Reactions have trailed Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah’s Christmas Day message where he recounted the many woes of Nigeria under the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration while calling the president to order.
In a message titled “A Nation in search of Vindication,” Kukah spoke about the evident nepotism, unfavourable policies and several other loopholes in the president’s leadership style which have turned the country into a shadow of itself. He added that things probably might have degenerated into a coup or a war if a non-Northern Muslim President had practised a fraction of President Buhari’s ‘nepotism’.
“Against the backdrop of our endless woes, ours has become a nation wrapped in desolation. The prospects of a failed state stare us in the face: endless bloodletting, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and community violence, kidnappings, armed robberies etc. Ours has become a house of horror with fear stalking our homes, highways, cities, hamlets and entire communities. The middle grounds of optimism have continued to shift and many genuinely ask, what have we done to the gods? Does Nigeria have a future? Where can we find hope? Like the Psalmist, we ask; from where shall come our help? (Ps.121:1).
“Yes, our dreams have been aborted. Yes, our commonwealth has been stolen. Yes, our cancer of corruption has metastasized. Yes, we have been guilty of patricide, fratricide and attempted even suicide. Yes, we are hungry, angry, thirsty and starving. Yet, we stand firmly with the unshaken belief that no matter the temptations, the world has known worst times. These may be the worst of times, but for men and women of faith, they could be the best of times. We must stand firm and resolute because, our redeemer liveth (Job 19:25).”
The Bishop also had a word for those who would rather hail the president but keep mute when things go wrong until they are directly affected by the sufferings of the common man.
“The North spurn into denouement: the idea of a united north seems to have ended. The Northern Governors’ Forum has split into the three zones. With the killings, kidnappings and abductions of Emirs and other traditional rulers in the north, the signals have gone out that no one is safe and nothing is sacred. In the wake of the EndSARS protests, the traditional rulers across the country assembled to express solidarity with the President. Then it all changed. The Emir of Katsina, the President’s home state, only recently said; “We cannot continue to live like animals. I have not seen this type of country”. His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar said that the north has now become the worst part of the entire country. The Senate whose leadership is almost totally dominated by Northern Muslims has raised alarm. The Northern Elders’ Forum has called on the President to resign. Has the politics of nepotism run its course? Perhaps, the spirit of Christmas should offer us an answer.”
Kukah added that the nation is soaked in tears due to the heavy burdens that have been placed on Nigerians.
“On the sad situation in Nigeria, the United Nations has wailed. The Pope has wailed. Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Pastors have wailed. Emirs have wailed. Politicians have wailed. The Sultan has wailed. Surely, it is time for the Lord to hear the wailer as they have sung their redemption songs.”
Amidst a seemingly hopeless situation, the cleric also had a message of hope for Nigerians.
“Whatever the temptations to despair, we cannot give up. When the Psalmist asked where help shall come from, he answered that it will come from the Lord. Therefore, like Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, we Priests must stand before the mercy seat of God and plead the cause of our great country(Lk. 1: 8). Like Abraham, we must plead for the Lord to save our nation because we have more than ten righteous men (Gen. 18: 16ff). Like Moses, we believe that as long as our hands are held up in prayer, the Lord will be on our side (Ex. 17:11). These are trying but life-changing moments in the history of our nation. Politics and Economics alone will not resolve our problems. There is enough hate and bitterness to go around. We need to pause, reflect, pray, be honest and courageous in facing tomorrow,” he said.
Read the full message here.
Bishop Kukah’s message has elicited different reactions across the nation. While many Nigerians have expressed their utmost respect for the Catholic Priest for speaking out boldly against bad governance, the Arewa Youths think others and have called for his arrest.
Kukah has, no doubt, reechoed the sentiments of the majority of Nigerians who are tired of the oppression and unfavourable policies that have left the masses impoverished. Nigerians have seen too many loopholes in the leadership style of the current administration that is affecting the country adversely, this is why we need more people like Bishop Kukah to speak truth to power and call the president to order – after all he was elected to serve the people not himself.
As part of their responsibilities to the people, Nigerians have long expected the National Assembly to call the president to order, but they have failed in their responsibility, sadly; but would rather massage the ego of the president while the masses suffer. Perhaps, they would be pressured to do the right thing when more citizens start speaking up like Bishop Kukah.