Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari and Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah
If there is one Nigerian that has consistently spoken truth to the seat of power using the pulpit, his calling as a tool of fighting against social, political and economic injustice in the land, until now, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah stands tall, among his contemporaries.
The outspokenness and commitment of father Matthew Kukah to societal cause was very pronounced, especially during the hey days of military dictatorship in Nigeria and it attracted national and global recognition because he was following in the revolutionary footsteps of religious leaders like Martin Luther King Jnr., Bishop Desmond Tutu, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okojie, to mention but a few, who sacrificed the comfort of the pulpit, to plunge headlong into the battle to bring about societal changes.
However, since the defeat of former President Goodluck Jonathan at the polls on March 28, 2015 by incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, Father Matthew Hassan Kukah has engaged in activities and statements which is at variance with his calling as a man of God, fighter for truth and societal crusader for which he attained national and global prominence.
Father Matthew Kukah, with his conduct and statements these days, is behaving more like someone who benefitted from the rot of the immediate past era of mindless pillaging and plundering of our common patrimony, though, we don’t have the facts for now, but the days ahead, will surely reveal because whatever is hidden from man, God will surely reveal, as He has started with Dasuki “Armsgate” expose.
Father Matthew Hassan Kukah stunned the Nigerian people and perhaps, men and women of conscience all over the world when news in broke in the media on August 13th, 2015 of his admonition and blackmail of President Muhammadu Buhari, as spokesman of the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led national peace committee after a meeting of the committee with the speaker of the house of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to allow sleeping dog lie, by looking the other way, instead of examining the public accounts or to put it in proper perspective, in our own language, probe his immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan on how he managed Nigeria’s resources, because in Kukah’s thoughts, Goodluck Jonathan, having handed over power peacefully and not plunging the country into chaos, ala Laurent Gbagbo method, by refusing to do that which is right, after he lost the presidential elections.
To Father Kukah, by Goodluck Jonathan conceding defeat in an election in which he lost despite his administrations several subterranean futile attempts to prevent the successful conduct of the 2015 general elections, by democracy threatening acts such as postponement, formation of interim national government, alleged sponsoring of military takeover, etc, was too important to be glossed over, than the sitting government calling him to render account of stewardship.
If we may ask Father Kukah, what is the whole essence of Christianity and being born again, if it is not about reordering one’s life in order to have a positive account of stewardship? By what criteria, will man qualify for paradise according to the Bible, if not by examining how he is living his life and making amends appropriately while here on earth, before the day of judgement, when he shall give account? Or has Father Kukah not heard it said that, on judgement day, every man shall give account of his stewardship before his creator?
Even the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, as if taking a cue from the biblical tenet, recognizes the fact, that those who are elected or appointed, shall hold public office in trust for the people and are expected to render account of stewardship periodically in tandem with democratic ethos. This constitutional demand is what the President Buhari administration is doing with regards to the various probes of his predecessor’s administration and we cannot but encourage her, to go the whole hug and remain undaunted despite the distractions and diversionary tactics by enemies of the Nigerian people.
Trust Nigerians, they were very shocked, angry and vociferous in condemning such an unpatriotic comment emanating from a man they hold in high esteem and because of what they went through under the last administration of Goodluck Jonathan, politically, economically, socially, etc, they unequivocally threw their high regards for Father Kukah into the dust bin and verbally expressed their disappointment against him in unmistakable terms.
Again, as if set on the road to self-destruct from which he is irredeemably destined, Father Kukah has been reported in some national dailies, e.g., (Vanguard 13thDecember, 2015) as calling on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to dialogue with Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of pro Biafra movement and promoter of Radio Biafra and his accomplices because in his words, “Since every Nigerian has the right to pursue his or her goal in life, the ongoing agitation for Biafra is legitimate”.
Reading through the speech which Father Kukah delivered at a public function at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun state, one can see that the reverend gentleman’s admonition was nothing but cheap blackmail, inconsistent, illogical, political, hypocritical, mischief driven and far from reality.
For once, we need to admonish and educate Father Kukah, that the rights of a citizen as guaranteed under the constitution is not a license for him or her to trample on the rights of others. The right of Nnamdi Kanu and his fellow Biafrans to express their right to self-determination should not be abused to threaten the rights of other Nigerians, cause public chaos, incite and threaten national security as they have done.
The agitations and methods being employed by Nnamdi Kanu and his fellow collaborators for Biafra republic goes far beyond his legitimate rights, because by his actions of promoting, encouraging hate speech and sourcing for funds to procure weapons of violence, he is out rightly calling for war against the government and people of Nigeria and this is condemnable and unacceptable.
Also, we demand to know from Father Kukah, if he is a member, supporter, sympathizer or sponsor of pro Biafra movement protests, for him to know how it has been organized and allege that “The President of Nigeria or any governor, unless he pays, cannot bring the number of people that Kanu brought out”? The security agencies are hereby enjoined to take note and do the needful.
In calling on the Nigerian government to dialogue with Nnamdi Kanu, Father Matthew Hassan Kukah is inadvertently trying to blackmail the government to confer legitimacy on persons or groups who don’t have the status as representatives of the people and thus promote criminality, which makes it very imperative to call on the Church to subject Father Kukah to psychiatric examination in order to ascertain his true mental status.
Father Kukah, in case he doesn’t know or is feigning ignorance, needs to be tutored on the tenets of democracy which places premium on orderliness and strict observance to due process and the rule of law. The South East region of Nigeria from which the agitations for pro Biafra is emanating, has constitutionally recognized representatives at all levels of political power in the country and if there is any person or group of persons to be dialogued with on issues affecting the region, these representatives are the authentic ones since they are presently exercising the peoples mandate with their offices.
Thus, it is important to warn the Nigerian government not to succumb to the campaign of blackmail and calumny of persons like Father Kukah by contemplating dialogue with characters like Nnamdi Kanu and his conspirators who have violated the laws and must be made to face the music, because he has people and groups with same mindset from other regions of the country who are waiting in the wings to toe similar line of lawlessness, if the state capitulates.
Father Matthew Hassan Kukah goofed all through his lecture as he was mischievous and economical with the truth which is a violation of his oath as a cleric, but as he has taken up this new calling of turning truth and logic on its head as of recent, one can only wish him, Goodluck.