Guest Columnist

Mbaka Curse on Peter Obi May Become Balaam Blessing, By Onwe John Onu

Barrister Onu John Onwe
Barrister Onu John Onwe

The dramatic twist in the Balak-Balaam project to curse the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land which God turned into blessing for Israelites may yet play out in the recent Father Mbaka-Peter Obi palaver. Recall that God had led the Israelites out of Egypt with Moses leading them to the Promised Land. Israelites fought many communities and won the wars which frightened King Balak of Moab. Out of fear of the Israelites,
King Balak travelled over 650 kilometres to Pethor in Mesopotamia to secure the services of Balaam, a well-known seer to curse Israelites but God thwarted this Balak-Balaam project by compelling Balaam to bless
Israel to the consternation of Balaam. In the same way, Fr. Mbaka’s prophecy against Peter Obi is thwarted by the voice of the people and his Bishop.

Father Ejike Mbaka last week Wednesday practiced his art of prophecy on
Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party unsolicited.
Mr. Obi did not seek Fr. Mbaka’s help in foretelling the future for him.
Rather the fiery priest, as the news media describe him, acted on his own
volition or impulse. Fr. Mbaka was in the middle of his religious worship
when he remembered the enchanting phenomenon of Peter Obi political
resurgences as portrayed in the new media, especially the social media, of
which Fr. Mbaka is an active participant and it must have irked him given
his 2018 debacle when he dressed down Obi for choosing to execute a
specific project rather than donating money to his Adoration Ministry. Fr.
Mbaka must have considered Obi’s choice of project rather than cash gift
as an affront especially when several prominent seekers of fortune through
his Adoration Ministry have complied with his request for donation of
money. For Obi’s impudence, Fr. Mbaka literally cursed and/or abused him
and predicted failure for his Atiku-Obi presidential project. In counterpoise,
Fr. Mbaka Blessed General Buhari, the Atiku-Obi opponent after Hope
Uzodinma, Buhari’s representative had donated millions of naira to
Adoration Ministry on behalf of Buhari. Expectedly, Mbaka’s outbursts
against Mr. Obi drew severe flaks from the public and from Mbaka’s Enugu
Catholic Diocese authority which instantly suspended his adoration ministry
activities until further notice. Fr. Mbaka, like some other men of God indulge in acts of prophecy and fortune-telling in the service of the needs of their congregation and such have been daily staple in the conduct of their respective ministries, especially in the Pentecostal sector of the  religious economy. And these pastors as religious entrepreneurs (pastor-
preneurs) have prospered in spreading this gospel of prosperity and
protection from devil’s machinations by convincing their adherents that
they have solutions to the apocalyptic prophecies of doom and calamities
that they daily assail their worshippers. For the pastors presumed prowess
in checking and containing the devil and his works, the worshippers
appreciate God through very humongous thanksgiving gifts/offerings that
came by way of donation of money as Fr. Mbaka demanded from Mr. Obi.
But Mr. Obi was not one who hankers after seers, prophets, fortune-tellers
and divinators now euphemistically baptized as Christian Ministries and
pastors, or their equivalent in the other religious divide called Alfas and
Marabouts who were patronized during the Abacha regime in the
1997/1998 when he was pursuing his transmutation from Military head of
state to democratically elected president. Divination, prophecy, fortune-
telling, sorcery and the like spring from human nature and human need to
reign on his fears of the uncertain and unknown future. This is a human
failing which seem to have been built into human DNA that virtually no
man having flesh and blood escapes the enthralling and debilitating effect
the fear of today and tomorrow has on human mind. This is not peculiar to
Nigeria only that the debilitating ignorance and poverty have raised
Nigeria’s ranking in this failing to the foremost level that could hardly be
equaled by any other country. In several human epochs, the stories of
man’s need for sorcery, prophecy and fortunetelling abound. Saul’s
consulting a medium, the witch of Endor and its disastrous consequences
for his kingship was classical Biblical lesson so also the Balak quest to hire
Balaam to curse the ascendant Israelites ably led by Moses from Egypt to
the Promise Land and their streaks of military victories over communities
lying on their way to that land of promise sparked fears and resentment.
Even in modern times, certain world leaders have been known to have had
need for divination, prophecy and fortunetelling. During the USA’ Ronald
Reagan presidency, Reagan’s wife, Nancy was known to have the
retainership of a divinator or fortuneteller who scrutinized Reagan’s personal and major government policies and decisions. Divination in politics assumed public exhibition following the exponential Pentecostal Christian religious fervour of the late 1980s which came with the second militaryinterregnum (1983-1999) that deepened poverty and ignorance in Nigeria
and consigned Nigerians to economic despondency thereby exposing them
to the vagaries of social dislocations that broke up family values, cohesion,
social ethos and solidarity. In this valley of despondency and want,
Nigerians had no social safety net and protection as no alternative to this
situation was presented except the promise of the glorious hereafter that
awaits adherents to the new religious fervour that seized the dislocation
socio-cultural space between 1983 and 1999. The socio-political
manifestations of this new cultural change were expressed in the Southern
Nigeria with increased religious revivals as the religious monopolies
enjoyed by the orthodox churches got broken and new churches got
registered or even unregistered and started operating in ramshackle,
business warehouses and shops bankrupted by structural Adjustment
Programme and the new gospel was prosperity, victory over Satan and his
works. In the North, the new religious fervour found expression in the
marked fundamental Islamic precepts and proselytization promoted by
Jihadists such as the maitatsine and the Shiites who kill and destroy human
life and property to promote their new religion. At the dawn of the present
political era, Nigeria has been transformed by this religious fervour into its
present shape whereby the Christian religious ministries have been fully
commercialized and became billion-naira enterprises with several pastors
becoming richer than industrialists and other economic entrepreneurs. By
the 2000s most of them boast of airplanes for their evangelical travels and
became toasts of the new men of power that the new politics and power of
the 1999 constitutional framework threw up. This is the situation in
Southern Nigeria. In the North, the new Islam promoted by the likes of
Sheik Gumi and the Shiites promoted from Iran after the Ayatollah
Khomeini’s revolution that overthrew Shah Pahlavi in 1979 grew in size and
intensity. This Islamic fundamentalism started questioning the secular
constitutional principles of Nigeria while asserting the primacy of sharia as
being coterminous with Nigeria’s legal order. It was under this new culture
that maitatsine riots happened under President Shehu Shagari between 1982 and 1983 and continued under General Babangida between 1985 and 1998 at several flashpoints in the North culminating in the imposition of Sharia legal order in Zamfara State in 2000 which spread to the ten core-Northern States.
Any person not conversant with socio-cultural, economic and political
factors fueling this religious fervour in Nigeria may mistake it for a
revolutionary change but it is rather a retrogressive change from
enlightenment to ignorance. Whereas, Christianity and Islam are being
reformed to agree with the breathtaking supersonic jet-age development in
science and technology to effect that the forces of Ignorance and
superstition are waning the reverse is the case in sub-Sahara Africa. Most
of the pews churches in Europe and America are becoming empty even on
Sundays the reverse is the case in Africa where millions find hope in the
promise of glorious hereafter as churches are filled to the brim from
Monday to Sunday. This new religiosity is bereft of any substance as the
adherents do not seek God or worship him for his ennobled divine
relationship with man but for the superstitious beliefs in quick fixes in
economic and social well-being, especially that inexplicable magical
transformation from penury to prosperity. It is this new religion’s promise
of affording its adherents this irrational transformation that is fueling the
gospel of prosperity and divine favours which attract the horde to the
praying grounds such as Fr. Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry and several other
prayer houses in Lagos, Benin, Ota, Ibadan, Lokoja, Abuja and others.

