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Presidency tackles Bishop Kukah over remark on Buhari’s govt

The Presidency has hit back at the Bishop of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Mathew Hassan-Kukah, who in his Christmas message berated the Buhari administration and said the government is leaving Nigerians more vulnerable than they were in 2015, when they came into office.

The cleric, who is one of the most vocal critics of the Buhari government, said the current administration was characterized by nepotism. He however commended the efforts of the government in infrastructural development and efforts to restore sanity to the electoral system.

In a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the presidency accused Kukah of suffering from amnesia.

Adesina described the cleric’s claim as “completely unsubstantiated and reflective of his hatred for the All Progressives Congress (APC).”

“Let’s look at the allegations. ‘You are leaving us far more vulnerable than when you came.’ How? In what way? Where was the Bishop in 2015, when the polity had been completely shot to ribbons, and you couldn’t exactly say this was where Nigeria stood? Was there even a Nigeria, with insurgents running riot across the length and breadth of the country, bombing the land to kingdom come?

The Bishop forgets or is too filled with amnesia to remember. If Nigeria was vulnerable to death, destruction, and destabilization, it was the situation before Buhari came, more than now. To a great deal, he has stabilized the land, crushed vermin, and is cleaning the polity. The job is not fully done but is being done daily.

Bishop Kukah has been accused many times of being a political priest, with a propensity for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and great antipathy for the APC. That was possibly the prism through which he saw things, and, therefore, his erroneous conclusion of ‘more vulnerable.’

Again, he alleged that corruption was not fought, and had become a leviathan. Yes, when corruption creeps under the robes and cassocks of even priests, they would never see it being fought. Just a fortnight ago, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was a guest at the weekly State House press briefing.

Facts he unveiled were enough to show the yeoman’s work being done. But people like Bishop Kukah listen only to themselves and have no time for an alternative reality. So, when the monster is being assailed and badly wounded, all they still see is the leviathan.

And by the way, if corruption is rife in a country, is it necessarily just the fault of a President? No. It is the fault of everyone, including the people, the institutions, the family, religious leaders, political leaders, and everyone. If the Bishop was succeeding in his duty as a priest, then his adherents should be less prone to corruption, and the leviathan should have been slain or badly wounded. So, if corruption is still the monster the Bishop claims it is, then he, too, is failing as a moral authority and guide.

Another allegation. Nepotism, which the priest did not justify. But he spoke of Federal Character, and I challenge him to bring instances of the breach. The mistake he makes is to think that all appointments in the land are subject to that constitutional provision. No.

There are positions that must be filled according to the principles of balance and equity, and those that are subject to presidential prerogatives. President Buhari is a scrupulous one when it comes to obeying the Constitution, and the allegation of nepotism is always rife in the country. It has trailed every President, and it will most likely always be there. But we expect our priests to be more informed, particularly the highly educated ones. However, some people never see good in other segments of the country, particularly the much-vilified Fulani. Pity.

Bishop Kukah seeks to posture as a friend of the President whenever he visits the Presidential Villa. And that justifies his jocular future visits to Daura, to collect ‘tithes,’ after the President retires. Well, President Buhari has no enemies. As I wrote recently, he has no malicious bone in his body, and will always cheerfully welcome Kukah.”

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