The crisis between the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Rt Rev Godfrey Onah and his priest, Rev Fr Paul Obayi, famously known as Fr Okunerere, continues to attract diverse reactions.
Obayi is the spiritual director of the Okunerere Adoration Ministry, Nsukka, Enugu State.
newsmirrorng reported that Fr Obayi, who runs a similar prayer ministry like Mbaka, revealed that the church authority in the diocese was oppressing him.
He had alleged that he gave everything to the church, yet the church wanted to strangle him.
“The church is my vineyard, I love the church, I love my Nsukka (Catholic) church, I love the bishop, I love the priests, I love them, but they are oppressing me.
“I give everything to the church, yet the church wants to strangle me. But it can’t happen!
“Since the church doesn’t want me again, I am leaving the Catholic Church any moment from now,” he said.
He alleged that some priests, who claimed to be acting on the order of the Bishop, broke the entrance gate to the Adoration Ministry.
His outcry has remained subject of controversy on social media, with people taking various positions.
Mbaka, who is known for not keeping quiet, has then spoken out, warning those oppressing Obayi to desist or face the consequences of their actions, which he termed ‘sin against the Holy Spirit’.
The fiery cleric, who said his fellow priests always abandoned him whenever he faced similar oppression, noted that he would always stand out.
He demanded that Obayi should be shielded from what he described as ”attacks and forces of darkness, whims and caprices of hawks, vultures and serpents”.
In a veiled attack on the Bishop, Mbaka said, ”When you have not verified what a man of God is doing, you begin to blackmail and misinterpret it.
“Has anyone given you people an assignment? Know when you have crossed the boundary. Are you God? Why are you an impostor?’
”If you people shut down Okunerere adoration ministry, the demons he cast will follow you people. I want the world to hear this voice. These are the children given to me; I am their senior brother.”
According to the cleric, ”We need more soul-winners like Father Okunerere. You beat a child and asked him not to cry. Who are you? God ordained all that you are. And if you take the authority God gave you to oppress his messenger, heaven will take away what it has bestowed on you. You better repent”.
Mbaka lamented that many other priests were in anguish and bleeding over the treatment meted out on them by church leaders.
He said many left the seminary burning for God, but the fire was always regrettably extinguished once they were ordained priests.
He declared: ”I am talking to Nsukka people. I am not talking to any individual. Nsukka, as a people, if you keep quiet and Father Obayi is nowhere to be found, before such a good thing like him comes to you people, those who will die because of it would be many. I know that what I have spoken will raise so much dust.
”Father Obayi may not be the best, but he’s good. He has done so well in winning souls to God. He should not be messed up. Those who should shield this young man from attacks and forces of darkness should not pass him to the whims and caprices of hawks, vultures and serpents.
”Father Obayi should not be exposed to predators. The chief shepherd of that diocese should protect that young man. Obayi should not be compensated with sorrow and should not be handed over a dead child.
”But I will warn my brother priest not to be tempted into leaving the priesthood. Let him be courageous, let him be steadfast, let him be resolute. His labours will never be in vain.
”I have been trying to get him through the phone, but I have not. I saw the thing on social media, so I am replying through social media. Jesus in the Eucharist is the one you should look to. He will keep you, Father. He will shield you from the valleys of shadows of death. He will preserve you.
“Don’t forget you have dealt tortuously with many demons, so they cannot leave you unharassed. The devil can use many people to attack you back.
”Those who are doing these things to Obayi should know he is not supposed to cry for you people. The good thing that came to Nsukka. The people of Nsukka, you kept quiet? Are you people saying it does not concern you? There is someone you lose, and heaven’s wrath and anger will be upon you when you can no longer find him.
“Do you people even know what’s happening to you people? Nsukka people, be vigilant!
”Galatians 6:17 says, ‘’Henceforth, let no one trouble me. I bear in my body the wounds of Jesus’. Don’t trouble Fr Obayi anymore; allow him to concentrate, focus, dedicate himself to the work of God, and be used as a deliverer, as a healer. Allow him to sacrifice himself – he has been sacrificing.
”I know Father Paul so deeply. If there is a place where he is falling short, let him be corrected. But he has done well in many areas. And the people of God love him. Let nobody be jealous of him. You cannot do what he’s doing.
”If such a man could leave the occult world and come into Christianity, and he would be bullied in his Christian family, where would he now run to? The Bible says the foundation, once destroyed, what shall the just man do? (Psalm 11:3). Because the sceptre of the wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the just. Otherwise, the just will be forced to put a hand in evil.
