In an interview on Arise Television, Rev. Father Mathew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, expressed his surprise at the comments made by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministers regarding him and Buhari’s government.
Kukah clarified that he held no personal grievances against the former president.
He said, “There was nothing I said about President Buhari that was personal, that was disrespectful, I just felt he was doing things, that is, especially in the area of managing our diversity and look; I’m talking to ministers now who served in that government; I cannot call names.
“I am shocked to hear the kind of things people are saying about those who served in that government; that is for another day.”
He pointed out that his main concern with Buhari was the President’s incapacity to effectively handle Nigeria’s diversity.
Kukah emerged as one of the most outspoken opponents of former President Buhari and his government.
The bishop alleged that the former president had heightened Nigeria’s susceptibility and caused divisions within the nation.
He said, “Buhari has served his term. He also knew, and I respect him for that, that there was nothing I was saying that was personal. I imagined poor Adesina (Femi) and his team had a job to do and they needed to do that job even though there was nothing to say.
“I will respect and I hope that Pastor Adesina knows that there is a Foursquare Gospel Church in Daura, I believe that the President of Foursquare Gospel Church should send him there as a Pastor so that he is quite close to his Godfather.
“But having said that, I mean President Buhari had finished his term and he is gone and there is very little else to be said for and against. But everybody knew we had a job to do.”
Following six months of President Bola Tinubu’s term, Kukah acknowledged that it might be premature to assess a sitting president, but the public had anticipated a swift start given his over 20 years of preparation for the role.
Nonetheless, Kukah expressed his belief that the system for choosing leaders is overly restrictive.
“I am not making excuse for anybody, I am just saying the very fact that you had to rely on governors to give you names of Ministers and you rely on external agencies to be able to do things that ordinarily you who is composing the team needs to be able to do,” he said.
“I mean a court decides who is going to come in at what time depending on the excuse that the person has. So, I totally agree with you that by now you would have thought, ‘okay, this is what we want to do, this is who can do it and this is how it needs to be done.”
However, he said that the best solution is to keep holding those in power accountable, saying that they have no excuse not to perform.
The cleric said, “If you stand up to be elected and you are elected, you must be prepared to face the consequences of that election, that means we must constantly hold your feet to the fire.
“So that’s why I am saying institutions and instruments of engagement must be in full glass. But also we must help to clarify public policies by articulating the things that need to be done and where the country needs to be heading.”