Rev Fr Mathew Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has divided Nigerians based on ethnicity, religion, and geography.
Mathew Hassan Kukah, stated in his Easter address that “this well planned campaign” has rendered Nigerians susceptible and kindled the most controversial form of people’s identity consciousness.
He said that the extent of devastation under Buhari has never been seen in the country’s history.
“The biggest hurdle for Nigeria isn’t even the elections in 2023. It is the chances for our people’s reconciliation. In this regard, the Buhari government has regrettably divided our people along ethnic, religious, and regional lines in ways that we have never seen before in our history.
“Years of friendship, cultural interchange, and teamwork have suddenly come under considerable strain as a result of stereotyping.” Regardless of these problems, religious leaders must reclaim and use their moral authority in order to avoid falling prey to political schemes and monetary enticements.”
He chastised the President Muhammadu Buhari for saying that integrating so-called repentant terrorists was more important than rescuing our children from kidnappers or keeping our colleges open.
“It says a lot when the President and his military hierarchy choose to believe these young men who took up arms and waged war against their country for years, killing, maiming, and wasting thousands of lives, destroying entire communities, and now they’re being housed, fed, and clothed with public funds.”
“All the while, their victims have been forced to relocate to other IDP camps!” “Where is the justice for the victims and the rest of the country that they’ve destroyed?” he wondered.
Kukah stated that the task of repairing Nigeria was tremendous and would need a collaborative effort because everything in the country was essentially broken down.
He remarked that the most difficult problem now was determining how to begin the process of rebuilding our nation in the hopes of surviving the 2023 elections.
The true issue today, according to Kukah, was to go beyond politics and address the problem of creating character and faith in our country.
“The future President of Nigeria must be a man or woman with a heart, a sense of empathy, and a soul on fire that can put boundaries to the human indignities perpetrated on citizens that he or she can bear,” the Bishop suggested.
“We don’t need any more hollow messianic rhetoric mixed with deceptive and overblown religiousness.” We need someone to mend our shattered country and save our people from the approaching threats of famine and misery.
“Our presidential candidates must demonstrate via their legacies and antecedents that they understand the country and its grave scars.” “Whoever aspires to lead us must demonstrate that he or she knows what has turned our country into a national hospital and show us plans for our release from this tragedy,” he said.
“We need to start thinking of a Nigeria beyond banditry and abduction and the continuous spirals of violence that have swallowed our neighbourhoods and nation,” Kukah said.
“We can’t keep pretending that there aren’t religious overtones to the brutality in the name of God that has tarnished our religions.”
“The way out is for the state to enforce the Nigerian state’s secular character in order to release citizens from the constraints of semi-feudal misunderstanding between the position of religion and the state in a plural democracy.”
“We must be willing to accept modernity and figure out how to retain our religions and traditions without using religion as a tool of dictatorship, exclusion, and oppression.”