The attention of the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF) has been drawn to a news item published yesterday, December 25, in the online edition of the PUNCH which reported a certain Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese as saying that there would have been a coup or even war if a non-Northern Muslim is on the seat of power and does what President Buhari is doing.
Bishop Kukah, who made the assertions in his 2020 Christmas message titled, ‘A nation in search of vindication’ was quoted as saying: “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 gotten away with it.”
It’s quite unfortunate that a well respected religious leader like Bishop Kukah would choose the very period of rebirth and healing to speak of coup and war. And it is even more worrisome that the outspoken Bishop was blowing hot air over an issue that has been addressed over and over again with the presidency even publishing the names of all appointees from all parts of Nigeria.
While all men of God, and of good conscience, who have the patriotic mindset to seek for the betterment of Nigeria have sent out messages of hope and unity during this yuletide, it’s unfortunate that Bishop Kukah, despite being a stakeholder in the National Peace Committee, chose that very period to instigate one faith against another.
The same Bishop Matthew Kukah who, at every major elections, would traversed the country to request aspirants to sign up for peace during and after elections was the promoter of the statement painting a President and leader of a secular nation as hater of Christians.
How would a Bishop who claims to live his life for the unity of Nigerian nation finds the conviction to write the following words: “The President may have concluded that Christians will do nothing and will live with these actions. He may be right and we Christians cannot feel sorry that we have no pool of violence to draw from or threaten our country.” In other words, it’s the Muslims who have the “pool of violence to draw from.” And it must be Muslims who “threaten our country.”
Not done, Bishop Kukah even went as far as making a mockery of the current security situation in northern Nigeria, derisively saying, “…We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his (referring to the President) North.” How can a man of God, especially one who professes unity, be speaking in terms of “we” versus “them”? Indeed, it is time the National Peace Committee reviews its membership and see if Bishop Kukah still encapsulates the character of a peace maker or promoter of Nigeria’s unity and oneness.
We had thought Bishop Kukah is a unifying voice all along, but with this level of undisguised bigotry, we must have misjudged his character and mindset. How a supposed man of God can be filled with so much bitterness and hate is beyond our comprehension.
Of course, it’s well within the right of Bishop Mathew Kukah to hate Buhari or even the government he leads, but alluding to ‘coup and war’ is not only unpatriotic but also devilish, especially coming from a man of God. And this is why we call on Bishop Kukah to not deride his pontifical vestments by making statements that are clear antithesis to his public image. Decorum should be the watchword.
Publicity Secretary, APYF