Kukah’s verdict on Buhari gets more support, criticism
Bola Badmus, Muhammad Sabiu, Kaduna, Hakeem Gbadamosi and Segun Kasali
ELDER statesman and leader of the pan Yoruba organization, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, on Sunday, identified with the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese of the Catholic Church, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, over his allegations of nepotism and bad governance against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
All the other personalities spoke in unison on the wide-ranging allegations and the reasons adduced by the bishop in his Christmas Day homily where he took a swipe at the administration on the state of the precarious nation.
Chief Adebanjo said that he fully supported Bishop Kukah’s concern on the frightening state of nation and gross inadequacies of the Buhari administration.
Kukah had adjudged as worrisome the state of the nation, declaring that were President Muhammadu Buhari not a Northern Muslim, the military would have staged a coup to push him out of office.
He expatiated: “Against the backdrop of our endless woes, ours has become a nation wrapped in desolation, the prospects of a failed state stares us in the face with endless bloodletting, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and community violence, kidnapping and armed robberies, among others.”
The bishop also lamented: “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? Where can we find hope?”
But, in a spontaneous reaction to the allegations, the Federal Government through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, cautioned religious leaders against inciting statements but to engage in actions that could foster peace and stability of the country.
Various personalities, leading organisations of ethnic nationalities and other stakeholders in the country had lent credence to assertion of the bishop on similar allegations with warnings on the grave implications for the unity and progress of the country.
Speaking on Sunday in Lagos, Chief Adebanjo accused the administration of intolerance of criticisms and the opposition, noting that Bishop Kukah spoke truth to power.
“I am 100 per cent in support of Bishop Kukah’s position on the state of the nation and as it relates to the current administration. There is no need wasting time at all because Buhari’s administration is intolerant of opposition and criticism.
“They look at themselves in the mirror and laugh at themselves. Thank God for people like Bishop Kukah in the North. God has been using him to tell us the truth. On the way forward for the country in its current predicament, the foremost nationalist advised President Buhari to quit now, because there was no evidence of a government in place in the country anymore.
Arogbofa condemns presidency for attacking Kukah
On his part, the secretary-general of Afenifere, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa, expressed utter surprise that the Presidency chose to castigate the bishop for speaking the truth instead heeding his advice for the government to redress the injustice, security issues and other grave challenges facing the country due to glaring deficiencies in the Buhari administration.
Arogbofa said that Kukah should be commended for boldly speaking the truth about the various injustice and nepotism that has continued to characterise the Buhari administration.
“I have always see Kukah in the same mode of Arch Bishop Onaiyekan, in being frank, sincere and forthright with their contribution and love for this country. As a religious leader, who I expected to be fearless, forthright, and fair to everybody concerned, Kukah has been doing his job at the pulpit as expected.
“Let us be sincere if what Kukah has said at the pulpit are false or true? That should be the basis of our comments. Is it true or false that in Nigeria today, we have nepotism? Is it not correct that people have been complaining about the nepotism of the President; drawing people from his environment; his kith and kin into key positions, giving the clue that he detests other Nigerians, whereas he is expected to be our father and the head?
“A father who discriminates is not expect to draw respect from all his children. So, before we start castigating Kukah for what he said, we have to see whether it was true or false, and whether Buhari has not been practising nepotism.
“Is it Kukah alone that is saying this? Many people have been saying it,” Arogbofa declared.
The secretary general of Afenifere decried the ravaging poverty in the country, coupled with the deplorable state of security of lives and property.
According to him, “This period of festivities, everybody should be happy, but are we happy? Are Nigerians happy? Are people not hungry and angry and we have a President? This is an issue we should ask ourselves.
“They should try and alleviate our problems, but are they being alleviated? There is insecurity in the land, kidnapping here and there. It is difficult to move around now. All these things are terribly embarrassing.
“Those surrounding the President should always speak the truth, hit the nail on the head because before long, this time will pass. They should serve the country better than person. They should think of better ways to turn around this country and its people rather than serving the President.
“They should think seriously of what the people will say after the president that in a bad time like this, what his position was.
“We have to commend Kukah for the sermon he delivered and for coming out boldly. The president and his men should not close their eyes to what he raised. Those surrounding him should not tell lies to the president; they should let him see and know exactly what is happening in the country.”
Kukah spoke the minds of most Nigerians —Ebiseni
Similarly, a member of the 2014 Constitutional Conference (CONFAB), Chief Sola Ebiseni, while commending Kukah for coming out boldly on the major lapses in the Buhari administration, observed that the bishop said it all in his homily on the terrifying state of the nation; and that the president was running the most nepotistic and narcissistic government in the history of the country.
His words: “The present statement of Bishop Kukah is rightly bold and courageous. It is an eclectic voyage into the journey of a nation in distress, drawing its strength, not unexpectedly, from the scriptures but expanding into history, politics and international affairs.
“He shows currency on national affairs, in all ramifications, not ignoring even the mundane. The allegorical interpretation of Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina’s reference to Buhari’s critics as wailers, is the meat of Kukah’s homily.
“As he aptly observed, every Nigerian is now a wailer, especially the north on which neck political power is now, paradoxically, an albatross.
