As always, bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah has analyzed Nigeria’s current situation prophetically, intellectually and socially, and has presented the facts as they are based on the evidence before us. He has continually addressed those who wield the reins of power to rule with a bit of humanity and work for the collective good of Nigeria. His record of positive criticisms and suggesting ways to overcome Nigeria’s problems spans from the time of the military until now. History will vindicate him for confronting the evil of injustice in Nigeria even at the expense of his own safety. Speaking truth to power in Nigeria, no doubt, demands an uncommon courage, because it is dangerous to do so, and those in power often consider themselves to be beyond the arms of the law.
Bishop Kukah’s Christmas message titled, “A Nation in Search of Vindication,” accurately and without bias describes the current state of Nigeria: A journey without a feasible destination in sight. In the words of the bishop: “This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness.” The evidence before us suggests this same conclusion, for beside hunger and poverty, we live in one of the most unsecured countries in the world, as notable northern leaders, including the Sultan of Sokoto, have attested. When will all these end, given the fact that this government placed eradicating corruption and insecurity on the front burner of its campaign promises? When asked government’s timeframe for ending Nigeria’s security challenges about a week ago, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, seems to have no clue. Against logic and international best practices, he simply told Nigerians to be patient with government until whenever that happens. His view that Nigerians, who die daily in the hands of armed herdsmen and terrorists, do the government no favour by being patient is perhaps the most uncritical and insensitive statement to ever come from a government spokesperson. Again, no explanation is offered, no realistic hope is given; patient must the people be. Mr. Adesina’s statement seems to reinforce the suspicion that this government is aloft from the challenges of Nigerians.
The reactions generated by Bishop Kukah’s Christmas message are to be expected. Those in government and their beneficiaries seem to have deliberately ignored the evidence presented by the bishop: Does the make up of Buhari’s cabinet and Service Chiefs not suggest a sinister agenda to promote a northern Muslim hegemony? Is the northern Nigeria not one of the most dangerous places to live in the world? Have security challenges not exacerbated since Buhari came into power? If all was well, why did the Northern Elders Forum call on Buhari to resign on the ground of poor performance earlier this month?
Sadly, those who criticized bishop Kukah’s message turn a blind eye to all this evidence and resorted to cheap appeal to emotion, misrepresenting the facts laid out and shameless name calling. None of the points raised by the bishop was attacked by any critical counter evidence. Among these critics, the Ministry of Information, Lai Mohammed, claimed it is graceless for bishop Kukah to fan the embers of hatred against Buhari’s government on Christmas Day. By accusing the bishop of suggesting a violent overthrow of Buhari’s government, Lai Mohammed not only ignored the evidence presented by bishop Kukah, but stooped so low to deliberately misrepresent bishop Kukah’s argument and falling into the fallacy of a straw man. Similarly, Professor Ishaq Akintola from the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), left the evidence provided by bishop Kukah and resorted to the old tactic of name calling, accusing him of hypocrisy. In a saner clime, arguments are attacked not personality. Our Professor preferred the latter and cheaper way, ignoring the facts of the argument. It is expected that a Professor that worth his salt would present counter evidence to disprove bishop Kukah, not trade insults.
Overall, the might of bishop Kukah’s evidence about the seeming sinister plot by this government to promote a northern Muslim agenda and its unfortunate backlashing consequences, are open for all to see. Clearly, to ignore these facts without providing strong evidence to support the contrary amounts to turning a blind eye to the evidence before us.