President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday described the sermon delivered by Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka of the Adoration Ministries, Enugu, early this year, as one of the best exhortations to the nation he has heard from the pulpit.
The outspoken Catholic priest had earlier prophesied that then President Goodluck Jonathan was going to win re-election and offered prayers for him and the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, who visited his ministry.
However, in an usual and highly controversial turn-around of the prophecy declaring a second term for Jonathan, Fr. Mbaka declared that Mr. Buhari was going to win the March 28 presidential election and openly castigated the former president in a viral video clip uploaded to YouTube.
Mbaka told his teeming followers that Mr. Jonathan would not be re-elected because of pervading corruption and insecurity in the country.
Not a few people were rattled by the cleric’s brazen castigation of the then president, with some prominent Nigerian Cardinals condemning his statements as portraying the Catholic Church as being partisan in the run-up to the polls.
But Fr. Mbaka held his ground, insisting his utterances were divinely guided.
Receiving the priest at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Friday, President Buhari praised Father Mbaka’s “exemplary courage”.
“Thank you very much for what you have done and said. It brought you out to the whole country as a man of courage.
“It was honest and well delivered”, the president said. “It has gone into the records as one of the best concerns expressed from the pulpit, not because it favoured me and my party, the All Progressives Congress, but because it was good for the country”.
President Buhari used the occasion of the visit by Fr. Mbaka, his first to the seat of power, to reiterated his conviction that change will come to the country, “with a lot of hard work, despite the security and economic problems”, a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said.
He, however, appealed for the continued understanding and patience of Nigerians.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was present at the meeting with Mbaka, described the Catholic oriest as a man “who stood for truth and propriety, and declared corruption unacceptable”.
He added that the Buhari administration “is committed to truth and justice, and won’t encourage corruption in any way”.
Earlier, Fr. Mbaka said he was happy with the mission and methodology of the Buhari administration.
He also took time to wish the president a happy birthday.
Mr. Buhari’s 73rd birthday was on Thursday.