EJIKE Mbaka, the controversial Catholic Priest from the Diocese of Enugu, says even though President Muhammadu Buhari is seen by many as a good man, he is being surrounded by too many bad people, therefore, all of them should be voted out come 2019 general election.
Mbaka said this during a meeting with Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and one of the presidential aspirants for 2019 election. The meeting took place in Washington DC, USA, where Mbaka said he had been invited for a church function.
According to Mbaka, Buhari “has been caged” by the many bad people he surrounded himself with and he lacks the will and discipline to sanction them.
Again, Mbaka pointed out that Buhari is now “sick and weak” and cannot do much any longer, unlike his military days when he was Nigeria’s Head of State with Tunde Idiagbon as his second in command.
“The Buhari that I know is a good man,” Mbaka insists. “I never knew Buhari too much, but the much I know of him, he meant well, but it is like he is in a cage.
“The Buhari that ruled Nigeria together with Idiagbon, was a good man… but if he is “good” but cannot sack the bad people around him, then all of them should go!
“If it was the Buhari that we know, by now, there would be change everywhere.”
“Buhari is a good man but those around him are not telling him the truth. They keep telling him that everything is moving very well.
“Is everything moving well and a country of a hundred and something million is still importing pencil and toothpick?” Mbaka asked?
Mbaka, however, sarcastically admitted that there is change in the country “but the change is only in the pattern of corruption”. Corruption is still rife in Nigeria, Mbaka said, but the pattern has changed.
Responding, Sowore told Mbaka that he was in the race for the presidency because of his belief that Nigeria needs a radical change.
Recalling how he, as a student activist, rejected gifts of cars and cash from politicians seeking to compromise him, Sowore told Mbaka that though he had campaigned for Buhari in 2015, the president has performed abysmally low and has disappointed a lot of Nigerians who believed in him.
“(In 2015) I said over my dead body will Jonathan continue in power,” Sowore said, adding that he is now convinced that nothing good will come from Buhari’s administration.
“People say Buhari is a good man but I don’t believe that. There are too many bad people around Buhari for me to see him as a good man,” he said.
“2019 is the ending point to bad governance and starting point of a new era. We cannot reward Buhari with another four years.”
Mbaka has been subjected to lots of criticisms by Nigeria following his unequivocal support for Buhari during the 2015 general election.
“I want Nigerians to vote out Goodluck Jonathan and vote General Muhammad Buhari. I don’t care if Buhari is a Muslim and from the North; all I care about is that Buhari can save Nigeria,” Mbaka had told his congregation during one of his sermons in 2015.
However, the Catholic cleric has since made a u-turn, first calling on Buhari to change or be voted out, and later telling him not to contest for in 2019.
Speaking with Sowore, Mbaka maintained that he did what he thought was best for Nigeria and Nigerians at the time, because there was plenty corruption during Jonathan’s presidency.
“Buhari did not give me any money. Neither did the APC,” Mbaka said. “Up till now, Buhari has never given me one kobo, and that is not why I am against his leadership.”