The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev Fr Mathew Hassan Kukah, has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari has divided Nigerians on the basis of ethnicity, religion, and region.
In his Easter message, the Bishop said “this carefully choreographed agenda” has made Nigerians vulnerable and ignited the most divisive form of identity consciousness of the people.
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He said the level of destruction under Buhari has never been witnessed in the history of the nation.
“The greatest challenge for Nigeria is not even the 2023 elections. It is the prospects for the reconciliation of our people. Here, the Buhari administration sadly has divided our people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, and region, in a way that we have never witnessed in our history.
“Years of friendships, cultural exchange, and collaboration built over time have now come under serious pressure from stereotyping. Notwithstanding these challenges, religious leaders must recover and deploy their moral authority and avoid falling victim to the schemes of politicians and their material enticements.”
He chided the President for what he said showing far greater commitment to integrating so-called repentant terrorists than getting our children back from kidnappers or keeping our universities open.
“It speaks volumes when the President and his military hierarchy choose to believe these young men who took up arms and for years waged war against their country, killed, maimed and wasted thousands of lives, destroyed entire communities and now, they are being housed, fed, clothed with public funds.”
“All this while their victims have been forced to make the various IDP camps their new homes! Where is the justice for the victims and the rest of the country they have destroyed?,” he asked.
Kukah noted that the challenge of fixing Nigeria was enormous and required joint effort because everything in the country was literally broken down.
He stated that, the greatest challenge now was how to begin a process of reconstructing our nation hoping that we could hang on and survive the 2023 elections.
According to Kukah, the real challenge before us now was to look beyond politics and face the challenge of forming character and faith in our country.
The Bishop, however, advised that, “the next President of Nigeria must be a man or woman with a heart, a sense of empathy and a soul on fire that can set limits to what human indignities visited on citizens that he or she can tolerate.
“We have no need for any further empty messianic rhetoric laced with deceitful and grandiose religiousity. We need someone who can fix our broken nation, rid our people of the looming dangers of hunger and destitution.
“Our Presidential aspirants must show evidence from their legacies and antecedents that they know the country well enough and its severe wounds. Whoever wants to govern us must illustrate that he or she understands what has turned our nation into a national hospital and show us plans for our discharge from this horror,” he counseled.
Kukah emphasised that, “we need to start thinking of a Nigeria beyond banditry and kidnapping and the endless circles of violence that have engulfed our communities and nation.
“We cannot continue to pretend that there are no religious undertones to the violence in the name of God that has given our religions a bad name.
“The way out is for the state to enforce the secular status of the Nigerian state so as to give citizens the necessary freedoms from the shackles of semi-feudal confusion over the status of religion and the state in a plural Democracy.
“We must be ready to embrace modernity and work out how to preserve our religions and cultures without turning religion into a tool for tyranny, exclusion, and oppression.”