Despite his many lofty promises, President Muhammadu Buhari is leaving Nigerians far more vulnerable than when he took office on May 29, 2015, according to Bishop Matthew Hassan-Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto.
The ferocious priest said that he had no doubt that the President’s health has improved over the past seven and a half years, but he desired that millions more Nigerians could share in Buhari’s improved health by having access to superior healthcare systems in the nation.
This was said by the elderly preacher in his 2022 Christmas Message, “Nigeria: Let Us Turn A New Page,” which was issued by Rev. Fr. Christopher Omotosho, Director of Social Communications for the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto.
Kukah said, “Mr. President Sir, a merry Christmas to you and your entire family. I speak for myself and Nigerians when I say, we thank God that He mercifully restored you to good health. We know that you are healthier now than you were before. We can see it in the spring in your steps, the thousands of miles you have continued to cover as you travel abroad. May God give you more years of good health.
“However, I also wish that millions of our citizens had a chance to enjoy just a fraction of your own health by a measurable improvement in the quality of healthcare in our country.
“It is sad that despite your lofty promises, you are leaving us far more vulnerable than when you came, that the corruption we thought would be fought has become a leviathan and sadly, a consequence of a government marked by nepotism.
“In my Christmas Message last year, I pointed out the fact that you had breached the Constitution by your failure to honour and adhere to the federal character provisions of our Constitution. The evidence is all before us all.”
He, however, commended the President for the efforts made in the area of infrastructure and in seeking to end malfeasance in the electoral processes. “Am I to believe that you knew and could do nothing about the Muslim-Muslim ticket within your Party?” Kukah quickly interjected. “Still, we pray for a free, fair and credible election.”
A New Strategy
Kukah lamented abducted “children still in the forests, in the hands of evil men” and urged Nigerians to be “vigilant” and called for a change of strategy on the part of the masses to dethrone arrogant men and women in power who are determined to make Nigeria a jungle.
“This is the last Christmas for this present government’s administration. Let us all do our duty as we have a chance to choose new leaders. Do not be cynical. God is not done with us. Choose leaders who, in your view will love us, will care for us, will cry with us, will laugh with us. Look ahead and do not look back,” he said.
“Although the responses to my messages suggest that, generally, Nigerians listen to our voices in the wilderness. However, the deliberate culture of pauperization and destitution of our people continues. So, we need a change of strategy so that we can turn a new page. We need a new strategy to confront those who sit on the throne of power in arrogance and are determined to reduce our country to a jungle.
“We need a new strategy that separates men and women of honour from those who have chosen dishonour. We need a new strategy that provides a clearer moral guide for ordinary citizens who, based on the moral strength of culture and religion, are seeking to build a good society, even if with straws. We need to stand up and stand firm. We need new mechanisms for saying no to the violence of governance.”
‘A Dubious Jihadist Culture’
Kukah said it is sad that despite his many alerts, a dubious jihadist culture has held down Nigeria and the Federal Government now simply looks away.
“Before our eyes, the capital letters that spelt Nigeria are falling to the pressures and irruptive forces of primal ethno-religious nationalisms. Before our eyes, a dubious jihadist culture has held our nation to ransom with the government simply looking away.”
‘Glory Has Departed’
He said though the President’s men have accused him of attacking their principal or speaking for the Christians in the north, “none of my critics has quarreled with my facts”.
“If they accuse me of stating inconvenient facts/truths, then, they can at least give the facts their interpretations. For example, who will quarrel with the fact that our glory has departed as a country? Where is our voice respected today even within the African continent which looks up to us for leadership?
“Is being the poverty capital of the world and one of the most violent states in the world an achievement? And our suffocating internal and international debts? And you do not think our glory has departed?” he quizzed.
‘Nepotism Is A Cancer’
To the political class, Kukah said every Nigerian knows that promises before elections are sweet, but actions after elections are often bitter.
“I plead with you to co-operate and collaborate with institutions which are tasked with the responsibilities for these elections…Do not further fan the embers of hatred and divisions. Seek to create a vision that can unite our country,” he advised, even as he cautioned them to manage Nigeria’s diversity for power sharing, nepotism is a cancer which has consumed the country in the last few years.
“We have paid the price of nepotism entrusting power into the hands of mediocres who operate as a cult and see power purely as an extension of the family heirloom.”
Kukah said Nigeria has become a tale of two cities with wars between the rich and the poor and “fixing our country and getting it back requires courage, honesty, truth, humility, trust and firm commitment”.
He appealed to all Nigerians who have been given custody of public trust and commonwealth to rise up to the duties for which they have been so handsomely rewarded.