Kukah Lambasts Buhari At Michael Nnadi’s Burial: ‘You Brought Clannishness Into Military’
Bishop Mathew Kukah of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, on Tuesday, lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly bringing nepotism and clannishness into Nigeria’s military and other security agencies after campaigning “on a tank supposedly full of the fuel of integrity and moral probity” in the 2015 presidential election.
Kukah accused Buhari of dancing to the tune of his “co-religionists and clansmen and women” at the detriment of the larger interests of Nigerians who voted him into office.
The cleric said these in the homily he delivered at the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kaukau, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State before the burial of Michael Nnadi, a seminarian that was recently killed by kidnappers in the state.
18-year-old Nnadi was killed not long after he alongside three other seminarians were abducted at the seminary located at Kakau village along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
Kukah lamented how the nation’s insecurity had allegedly worsened under Buhari, saying: “Nigeria needs to pause for a moment and think. No one more than the President of Nigeria, Major General Muhammadu Buhari who was voted for in 2015 on the grounds of his own promises to rout Boko Haram and place the country on an even keel.
“In an address at the prestigious Policy Think Tank, Chatham House in London, just before the elections, Major General Buhari told his audience: “I 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 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.”
“There is no need to make any further comments on this claim. 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.
“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. 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.
“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 grave yard, 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. His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, and the Emir of Kano are the two most powerful traditional and moral leaders in Islam today. None of them is happy and they have said so loud and clear. The Sultan recently lamented the tragic consequences of power being in the wrong hands. Every day, Muslim clerics are posting tales of lamentation about their fate. Now, the Northern Elders, who in 2015 believed that General Buhari had come to redeem the north have now turned against the President.
“We are being told that this situation has nothing to do with Religion. 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 got it right: let the northern political elite who have surrendered the space claim it back immediately.
“The persecution of Christians in northern Nigeria is as old as the modern Nigerian state. Their experiences and fears of northern, Islamic domination are documented in the Willinks Commission Report way back in 1956. It was also the reason why they formed a political platform called, the Non-Muslim League. All of us must confess in all honesty that in the years that have passed, the northern Muslim elite has not developed a moral basis for adequate power sharing with their Christian co- regionalists. We deny at our own expense.
“By denying Christians lands for places of worship across most of the northern states, ignoring the systematic destruction of churches all these years, denying Christians adequate recruitment, representation and promotions in the State civil services, denying their indigenous children scholarships, marrying Christian women or converting Christians while threatening Muslim women and prospective converts with death, they make building a harmonious community impossible.
“Nation building cannot happen without adequate representation and a deliberate effort at creating for all members a sense, a feeling, of belonging, and freedom to make their contributions. This is the window that the killers of Boko Haram have exploited and turned into a door to death. It is why killing Christians and destroying Christianity is seen as one of their key missions.
He added that, “On our part, I believe that this is a defining moment for Christians and Christianity in Nigeria. We Christians must be honest enough to accept that we have taken so much for granted and made so much sacrifice in the name of nation building. We accepted President Buhari when he came with General Idiagbon, two Muslims and two northerners. We accepted Abiola and Kingibe, thinking that we had crossed the path of religion, but we were grossly mistaken. When Jonathan became President, and Senator David Mark remained Senate President while Patricia Ette was chosen by the South West became a Speaker. The Muslim members revolted and forced her resignation with lies and forgery. The same House would shamelessly say that they had no records of her indictment.
“Today, we are living with a Senate whose entire leadership is in the hands of Muslims. Christians have continued to support them. For how long shall we continue on this road with different ambitions? Christians must rise up and defend their faith with all the moral weapons they have. We must become more robust in presenting the values of Christianity especially our message of love and non-violence to a violent society. Among the wolves of the world, we must become more politically alert, wise as the serpent and humble as the dove (Mt. 10:16).
“Every Religion has the seeds of its own redemption or destruction. It is a choice between Caesar and God. We cannot borrow the crown of Caesar without consequences. The boundaries between faith and reason are delicate but they are fundamental to how a society builds a moral code. Faith without reason breeds the fanatic, the demagogue who genuinely but wrongly believes that he has heard the voice of a god ordering him to kill another. Reason without faith produces the ideologues who will also kill because the ideology of the state orders him to do so. Societies can only survive when a Constitutional basis has been established to create a balance between both extremes and to place our common humanity at the centre of every pursuit.”