Image: The author
We just celebrated 55 years of independence without any at self-advertisement, but simply as a matter of fact, if there is anything I am proud of it is the fact that I am a Nigerian. And, it is my conviction then and now that Nigeria is the hope Africa.
My people say that one does not hide the dead from the grave digger. My love for Nigeria will not allow me close my eyes to the “katakata” (as the late Afro-beat king Fela Anikulapo Kuti said) and my pen cannot stop bemoaning the fact that my beloved country is endlessly grouping in darkness and decaying inexorably in a fearful downward trend despite all her seeming enormous human and material resources –Apologies to Olusegun Adeniyi.
One of our ancestors, John Mbiti observed that “Africans are notoriously religious”. True talk! But, I will quickly paraphrase it that Nigerians are extra notoriously religious yet ‘wuruwuru and magomago’ (apologies to Professor Humphrey Nwosu) is an article of faith. Churches that dot every nooks and crannies of our society are filled to capacity on Sundays, mosque and shrines are not also left out yet the concomitant increase in corruption and other social vices remain mind boggling. I am a catholic and believe in “one true God creator of heaven and earth”.
However, I cannot come to term with the pathetic fact that Nigerians “believe so much in God and also fanatically believe in corruption, tribalism, nepotism, and injustice. I, see this not only as hypocrisy but a perfect representation of the biblical analogy of worshipping two masters at a time. Anyway, whether this is a possibility will be left for theologians to tackle. In an article I wrote last December (Nigerians: preying and praying) I expressed my discomfort over the lack of faith-in-action in our religiosity “if our religiosity is not impotent, how possibly can one explain the lack of correlation between our display of goodliness on Sundays and Fridays and what happen is our day to day lives as Christians, Muslims and Nigerians”.
Praying to God while our leaders indulge in crass accumulation of primitive wealth is not an option it is totally not of question if Nigeria is to take her rightful place in the comity of nation. I think it is not God’s business that sweet moments have always been a chanced rarity in Nigeria. I have painfully watched for the past sixteen years of civilian rule as hope turned into hopelessness, joy into sadness, expectations dashed and dream buried yet we allow our political leaders to have their peace while are keep knocking at the door of God.
Nigerians have been submerged into heart breaking poverty not of their own making but because the powers- that-be have vowed to do everything but provide people oriented projects, programmes and policies. Nigerians, have trekked miles crossed rivers climbed mountain and endured sleepless night just to earn a dignified living standard yet it is still an elusive trophy.
Let me, state as forcefully as possible that ‘the Gods are not to blame” Like Ola Rotimi captured in his cerebral play. From Sokoto to Bayelsa, Borno to Lagos events points to the fact that God has other important priorities them to come in rescue of a Nigeria that her leaders have chosen out of freewill to espouse lootocracy as art and science of governance.
The corruption, injustice, tribalism, bad governance and poverty are solely a creation of the Nigerians elites and political class. God had settled Nigeria. It is left for Nigerians to settle themselves by doing the needful politically, socially and economically now that the APC is in charge.
Nigeria: The incorruptible Kukah
I had adversely reframed from joining of the arrays commentators after our beloved Bishops “state- of- the- master” caused a literary riot. My hesitation as well as caution was not out of fear but my dislike of false hood, illogicality and pedestrian rationalization.
Mathew Hassan Kukah, who don’t know him? Though he is serving the church in Sokoto his constituency spreads as for as the begging and end of Africa. For those who have come in contact with this son of Kaduna whose conviction is unparralled, resilience uncommon and character legendary, he needs no introduction. He is not only a catholic Bishop of repute he is also a major shareholder or “ Sarkin Bakar dole’’ as the Hausa will say in other domains Like controversy, social justice, conflict resolution and interfaith dialogue.
In comparative term Bishop Kukah is one Nigeria priest who actions and inactions project as a contemporary John the Baptist or Jeremiah. I admire his courage and ability to tell the truth no matter whose ox is gored or elephant lost. When the late goggle wearing Junta turned Nigeria into his fiefdom and a Hobbesian Empire, Kukah was among few Nigerians that dared the tyrant at the risk of their lives.
In those dark days, while cash and carry imams and pastors formed a conspiratorial alliance with the Junta and smiled to the bank or out of fear closed their eye to the impunity going on in the nation Kukah kept on shooting the elephant.
Truth which is the guiding principles and rule of engagement in Kukah’s constructive criticism and other patriotic acts over the years is no respecter of person, political party or government in power. He spoke the truth to khaki’s boys, the ruinous PDP regime and, I see no reason why he will stop telling the truth because of APC. Unlike most “brown envelope” addicted pastors that change colouration faster than a chameleon, His lordship has proven that he is a real priest.
Only unpatriotic citizens and undiscerning minds will drag his good reputation in mud for the priceless advice he gave PMB recently. Hear him, “through bringing treasury look to book is important, government must place premium on providing desired governance”. This Episcopal analysis captured the minds of civilized Nigerians.
PMB was not only elected to recover the loot of Kleptomaniac politicians under GEJ government, he is also saddled with the responsibility of providing good governance, employment, peace and security rule of law, sustainable economic and infrastructural development.
As a matter of fact PMB need sound mind and patriotic citizens like Bishop Kukah unlike sycophants and boot lickers who will make him believe he shares the grace of infallibility with the pope. If PMB and APC ignore Bishop Kukah because of Arewa social media warriors and sycophants, they do so at their own peril because leaders rise and fall in the back of sycophantic disciples.
Far back in my secondary school days, I read a play; the incorruptible judge “written by Olu Olagoke”. Bishop Kukah shared the same status with the judge in the play who refused to worship at the altar of bribery and corruption. His consistent inclination to speaking the truth like fearless Lamido Sanusi, outspoken Balarabe Musa, late social critic Gani Fawehinmi, highly critical Femi Falana and intelligently relentless professor Wole Soyinka is a rare quality Nigeria need at this critical stage of “changecracy”.
I am not trying to adorn His lordship with hypocritical garb of impeccability but to insult an elder and senior citizens of repute because he aired his view is “changemania” taken to a ridiculous dimension. Evidence shows that for more than two decades, successive government have made probe and loot recovery a special number but at the tail end, the more Nigerians look the less they see. So, what are the sins of Bishop Kukah? As an active citizen, he has made untold sacrifice and contributed immensely, for the growth of democracy and social justice in Nigeria. Going by his antecedents; his unblemished integrity, impeccable character and unequivocal advocacy for constitutional democracy is second to none. Most importantly, t May the voice of our Bishop grow ever stronger longer and clearer in the years that are ahead of us.