Politicians throng these prayer grounds for divination, prophecy and
fortunetelling. I am not certain that Peter Obi attended Fr. Mbaka’s
Adoration Ministry event in 2018 on his own adventure. But it appeared he
was invited as it was an annual thanksgiving and bazaar. Divinators,
prophets and seers are humans possessed of power of intuition. Every
person possesses it as it is God-given talent except that the level of
discipline and good judgment may make difference in the utilization of this
divine gift from God. If you read Wole Soyinka’s Trial Of Brother Jero And
Jero’s Metamorphosis you would have no other judgment than that he is a
prophet in correctly diagnosing and predicting the emergence of religious
charlatans and commercialization of religion in Nigeria today. If you read Chinua Achebe’s Man of the People, you are left with no other impression
except that he was a prophet warning Nigeria of the danger of corrupt
political system and its consequences that culminated in the January 15,
July 29, 1966 coups and other coups in Nigeria.
Anybody paying serious attention to the prophecies of Nigerian pastors has
not grown from his primitive origin. The pastors are men like you and they
see, hear and observe social actions and interpret them, the same way you
do. Whatever they say are what they think after analyzing the factual
situation and you can equally do the same. What transpired at the Fr.
Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry on Wednesday, 22 nd June, 2022 was a residual
animus arising from Fr. Mbaka’s encounter with Peter Obi in 2018 which
Obi’s political resurgence in 2022 was recalling to Mbaka’s mind and that
prospect of Obi becoming president was an anathema difficult for Mbaka to
swallow. So, Fr. Mbaka in that residual reflex had to strike it down with
that his direct attack on Obi. It is a human error common with anger and
jealousy or envy. Recall that nobody had commissioned Fr. Mbaka to
prophesy on Mr. Obi rather the mind of Fr. Mbaka had been troubled by
the overwhelming social media suffused with Peter political resurgence.
This phenomenon was too hard for Fr. Mbaka’s to stomach with ease
hence his outburst. But it is certain that Fr. Mbaka’s gamble to reenact his
2018 spat with Obi backfired because Mbaka failed to listen to the spirit of
God as Balaam did when the diffident and troubled Balak, the King of Moab
commissioned him to curse the Israelites. Note what happened, Balaam
had the good sense to listen to God even though he was attracted to the
humongous benefits King Balak held out to him but Balaam obeyed God by
blessing the Israelites instead of cursing them. From Fr. Mbaka’s outburst
against Obi, it is obvious Fr. Mbaka was still overcome with anger over jis
grievances that Mr. Obi’s did not appreciate his claimed role in the
restoration of Mr. Obi’s gubernatorial office after his impeachment. Fr.
Mbaka admitted Mr. Obi’s is not a bad person but that he is stingy and that
Nigeria being ravaged by hunger needs a generous man like Atiku. Just
imagine Fr. Mbaka understanding of Nigeria, its political economy and its
politics. That shows he is not enlightened about Nigeria and its problem
and his prophecies is anything but divine.


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