Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Sokoto Diocese in northern Nigeria has lamented that this year’s Christmas is again coming against a backdrop of so much pain, sorrow and uncertainty in Nigeria.The highly respected and outspoken Catholic Bishop, who hails from northern state of Kaduna, said in his Christmas message titled, ‘A nation in search of vindication’, on Friday, that Nigeria’s inability to feed itself was one of the most dangerous signs of state failure that can trigger violence.
“As our country drifts almost rudderless, we seem like people travelling without maps, without destination and with neither Captain nor Crew. Citizens have nowhere to turn to,” he said.
He recalled that after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed power, a delegation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference had audience with him. “In the course of our discussion, the President shared with us his frustration over the state of decay and rut that he had met. In frustration, I vividly recalled him saying that, from the decay and neglect, it seemed as if preceding governments had been doing nothing, but just eating and going to the toilet! Looking back, one might conclude that those were happy times because at least there was food to eat and people could go to the toilet. Now, a journey to the toilet is considered by the poor an extra luxury. Our country’s inability to feed itself is one of the most dangerous signs of state failure and a trigger to violence,” he said.
He blamed Buhari for deliberately sacrificing the dreams of those who voted for him to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony by reducing others in public life to second class status.
According to Kukah, Buhari has pursued this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion.
“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. There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war. 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. However, God does not sleep. We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his North,” he said.
The bishop blamed Buhari of nepotism, saying that “it is curious that President Buhari’s partisanship and commitment to reinforcing the foundations of northern hegemony have had the opposite consequences”.
“For a long time, beyond the pall of politics, very prominent northerners with a conscience have raised the red flag, pointing out the consequences of President Buhari’s nepotism on national cohesion and trust. With time, as hunger, poverty, insecurity engulfed the north, the President’s own supporters began to despair and lament about the state of their collective degradation,” he added.