that this was the time to finish the business of wiping out the entire Igbo land if the agitation did not abate, as some people have accused him in the area, simply to enlist him to appeal to them to sheathe their sword or something else in the middle or beyond?

This becomes even more germane with the pronouncement of the Nigerian Army a few days ago on the issue. Indeed, despite the attempt to couch its language in some rather nebulous words, the obvious reading in many quarters is that the military is actually baying for blood and is essentially waiting for the President to give the marching order.

Again, does Mbaka’s description of the Biafran agitation as “evil” presuppose that he has been debriefed on the matter and is no longer calling for division of Nigeria? Was it his own way of helping to abate the impending bloodbath or even solve the Biafran conundrum? Or has he simply joined forces with the “oppressors?”

No doubt, Mbaka, like the crab, which knows about the goings-on in the land of the spirit, because they are neighbours, must know what is going on at the Villa at this time. Those who want to know one way or the other must then ask him. That is before the tanks roll out.   



Posted on November, 15 2015

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