The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, on Tuesday hit the President, Major General Mohammed Buhari (retd.), hard.
The cleric assessed the Buhari regime and concluded the President had not only relegated the national interest to the background, he had also introduced nepotism to the military.
He said under Buhari, it was important for any Nigerian to be a northern Muslim before he could hold any strategic position.
Kukah stated this in his sermon at the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kaukau in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State before the burial of Michael Nnadi, a seminarian, who was killed by kidnappers.
He recalled Buhari’s promise during the 2015 electioneering. He stated that while campaigning in 2015, Buhari said if he was elected, the world would not have to worry about insecurity in Nigeria.
Kukah said five years after, the President had brought nepotism and clannishness into the military and the ancillary security agencies.
Buhari’s regime marked by divisive policies – Kukah
He stated that the Buhari’s regime had been marked by supremacist and divisive policies that pushed the country to the brink.
Quoting the President, Kukah said Buhari at Chatham House in London before 2015 elections, said, “I (Buhari) as a retired general and a former Head of State have always known about our soldiers. They are capable and they are well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty. If I am elected President, the world will have no reason to worry about Nigeria. Nigeria will return to its stabilizing role in West Africa.
“We will pay sufficient attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service. We will develop adequate and modern arms and ammunition. We will improve intelligence gathering and border patrols to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels. We will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development and promoting infrastructural development…we will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester. And I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front.”
Kukah, however, noted that the reverse was the case as the President continued to wallow in insensitivity and despotism.
Buhari has brought nepotism into military, says Kukah
The cleric stated, “No one in that hall or anywhere in Nigeria doubted the President who ran his campaign on a tank supposedly full of the fuel of integrity and moral probity. No one could have imagined that in winning the Presidency, General Buhari would bring nepotism and clannishness into the military and the ancillary security agencies, that his government would be marked by supremacist and divisive policies that would push our country to the brink.
Buhari has subordinated Nigeria’s interests to his religion’s interest – Kukah
“This President has displayed the greatest degree of insensitivity in managing our country’s rich diversity. He has subordinated the larger interests of the country to the hegemonic interests of his co-religionists and clansmen and women.
To hold strategic position, under Buhari, it’s important you’re northern Muslim – Kukah
“The impression created now is that to hold a key and strategic position in Nigeria today, it is more important to be a northern Muslim than a Nigerian.”
He said the nation was at a crossroads and its future hung precariously in the balance.
Kukah stated, “Our nation is like a ship stranded on the high seas, rudderless and with broken navigational aids. Today, our years of hypocrisy, duplicity, fabricated integrity, false piety, empty morality, fraud and Pharisaism have caught up with us. Nigeria is at a crossroads and its future hangs precariously in the balance. This is a wakeup call for us.”
Says Nigeria, not worth dying for
The cleric said with the current situation, Nigeria was not worth dying for. He stated, “Nigeria is at a point where we must call for a verdict. There must be something that a man, nay, a nation should be ready to die for.
“Sadly, or even tragically, today, Nigeria does not possess that set of goals or values for which any sane citizen is prepared to die for her. Perhaps, I should correct myself and say that the average office holder is ready to die to protect his office but not for the nation that has given him or her that office.
“The Yoruba say that if it takes you 25 years to practise madness, how much time would you have to put it into real life? We have practised madness for too long.”
Buhari has run most nepotistic and narcissistic government in Nigeria
He added that Buhari remained the only President in the history of the country that had run the “most nepotistic and narcissistic government in known history.”
Kukah said, “Today, in Nigeria, the noble religion of Islam has convulsed. It has become associated with some of worst fears among our people. Muslim scholars, traditional rulers and intellectuals have continued to cry out helplessly, asking for their religion and region to be freed from this chokehold. This is because, in all of this, neither Islam nor the North can identify any real benefits from these years that have been consumed by the locusts that this government has unleashed on our country.
“The Fulani, his innocent kinsmen, have become the subject of opprobrium, ridicule, defamation, calumny and obloquy. His North has become one large graveyard, a valley of dry bones, the nastiest and the most brutish part of our dear country.
“Why have the gods rejected this offering? Despite running the most nepotistic and narcissistic government in known history, there are no answers to the millions of young children on the streets in northern Nigeria, the north still has the worst indices of poverty, insecurity, stunting, squalor and destitution.”
Kukah said the persecution of Christians in the North was as old as the modern Nigerian state.
He stated that Nigerians had been told that insecurity in the country had nothing to do with religion. He asked, “Really? It is what happens when politicians use religion to extend the frontiers of their ambition and power.
“Are we to believe that simply because Boko Haram kills Muslims too, they wear no religious garb? Are we to deny the evidence before us, of kidnappers separating Muslims from infidels or compelling Christians to convert or die?
“If your son steals from me, do you solve the problem by saying he also steals from you? Again, the Sultan (of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar) got it right: let the northern political elite who have surrendered the space claim it back immediately.”
Nnadi laid to rest
Meanwhile, amidst tears, the slain 18-year-old Seminarian, Nnadi, was laid to rest on Tuesday on the school premises at 1:30pm along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway.
Nnadi was one of the four seminarians of the Good Shepherd Major Seminary School, Kaukau, abducted by bandits suspected to be kidnappers on the school premises.
Recall that the four students of the Good Shepherd Major Seminary were abducted when heavily armed gunmen invaded their school at Kaukau in Chikun Local Government Area of the state along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway on January 9, 2020.
Three weeks after the incident, the registrar of the school, Rev. Father Joel Usman, announced the release of the three of the students on Friday, January 31, 2020.
Those set free are Kanwai Pius, Stephen Amos John Paul, Umeanuka Peter. They are students of philosophy at the Seminary.
However, in less than 24 hours of the announcement of the release of the students, the registrar said the only missing student was found dead after all.
Kukah urged Christians to emulate the sternly quality of the late Michael Nnadi and Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl who had been held hostage by Boko Haram since 2018.
He said, “We know that Michael’s strength will inspire an army of young people to follow in his steps.
“We will march on with the cross of Christ entrusted to us, not in agony or pain, because our salvation lies in your cross.
“We have no vengeance or bitterness in our hearts. We have no drop of sorrow inside us. We are honoured that our son has been summoned to receive the crown of martyrdom at the infancy of his journey to the priesthood. Leah Sharibu is a martyr for the faith and so is Michael.”
The PUNCH made failed attempts on Tuesday to get the Presidency’s reaction to Father Kuka’s criticism of the Buhari regime.
Neither the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, nor the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, responded to enquiries by the newspaper.
As of 9.35pm last night, there was still no response from the Presidential spokespersons.