Speaking truth to power or pointing out significant issues which a government fails to address in a country is being erroneously regarded as negative criticism by apologists of government in Nigeria.
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Northwest Nigeria, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah said it is sycophants in government that twist whatever he says as “attacking the government”.
He said he has nothing personal against those in power whose inactions he has always pointed out. In the case of the current administration, Bishop Kukah said two things stick out as sore thumb which he openly urges the government to work on – the daily loss of lives to insecurity and the lopsided appointments in favour of a particular section of the country.
He stated that the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad had severally voiced out such concerns on the daily occurrence of the killing of Nigerians by terrorists and bandits in nearly every part of the country in a terser language than his.
Most Reverend Kukah was speaking during his end-of-year interface with journalists in Sokoto, a forum he midwifed since he become the Bishop of Sokoto. The forum provides the opportunity for journalists to ask questions on a wide range of issues.
Bishop Kukah insisted that the so-called insecurity as a war between “Christians and Muslims” or vice versa in Nigeria is erroneously touted by opportunists to provide them cannon fodder for evil. He jocularly remarked that “when they share what they looted from the common till the issue of religion does not come to play”.
Answering a question on youth participation in governance, Bishop Kukah said everywhere in the world, the youth desirous of political power have to get involved in politics and naturally work their way upward as there is never a deliberate policy of reserving political office for youth because they are youth.
During the interaction, Bishop Kukah commended Nigerian journalists for their resilience in executing their professional duties to sustain Nigeria’s democracy. He thanked them for their cooperation and constantly answered the call to serve the nation even during trying times.
The Chairman of CAMPAN, Sokoto Diocese, Matthews Otalike thanked the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto for his media friendliness and providing the opportunity to interface with journalists. He also thanked the journalists working in Sokoto state for their cooperation and particularly for giving the 2018 Catholic Bishops Conference hosted by Sokoto Diocese, the widest coverage ever by the secular media in the country.