In this interview, Rev. Fr. Obimma (Ebube Muonso), priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, and the Spiritual Director of the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, Anambra State, speaks about President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian economy, the situation of Ndigbo in Nigeria, his Adoration Ministry, among other things.
Please could you assess the Muhammadu Buhari presidency so far?
It is a known fact that our economy is simply bastardized. Nigerian economy is in shambles. I will like to use this medium to tell Buhari that Nigerians are crying. As priests of God, we are the people receiving feedback from the people. When things are getting so bad, we are the people they run to.
For me, Buhari is not measuring-up as president. Before he was voted in as president, the Holy Ghost revealed to me that he would win the election, but that his reign would be a doom to Nigerians. The presidency need to do something fast, because people are dying. Go to hospitals, people are lying helplessly. Some Nigerians today cannot afford their house rents. There is hunger everywhere. People are dying. Buhari, people are dying in your hands.
Again, there is hunger in the land. Let the federal government try and alleviate hunger in this country. People are dying on daily basis as prices of things are also skyrocketing. You can imagine where a price of dollar is N520.
All these are mayhem that shatters the peace of a common man. As a president, if your people are not happy, you are not supposed to be happy. I for one, when my flock is not happy, I am not happy. I am only happy when things are going on well with my people. I can only be happy when the adoration members are buying cars and building houses.
I pray and fast, not for myself because God has mapped out my own role for me, but I undergo series of fasting and prayers because of the flock God handed over to me. My desire is to see them flourish in their various areas of endeavour. So, the country is not conducive for Nigerians. There is a clarion call for change even before this administration came to be, message of change was preached.
Everybody clamoured for change and Mr. President should do something in that direction. We will continue to pray for our country Nigeria, let there be peace, Shalom! Christ came into the world with a message of peace, let there be peace, justice and equal measures to everybody. APC members are not sacred cows, and corrupt-free people. If it is only PDP and others that are corrupt and that means that the corruption campaign is one sided. I am under the mandate of heaven to say this, because if I don’t say it, Holy Spirit will punish me.
Further comments on Nnamdi Kanu and the new Ohaneze leadership
I will say that the case of Nnamdi kanu is a sheer case of intimidation and injustice. How can you arrest someone fighting for the oppressed without gun? How can you arrest a freedom fighter? How can the federal government hold an innocent man who is fighting for the liberation of his people whereas the Boko Haram and other people are destroying things, threatening the peace of the nation, and none of them are apprehended? I do not see any reason why Nnamdi Kanu should remain in jail up till now.
This is a clarion call to the new leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo. Let them speak out. I wonder what the South-East governors are doing. The people representing the Igbo at the National Assembly, what are they doing? Of course, they said that an average Igbo man is selfish, but the earlier we caution ourselves the better. We are not united. If you are playing football as a team without unity of purpose, you cannot have victory. Let the Igbo nation play as a team. All hands must be on deck.
In the face of hopelessness, what is your message of hope for Nigerians?
The word of God said in Jeremiah 29:11, “I have a good plan for you; the plan of good and not of evil, to give you good future and hope’’. A man without hope is almost a dead man. In every bad situation, there is always hope. However, that hope cannot be actualized without a change. Before Buhari emerged as president, there was a clarion call for change; but the type change he brings is not the kind of change Nigerians have been advocating for.
We need capable hands that can manage the economy of this nation; finest brains, super economic teams that will handle different sectors of the government because, as it stands now, it is quite clear that the whole thing is far beyond the capacity of President Buhari. It is just like asking a mechanic to man a plane as pilot or to captain a ship. In a situation like that, the whole crew will perish.
For me, let there be a change in 2019. We need good leadership; not the type that Buhari could offer. Buhari’s leadership is not the kind of change Nigerians need. For me, there is need for fervent prayers and for change. Buhari’s administration has failed Nigerans. People are dying by the day.
How do you view this new law that mandates founders of Churches to hand over to a successor after twenty-five years?
For me, the issue of Church is of divine. Though the Church owes some obligations to the government, but in actual sense, the church has hierarchy. In the church, there is what is called structure. For me, for instance, I am answerable to my local ordinary, the Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese. If the government should require any information about me or the Adoration Ministry, they should meet my Archbishop. There is no way anybody can tell the Archbishop to relinquish his power after 25 years of being in authority. It is never done!
Tell us more about your Adoration Ministry and the journey thus far?
The Adoration Ministry is five years old this year, 2017. We thank the Holy Spirit for leading us this far. Today, we have been able to spread our tentacles to many parts of Africa, the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Sometime in the life of your ministry, there was a stampede and many people died. There was this allegation that you abandoned the families of the victims?
It is not true. Families of the victims were not abandoned. However, each time I remember the stampede, it pains me so much. It was a regrettable experience. The families of victims were well taken care of, and are still being taken care of adequately by government and the Adoration Ministry.
There is this insinuation that you acquire lands arbitrarily in many communities, even when the owners are not happy relinquishing them. What is your take on that?
I, as a person, do not own any private lands. As a Catholic Priest, I do not own private property. Every property in my ministry bears the name of the Archbishop and the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha. If there is need for our ministry to have more lands, our Land Committee will go into negotiation with owners of such lands. We don’t acquire lands with force. We have never appropriated any person’s lands with force. In many cases, owners of such lands do not see me, but the land committee of our ministry. After each transaction, our lawyer and the Land Committee will bring the document and I will sign; then, we send the document to our Archbishop so that he would also sign it. That is to show that the lands so appropriated are not mine. They belong to the Catholic Church for the work of God.