Senator Chimaroke Nnamani Recounts Ordeal With Catholic Church, Fr. Mbaka 20 Years On, Begs For Mercy
The Senator representing Enugu East Senatorial Zone and former Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani has recalled what seems like an ordeal after about 20 years Chimaroke left office as governor.
In his letter, the senator addressed what transpired between his led government, the Catholic Church, and Fr. Mbaka’s role in fuming what seemed like crisis then.
However, confusion got its way 20 years later, when the fiery priest Mbaka is seen in a viral video exonerating the same Chimaroke he condemned.
In the video, he praised Chimaroke for bringing on board political sons who are worthy and responsible and therefore classified Chimaroke as “a very good man”.
Recall also that in a video earlier before the one he hailed Chimaroke, Fr. Mbaka had condemned the candidacy of Peter Mbah who won the PDP Governorship Ticket. In the video, Mbaka said it is the return of Ebeano dynasty which he classified as “deadly”.
Below is the letter Chimaroke wrote;
Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka: why now???
Let him be. AKA ADA EKPUCHI ONWA
Attendees to a night vigil went through a stampede that resulted in deaths of worshippers. As Governor I convened a meeting of state executive, leaders of Catholic Church, and other religious faiths. It was generally agreed that it was a stampede and we needed to pay respects to the spirit of the dead. And apply adequate measures to prevent subsequent repeat of such mishaps and move on.
I paid immediate visit together with clergy and media to the wounded in the catholic hospital in Trans-Ekulu, Enugu where victims testified on camera about all happenings at the event. The Catholic Church vehemently opposed a coroners inquest/investigation.
The police invited the said Rev. Father and organiser of the adoration for questioning, and that set up fire storm as to why the police will invite him. Once the govt enquiry took off, it marked a departure of my government with the Catholic Church and that was the beginning of an anti Catholic smear on me.
A Methodist, however a lucky beneficiary of Catholic education where I attended mass every morning and still carry my chaplet till date. The young Reverend father teamed up with the vibrant Enugu opposition to claim that worshippers were k!lled with poison gas.
As the fire storm raged, a cardinal of Igbo origin arrived from Rome and conferred with the then President. Advices were proffered from many including a Late female drug czar of Igbo origin that I do not seek a second term which I shrugged off.
Stampedes associated with fatal injuries and death have been known to occur historically at many religious vigils, sport stadia and concerts. A joint panel constituted mainly by the Catholic Church with a chief forensic expert nominated by the Catholic Church actually a young forensic pathologist of Yoruba origin practicing in Enugu confirmed that all deaths were of women and children ie the weaker ones.
They died of asphyxiation associated medical sequelae. Specifically the alveolar sacs were devoid of air, and had other lung pathology with similar features of asphyxiation basically a state of absolute oxygen deprivation.
In other words, bodies compressed upon bodies upon bodies with zero egress. The panel was headed by well known retired Supreme Court jurist and devolt Catholic. The adoration panel report is a document somewhere in the archives.
As Governor i undertook personal visits to the then heads of the Catholic Church at all the diocese in Enugu, anambra and Imo states. Accompanied by an elder friend / father figure and counsellor Late J.S.P.C Nwokolo. Those efforts were either late or failed as the Mbaka saga took off.
The good, the bad and the ugly joined the fray and the rest is history. As the Igbo will say “Aka Ada Ekpuchi Onwa”. A Methodist though a Catholic school boy was thrown under the bus by the Catholic Church and even my old boys association. None coming to my defence. For the dysfunctional Enugu elite who grew up loathing from childhood experience were my friends and school mates were denied entry into swimming clubs and the up class presidential hotel, symbols of the bourgeoisie and the oppressor class turning back on me was not surprising.
But for the Catholic Church and the CIC old boys was devastating. A Methodist, though Catholic school boy who attended mass daily, still held onto his chaplet, despite the anti Catholic smear and denigration handed over to a Catholic and yet another CIC old boy. However, I cannot overstate the importance and contribution of Father Ejike Mbaka in the sectors of religion, health, education, economy and provision of social services.
His succour to women, children, less privileged, the abandoned and the lumpen proletariat is exemplary. He is a great man. This revered compassionate Nigerian with high level of empathy and sympathy must be commended for his goodness which dwarfs whatever weaknesses he may have.
Let father Ejike Mbaka be. Let him be. In Jesus Name…