Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has explained that his criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is not a personal attack on his person.
Kukah has incurred the wrath of the Presidency over his Easter sermon lambasting the Buhari administration for allegedly being in hibernation mode while the country is broken and divided.
The cleric had argued that the only thing thriving in the country is corruption while warning that Nigeria must be saved from descending into anarchy.
Kukah’s commentary drew virulent reaction from Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, who accused the cleric of always spreading hate against his principal.
Shehu had observed, “For a man who has been spreading hate for decades, nothing new in the homily, except for the fact that while millions of Christians were remembering the Lord’s crucifixion on Friday, His descent on Saturday, His resurrection on Sunday, and subsequent appearance to his disciples, Bishop Matthew Kukah was playing politics.
“From his pulpit, he devoted his Easter message not to Christ’s death and rebirth so Man might be saved – but to damning the government in the most un-Christian terms.”
But in his reaction Shehu’s claim on an Arise TV programme on Tuesday, the Catholic bishop stressed that Buhari had done “a bad job” as president, adding that “even his wife has also disagreed with his policies.”
Kukah challenged Buhari’s spokesperson to identify “one thing about the message that I preached that you disagree with and let’s discuss.
“All those saying I attacked the president, I have never attacked his person. All I have spoken about is his inability to manage diversities effectively and efficiently. I have studied diversity as a subject, and I know what I am talking about.
“Those who think these things are personal would see that I have never talked about his person or character; I believe he is a gentleman, but as far as being the president is concerned, he has done a bad job. I’m not the first person to disagree with Buhari’s policies, even his wife has done so.
The cleric added, “So, those guys should not sit in their air-conditioned office drinking coffee and think everything is honky-donkey. Let them disagree with the text of my message.
“Let me set the record straight, I delivered my sermon to my congregation and the message. The bearers of the message are directed primarily to the good people of Sokoto diocese.
“The president knows that I have great respect for him, and he is a gentleman, but he has done a terribly bad job as the president of Nigeria.
“There is nothing I am saying that is new, all the pastors who preached yesterday during the Easter service said the same thing. Tell me one thing about the message that I preached that you disagree with, and let’s discuss.”