United Nations Peace Ambassador, Bishop Samson Benjamin, is bothered by the recent negative comments made by Enugu-based Reverend-Father Mbaka against the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan.
During a conversation on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Bishop Benjamin said that he was bothered because of the effect this would have on the entire society and the clergies.
Dissociating the Christian community from Mbaka’s verbal condemnation of President Jonathan’s capacity to lead the country, he said, “I don’t know him very much, we are not that close but that was his opinion and as a Nigerian you are entitled to your opinion. Its not the opinion of the entire catholic church or Christians.
“What bothers some of us is that a month ago, he was singing the praises of this same family and a month after, you’re singing another song.
“This bothers us as clergies. As clerics, all that is expected of us is to help tell our followers the right thing to do,” the Bishop said.
While admitting that clergies have become influential and are able to affect public decisions, he called for caution as this power of influence should be applied positively.
He recalled that Reverend Father Mbaka had made similar statements about former Enugu State Governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, with his prediction that the Governor would not win elections failing to come to pass.
“Chimaroke did not only win the election, but also the person he anointed won the election. So, what we are supposed to do as clerics is to be very careful on our utterances.”
On the possibility of Rev Mbaka’s statement being a product of revelation from God, Bishop Benjamin explained that Christendom has five manifold ministries namely “Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor and the teacher” with all having “their paraphernalia of office”.
“It is good to know exactly what office a particular clergy in the Christian fold actually occupies. It is when you have this fundamental basics that you’ll be able to say ‘OK this man heard from God or he did not hear from God’.
“All of us do hear from God, that’s the truth but among these manifold ministries, the prophet is closer to God,” he said, quoting from the Bible to validate his claim.
“That is why some of us are very concerned. Our colleagues should be extremely careful when they come up to tell people that ‘God said to me’. God doesn’t lie.
“If you say God speaks to you that means it has to come to pass. If it does not come to pass it means it is not God who spoke to you.”
Speaking further, he said, “Whether we like it or not, the truth is (that) in every society or nation, there is a constitution and this constitution is the highest law in the land.
“We don’t forget the fact that as clerics we have followers who believe in the tenets of our faith and in our holy books. So clerics are supposed to be very careful about the kinds of statement they make especially when it concerns the entire society and politics, especially in Nigeria this year.”
Religion Will Determine 2015 Election
Bishop Benjamin noted that the reason politicians have continued to attend church programmes publicly is because of the numbers of potential voters available in such large gatherings.
He warned that the 2015 would be different from any other election held in the country as “religion is going to play about 60% role in what is going to happen.”
Although he said that this was not an ideal scenario, he explained that the “politicians have been able to drag religion into their politics and by this they’ve heated up the politics of the country and made people to be absolutely confused.”
He emphasised the need for caution, maintaining an earlier stance that clergies and all Nigerians must be careful.
He also emphasised the importance of security to the success of the 2015 elections, as politicians use the factors of intimidation, terror and violence to win at all cost.
According to the Bishop, religious organisations must also be responsible for reducing this violent tendencies as he tasked his fellow clergies to step in and educate their followers to remain law abiding irrespective of what anybody tells them.