The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has advised Nigeria’s president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to eschew empty rhetoric and instead work to address the country’s problems.
Kukah further noted that the most pressing challenge confronting Nigeria is not infrastructure or the “usual cheap talk” about the rewards of democracy, but rather for the president-elect to embark on a psychological trip to make Nigerians feel whole again, by erecting a vast tent of possibility and optimism.
He also bemoaned the fact that social media has rapidly become a conveyor belt for the spread and dissemination of hatred.
Kukah, who stated this in his Easter message yesterday, urged the president-elect to build a large tent of opportunity and hope for everyone, to broaden the frontiers of our collective freedom, to break the chains of ethnicity and religious bigotry, and to assist Nigeria in recovering from the collective rape by those who imported the men of darkness who destroyed our country.
His message was also delivered to Nigeria’s Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on issues emerging from the 2023 general elections.
He, on the other hand, prayed to God to lead President Muhammadu Buhari during his retirement.
According to him, “As you (President Buhari) prepare to return to Daura or Kaduna, I do not know if you feel fulfilled, or that you met the tall dreams and goals you set for yourself such as ending banditry, defeating corruption, bringing back our girls, belonging to everybody and belonging to nobody, selling off our presidential fleet and traveling with us, etc.
“You may have followed my engagement with you through these messages over the years. You publicly referred to me during one of our visits as your number one public critic with a huge smile.
“I commend you for the fact that you have known that none of this was done out of malice, but that we want the best for our country. May God guide you in retirement while we all embark on the challenge of reclaiming the country we knew before you came.
“I am hopeful that you (president-elect) will appreciate that the most urgent task facing our nation is not infrastructure or the usual cheap talk about dividends of democracy. These are important but first, keep us alive because only the living can enjoy infrastructure. For now, the most urgent mission is to start a psychological journey of making Nigerians feel whole again, of creating a large tent of opportunity and hope for us all, of expanding the frontiers of our collective freedom, of cutting off the chains of ethnicity and religious bigotry, of helping us recover from the feeling of collective rape by those who imported the men of darkness that destroyed our country, of recovering our country and placing us on the path to our greatness, of exorcising the ghost of nepotism and religious bigotry.”
To the Supreme Court, he said: “We are saddened that your sacred temples have been invaded by the political class leaving the toxic fumes that now threaten your reputation as the last hope for all citizens.
“It is sad that your hard-earned reputation is undergoing very severe stress and pressure from those who want justice on their own terms. Nigerians are looking up to you to reclaim their trust in you as the interpreters of the spirit of our laws. The future of our country is in your hands.
“You have only your conscience and your God to answer to when you listen to the claims and counterclaims of Nigerian lawyers as you decide the future of our country. We pray that God gives you the wisdom to see what is right and the strength of character and conscience to stand by the truth.”
He noted that judges have no obligation to please anyone. “Our future depends on how you arrive at your much-awaited judgement,” he said.
To the youths, he said, “I salute your energy and courage. You fought a good fight across party lines. Your engagement and involvement substantially changed the contours of our politics.
“Things will never be the same again. However, the youth do not belong to any single party, no matter the temptation. You must look at the mistakes of the past and avoid them.
“Note that your actions today will shape tomorrow. Learn the rules of good sportsmanship, know rules, know your roles, know when to fight, what to fight for, and know when to walk away so you can embrace other fights. In all, most of you did well, but some of your colleagues lost their lives in the hands of members of your own groups.”
He advised the youths, though, to keep their goals alive while also understanding the outlines of the long path ahead.
He prayed to God to give Nigeria the spirit of forgiveness and to heal the nation of infirmities and blindness that cause us to forget we are brothers and sisters, children of one parent.