By Nelson Ekujumi
All it requires for evil to triumph over good, though temporarily, is for men of conscience and goodwill to keep quiet and do nothing, so goes a popular saying. In the last couple of days, the Nigeria public space has been set on fire with reactions to the latest statement credited to the Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese Father Matthew Hassan Kukah in his Christmas message to faithful, where he was reported as calling for a coup, a violent overthrow of a democratically elected government in anger over in his view, President Muhammadu Buhari maladministration and nepotism in appointments.
The federal government, state governments, groups and individuals have all joined the fray either in condemning or backing the call from the clergy man in exercise of our rights to freedom of expression which is in tandem with the tenets of democracy and must be applauded.
One has tried fruitlessly to refrain from joining the fray on this highly vexatious and contentious issue but because of its impact on national unity and cohesion which is paramount to peace and prosperity of the Nigeria nation, one couldn’t hold back his thoughts.
Just some few days ago, the Presidency released a statement, alerting Nigerians of an alleged plot to smear the image and character of the President which generated a lot of reactions from Nigerians who are not oblivious to the fact of history that in our political journey of civil rule, we have never witnessed an administration that is a constant object of attacks and campaign of blackmail and calumny based on primordial sentiments like the President Muhammadu Buhari administration since 2015. As we speak, some forces of darkness still have converts who hold on tenaciously to the lie and falsehood that the President of Nigeria who was democratically elected twice 2015 and 2019 at the polls by an overwhelming majority of Nigerians in an election locally and internationally certified as free, fair and credible, is one Jubril from Sudan, so sad and unfortunate.
Sadly, events after this alert notice of smear campaign against the President have proved true as we daily wake up to ridiculous and infantile lies and misinformation messages meant to incite Nigerians against the government and provoke anarchy, but Nigerians are wiser than the agents of destabilization in decoding the message and resolve that, no matter the present challenges which makes us sad, we can only overcome in unity and peace rather than in a state of chaos which undermines our humanity.
In order to respond appropriately to Father Kukah message, one has taken the pains to read the reportage of his Christmas message as published in The Guardian newspaper of 27th of December, 2020.
In his Christmas message, the Catholic Bishop cautioned the Buhari administration on the state of the nation, which is worrisome not only to the Bishop, but to all well meaning individuals and interests who wish the best for their country and society. He even went ahead to lampoon the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, who in his view has failed to address the nation’s problems and that the administration policies have worsened the country’s socio economic and political condition. This is in order since Father Kukah was merely expressing a personal view which is within his constitutional right, after all it is said that what is facing one man, is backing another.
However, while agreeing with the cleric about our security challenges which needs to be addressed, one disagrees absolutely with his vision of despair, though he faintly deploys Biblical quotations to inject hope when his candour obviously paint a picture of hopelessness which is not in tandem with the spirit of the season which is about hope and salvation for humanity with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mischievously, Father Kukah in his message goes ahead to narrate a story of how a delegation of Catholic Bishops had an audience with President Buhari after he assumed power, where he shared his frustration over the state of decay and rot that he met. “In frustration, I vividly recalled him saying that from the decay and neglect, it seemed as if preceding governments had been doing nothing but just eating and going to the toilet. Looking back, one might conclude that those were happy times, because at least there was food to eat and people could go to the toilet. Now, a journey to the toilet is considered by the poor as an extra luxury”.
Father Kukah falsely by the above narration tried to lay the blame for the country’s woes at the doorstep step of a 5 years old administration, which is an attempt to be clever by half and a desecration of the pulpit where he made this obvious lie. If one may ask, can Father Kukah come out explicitly to explain in details how President Buhari has destroyed the Nigeria economy in 5 years in comparison to his predecessors’ profligacy and squander mania of 16 years in which we earned bountifully from the sale of crude oil and didn’t invest, imported everything under the sun, poor or zero local productive capacity and collapsed infrastructures?
The icing on the cake of the incitement and call for anarchy message by Father Kukah was his reckless, irresponsible and provocative statement that, “Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and got away with it. There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war”. If one may ask Father Kukah, can he give us his concept of honest Nigerian for analysis?
The above quote from Father Kukah is highly condemnable and unbecoming of the office he holds as a Minister of the Sanctuary who is expected to preach peace and love among mankind no matter the temptation or circumstances. Father Kukah betrayed his calling by his divisive and threat to national security statement which stands condemned in all ramifications.
While some Nigerians have expressed outrage over Father Kukah statement, one is not surprised because this has been his trademark since President Buhari administration came into office in 2015 following the electoral defeat of his party by the incumbent and subsequent trashing of his benefactor and party again in the 2019 Presidential polls by same President Buhari, thus one can understand his anger and hatred which unfortunately has been allowed to taint his calling and Christendom in sowing seed of ethnic and religious discord.
As Nigerians come to terms with the true colour of this politician clergy man who has good company in some socio cultural groups of no members masquerading as representing ethnic nationalities, but with the same vision of Nigeria shall know no peace because of their political bias which has unfortunately and sadly been clothed in religious and ethnic garb, may I humbly request that Father Matthew Hassan Kukah resigns his membership of the National Peace Committee because he has proven time and time again, that he is not a man of peace and religious harmony, but a man of anarchy. I rest my case.
Nelson Ekujumi, A Concerned Nigerian.