”Those who brought poverty and hardships in the land, nobody has done anything to them. Nobody has done anything to the wicked ones in the society. Meanwhile, the messenger of God has been made to cry in the house of God for nothing.
”It is easy to attack me, and I will endure, but you cannot attack a fellow prophet, and I will be silent. Listen, whoever is doing this thing to Obayi, he should not cry for you people again.
”You know, during my trying time, many priests kept silent. It is not so now. I am speaking under the mandate of the Holy Spirit. Stop bullying men of God.
”Why do you people hate those who can pray? Why do you hate those who are anointed in a charismatic way? Where do you belong? Nsukka, are you people silent? Let nothing happen to Father Paul. Every town would not be dumb. The Catholic Church is not a dumb church.
“He should be encouraged. He needs our prayers and support. He needs our love. He is a real man of God. Where he did not do well, he should be corrected but should not be caused to be bleeding in the church.
”The Catholic Church is passing through a tsunami. We are losing our members in millions to Pentecostals and gifted priests who will become magnets to pull the snatched-away members back, taken away by idol worshippers; many have gone into cultism and occultism, and we are losing our members; many have no leadership trust in the leadership of the church anymore, I am talking about the reality; instead of planning on soul-winning and proper evangelization.
”If you people shut down Okunerere adoration ministry, the demons he cast will follow you people. I want the world to hear this voice.
”What is the problem? You are free to misunderstand me when you hear this, but heaven will dismay you if you exceed your boundaries. I don’t want to know who you are. Evil is nothing but evil. You people should stop killing the church. We need soul-winners like Father Okunerere, more of that.
”Not just Father Okunerere, there are other priests who are in anguish and lamentation. A Rev. father does not marry and has no child. So, we need prayers for our priests.
”In the future, the Catholic Church in Nigeria will begin to look for people like those that they are killing now, but it will be difficult to get them.
“Beware, Jesus said that every sin could be forgiven, except the sin against the Holy Spirit.
“When you have not verified what a man of God is doing, you begin to blackmail it and misinterpret it. Has anyone given you people an assignment? Know when you have crossed the boundary. Are you God? Why are you an impostor?
”Let me stop here because I know these things I have said will raise many other issues. You can come out if you have the strength. In many dioceses, many priests are bleeding. They came out from the oven of the seminary hot with anointing, ready to pray and work and be holy, and they would be messed up.”
Recall that Mbaka has had several running battles with his Enugu Catholic Bishop, Most Rev Callistus Onaga, over his ministry’s activities.
The last was in June 2022 when the Adoration Ministry was shut down on the order of the Bishop.
The Bishop, in a letter he personally signed, and addressed to ‘All the Clery, Religious and Lay Faithful in the Catholic Diocese of Enugu’, banned all the members from having anything to do with the Adoration Ministry.
The letter said, “In the light of the happenings in the Catholic Adoration Ministry Chaplaincy Enugu, capable of undermining the Catholic faith and teachings and after several fraternal corrections and admonitions to Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the Chaplain of the Ministry.”
“Having given him pastoral directives and guidelines for the Ministry Chaplaincy, which he persistently violated.
“In fulfilment of my pastoral duties as the Chief Shepherd with the obligation to promote and safeguard the Catholic faith and morals in Enugu Diocese, I hereby prohibit all Catholics (clergy, religious and lay faithful) henceforth from attending all religious and liturgical activities of the Catholic Adoration Ministry until the due canonical process initiated by the Diocese is concluded.
“My decision is based on the fact that some of the teachings and utterances of Fr. Mbaka at the Catholic Adoration Ministry are not consistent with the teachings and faith of the Catholic Church,” Onaga said.
This was in reaction to the issues involving Mbaka and the then presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi.
Recall that the priest had during one of the adoration programmes declared that Obi, who he described as “a stingy man”, would not win the election.
About four months after the ministry was shut down, it was announced that Mbaka had been sent to the monastery.
It was further disclosed that the new Chaplain of the Adoration Ministry Chaplaincy is Rev Fr Anthony Amadi.
Mbaka’s followers, however, kicked against the decision and Fr Amadi was prevented from assuming duty by adorers as Mbaka’s followers are fondly called.
In January this year, Mbaka was allowed to resume his ministry’s activities.