The Indigenous People of Biafra on Thursday attacked a Catholic priest and founder of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, for suggesting that the agitation for Biafra should be led by the Igbo ‘elite’, rather than the youths.
The leaders of most of the pro-Biafran groups, including IPOB and the Movement for Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, are young men.
Also, majority of the activists who have been taking to the streets in pro-Biafran protests are youths.
In a video clip from a recent sermon, which was posted online, Mbaka reportedly said youths should not be ones leading the struggle.
The cleric noted that the agitation for Biafra would be more effective if prominent Igbo personalities were at the forefront of the struggle.
But Mbaka’s comments did not go down well with IPOB.
In a statement in Enugu, IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, said the secessionist’s group condemned Mbaka’s statement.
Apparently due to Mbaka’s perceived support for President Muhammadu Buhari, IPOB referred to him in the statement as ‘Usman Mbaka.’
“The Indigenous People of Biafra and its leadership worldwide condemn the statement credited to Rev. Ejike Mbaka.
“From what Usman Mbaka said in his video about IPOB, you would have thought that the same Jesus he worships, sells olive oil and pure water in his name, was 1,000 years old when He started His ministry that changed the course of human history,” the statement said.
IPOB said it was wrong for the cleric to associate leadership with age.
Drawing on several Biblical examples, the group insisted that God could raise young persons to leadership positions.
The statement added, “The same Bible Mbaka is supposedly reading every day is replete with instances where God raised children, from Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, Samson, Jephthah etc, to do His will in the lives of His children.
“Why didn’t God use Reuben who was the eldest son of Jacob instead of Joseph who was second to the last? Why did God choose baby Moses, even as he was in a basket, to lead his people out of Egypt instead of Moses’ father or another elder from the Hebrew community in Goshen, Egypt?
“Why didn’t God choose one of the elders of Israel to lead the assault on the land of Canaan but instead chose Joshua? Why did God chose Samuel instead of the older and more established priests from the house of Levi to serve in His temple instead of boy Samuel?
“Why did God anoint and make a young David king over Israel when there were ‘elite’ and men of the law He could have chosen a king from?
“Why was Jesus the son of a carpenter, at the very tender age of 12, preaching against the doctrine and hypocrisy of the all-powerful Pharisees and Sadducees or the corruption of the Sanhedrin?”
The statement stressed that God had ‘chosen’ Kanu and IPOB members to lead the pro-Biafran struggle.
“The same God has chosen Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB and not anybody from Ohanaeze Ndigbo, South-East or South-South Governors Forum or the so-called elite,” IPOB declared.
The group said the ‘elite’ had failed.
The statement said, “The same old men that did nothing about Igbo presidency until IPOB came along, they did not build second Niger Bridge, they did not build Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, neither did they use their elitism to build Onitsha-Enugu Expressway.
“The question Mbaka must answer is, what has any of the men he is proposing should lead IPOB done for Biafra?
“Why didn’t these ‘elite’ as he calls them rise up and agitate for Biafra before Nnamdi Kanu came?”