The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, has declared that only people with vision and tested character can successfully lead Nigeria to greatness. The bishop made the remark in his message on the occasion of the nation’s Diamond Jubilee as a sovereign State. His words: “Journeys to greatness require more than just good people, more than just good will, more than just hope. Those journeys have to be led by men and women with vision and tested character prepared to mobilize their people towards the attainment of a goal.”
In the message titled: Nigerian At 60: A Call to Hope; Bishop Kukah went down memory lane on the political, religious and social journey of the country, from the time of the British rule to the time of Independence, in 1960; and from then to the present administration of the President Muhammadu Buhari led government of the All Progressive Congress Party (APC); noting that the institution created by the colonial masters and the nation’s founding fathers have been destroyed and their vision for development distorted.
The bishop also used the occasion to call for an end to the culture of bloodletting that has become embedded in the country’s culture, since the first Military Coup of 1966, which took the life of the first Prime Minister of the country, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and other prominent political leaders, just six years after the country became an independent nation.
Pointing out that the country has no cause for the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, Bishop Kukah noted, among other things that: Alhaji Tafawa Balewa became “a symbol of the blood sacrifice that has now drenched our country in a sea of blood arising from a civil war and endless circles of communal bloodletting which have now become part and parcel of our governance structure. Successive leaders have not come to terms with how to end this culture of death”.
He added: “Today, our country is littered with the very sharp pieces of broken promises. Yesterday’s dreams have become our worst nightmares. As we look back today, watching our country drift in a wide sea of uncertainty, we ask, from where our help come? (Ps 121: 1). After sixty years, bloodletting has become embedded in our culture of existence. So, how do we celebrate?”
Bishop Kukah summed the nation’s calamity thus: “It is easy to say that we have been one unlucky country. The evidence is glaring. One of our Presidents marveled at how a country that had taken so much beating was still standing. In spite of huge resources after 60 years, we cannot feed our people, we cannot keep our people safe, we are still in darkness, we cannot communicate with one another by roads or railways. What we inherited, we have either stolen, broken or thrown away.
The nation is a wasteland littered with white elephant projects, conceived and abandoned but all paid for.
In Nigeria, governance is a criminal enterprise, not a call to service”.
Speaking on the current state of the country’s democratic process, Bishop Kukah took a swipe at the 16 years misrule of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP); and the clueless six years’ rule of the All Progressives Congress (APC), party of President Muhammadu Buhari, who turned his back on almost all the key promises he made to the people of Nigeria during his campaign, in 2014. He summed the PDP’s rule thus: “After 16 years of being ruled by one political party, the nation decided it was fed up with arrogance and blatant thieving and looting that had become the political culture. Its citizens made a radical and unprecedented turn”.
As for the Buhari administration, Bishop Kukah regretted that the President reneged on his key philosophy of integrity and character and turned his back on almost all the key promises he made. He noted that President Buhari adopted nepotism as a primary ideology and jettisoned the federal character of appointment in the country’s national public service, contrary to the country’s Constitution.
Noting that the country has been turned into a Babylon “where sponsored murderers have turned our land to a pool of blood”, Bishop Kukah declared: “ Our country now looks like a boiling pot that everyone wants to escape from. Nepotism has become the new ideology of this government. In following this ideology, it is estimated that the President has handed over 85% of the key positions to northern Muslims and has ensured that men of his faith hold tight to the reigns of power in the most critical areas of our national life; the National Assembly and the Security Agencies!”
While urging Nigerians not to lose hope and renew their faith in the Lord, Bishop Kukah admonished President Muhammadu Buhari to reset the clock before it is too late. He concluded: “I pray for you that God will touch your heart so that you embrace the ideals of those who came before you. This is not the Nigeria they dreamt of. This is not the Nigeria you went to war for.”
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