By Ado Hassan, Sokoto, Northwest Nigeria
Sokoto Catholic Diocese Bishop, Matthew Hassan Kukah has attributed Nigeria’s multi dimensional political, economic and socio cultural challenges to lack of national cohesion and refusal to take collective responsibility in unity.
He wondered if it was Nigeria’s fate as a nation to be where it is today, adding ” we feel we have gotten out of the pits only to find out that we are being drawn back”, he said.
According to the Cleric ” the country may have missed the major link of how to be united.”
Kukah who spoke on a wide range of national issues at an annual end of year interactive session with select journalists in Sokoto, Sunday, said many Nigerians would by now not be subjected to addressing issues relating to anxiety especially on elections.
” When the last general elections were held, everything went beyond our expectations despite our anxieties”, he recalled.
He further explained that anxieties over elections were due largely to the growing lack of confidence in the country, believing and trusting our politicians in their ability to unite us and lead the way to where we ought to be were responsible for the many odds.
Not withstanding, Kukah dispassionately observed that the political class had over time since return to democracy not done as much as expected by Nigerians.
” May be is because of we are dealing with a political system(presidential given to us and that which we collectively choose to run. And if we have not been faithful with the presidential system, there is apparently nothing to suggest that we will be faithful with the parliamentary system.nothing to suggest
” And whenever anything goes wrong we blame it on bad politicians in the course of outsourcing our collective responsibilities as citizens. But they did not come from a different planet. They are part of us as blood brothers, fathers and relations”, he explained.
He said that the general expectations of Nigerians in having a messiah, would remain a mirage, adding that” I feel a bit pity for the Nigerian politician.
” The truth of the matter is that, our citizens beleive in having messiahs who will come and resolve our problems. No nobody would have expected what we thought about what the government will do.Whether it is President Buhari today or not and whether he is able to fulfil his promises or not, is not the issue. Even beyond Buhari, if we remain in this era of expection of a messiah, every messiah will always be a disappointment.”
He further noted that Nigeria’s challenges were far beyond the powers of an ordinary human being to give us the things we expect.
The Bishop also said he had always told and reminded both Christians and Muslim faithful that ” Jesus christ and Prophet Muhammad”never had an easy time.
“Our prayer and hope are that our fears and anxieties are not well founded. Even as our anxieties about our elections are propelled by our fears “, he pointed out.
On the outright perceived mistrust between the two major religious divides, Kukah who blamed Nigeria for its inability to figure out the real political class that could unite the country, expressed concerns over how religion was unnecessarily accorded undue prominence with little regards for common citizenship especially when it relates to appointments, rights and privileges.
” I must be so emphatic that the political class remains guilty of that too trying to manage power. The president or vice must be christian or muslim.
” Managing differences is a science and unless our politicians understand the value, we would not appreciate ourselves as a united bloc.
” We are unconsciously and deliberately talking about Christians and Muslims on basic sensitive national issues. It is quite unfortunate.
” It is absolutely out of place to link our identities on religious or ethnic grounds “, he said.
He further noted that the option of dialogue was a sign of nation’s weakness than strength.
” Politicians have worsened the situation by exploiting all circumstances to their advantage”, he said.