“Being human, Kukah’s mind didn’t capture all the wailers. He remembered the wailing herdsmen whose cattle have been lost to rustlers, bandits, thousands of widows left to mourn their husbands or children.
“He remembered that our hapless nation is being overrun by bandits. The UN, the Pope, pastors, bishops, emirs, the Sultan of Sokoto and others, are all wailing. However, I searched, in vain for the lamentations of the millions of farmers across the nation whose farms have been deserted on the activities of the herdsmen.
“The reduction of Kukah’s warnings on the incompetence and arrant nepotism of the Buhari administration, to a comparison with political appointments of Jonathan, is sheer playing the ostrich.”
Ebiseni, however, hoped that Kukah would not turn back to retract his statement because “many of us looking for a Desmond Tutu or Martin Luther King, great clerics who have used the pulpit to wrought socio-political changes in their societies, may not get them in Bishop Matthew Kukah for so many reasons, principal of which is the peculiarity of the Nigerian state.
“The Oputa panel gave him the national platform and his occasional releases have made Kukah a personality Nigerians, in hunger of heroes, earnestly look up to speak to power.
“Several statements credited to him ended up being denied and when he takes some salutary actions, like reconciling Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar, the urge for neutrality makes him tone down to the disappointment of Nigerians.
“My personal encounter with him was at the Achievers University Owo, Ondo State, where he was Guest Speaker at the institution’s convocation lecture where I personally sought his views on restructuring the polity, which he chose not to talk about.
“Kukah has only given vent to the expression of disgust by even the erstwhile most ardent supporters of Buhari. If you want to know the angst of Nigerians, when last did you read any reference to Buhari’s pet name of PMB.
“In spite of criticism Obasanjo was OBJ throughout as Jonathan, GEJ. The nation is rudderless with no captain. Kukah’s may be among the last voices crying on the precipice”
Kukah’s message succinct —Odumakin
On his part, the publicity secretary of Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin said it was no surprise that Bishop Kukah came under an acerbic attack from the presidency for expressing serious concern on the state of the nation, describing the cleric’s message as succinct and that it revealed the massive intolerance at the helm of affairs in the country.
“It’s not surprising that the revered gentleman of God has come under the acerbic hammer of Lai Mohammed. Let those who stand for the truth not relent in speaking it as we would marvel when it eventually set us free from the present bondage no matter how long it takes:
“This present darkness will not envelop us eternally,” he declared.
We are yet to study Kukah’s statement —ACF
Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said it was yet to study what Kukah said about the president and the state of the nation.
The national publicity secretary of the ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, disclosed this while commenting on the statement credited to the clergyman.
“We are yet to study it. But I believe when I meet with our chairman (Audu Ogbeh), we will come out with something. In fact, ACF will soon make its position known on the general insecurity in the land. When it is ready, we will make it available to the press,” he declared.
Stop using pulpits for political gains, NCFN tells Kukah
The Northern Christians Forum of Nigeria (NCFN) dissociated itself from the statement credited to Bishop Kukah criticising President Buhari, warning the cleric to avoid using the pulpit for political gains.
This was contained in a statement by the president of the group, Rev Dr Josiah Nabut, on Sunday in Kaduna.
‘We are concerned that the pulpit which should be regarded and treated as sacred, is being used as a platform for political schemes by some clerics from Northern Nigeria. We have decided to intervene to call those who have taken this path of dishonour to desist, as it is not in the overall good of the laity and to open the eyes of those who see nothing wrong with this and may want to emulate it,” the statement stated.
The group alleged that the cleric was derailing and shifting from the purpose of serving the laity and becoming a tool in the hands of politicians.
The NCFN further alleged that most of Bishop Kukah‘s claims against Buhari were scripts from certain political oracles he usually visits, urging him to desist from allegedly lending himself to be used by politicians because his gift is to serve all of humanity, not himself.
“Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah is a well-educated cleric and highly respected by us who share the same faith with him. Apart from his deep knowledge of the Bible, he is the man blessed with the power to dissect socio-political happenings around the world and analyse the same for better understanding. But that has not blinded our eyes to know when he is derailing and shifting from the purpose of serving the laity to serving himself.
“A pulpit is a sacred place and anyone gifted by God to mount it should it see as a privilege and use it to serve God and to better humanity; not for selfish or political gains. This is the difference between Samson in the Bible and other men of God like John The Baptist.
“As far as Samson was concerned, the anointing of sheer physical strength that God gave him was for him to flex his muscles, play around and pursue lustful pleasures. He did not use it for the purpose he was given the power and ended in a most pitiable circumstance.
“But John The Baptist for instance knew the purpose of his calling and used it to serve God. He forsook earthly pleasures, lived in the wilderness and was committed to his divine call until he was rewarded with the honour of Baptising Jesus.
“When Kukah was appointed to serve as the Secretary of the Oputa Panel, he betrayed his bias and contradicted his preachments for equity and fairness, when he accepted the position without looking at the composition of the commission which had Justice Chukwudifu Oputa as chairman.
“Equity demanded that as Justice Oputa was a Christian that the next powerful position in the committee which is that of the secretary, should have gone to a Muslim. And bishop would have been the first to scream if both the chairman and secretary of such a sensitive commission have been Muslims.”