Nigeria’s greatest challenge is safety not infrastructure – Bishop Kukah

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah


Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, says one of the greatest challenges being faced by Nigerians at the moment is beyond any infrastructural development, rather a concerted effort to give the citizens protection to be alive first.

Bishop Kukah, who spoke in his 2023 Easter homily, at the Holy Family Cathedral, Sokoto, advised incoming President of Nigeria to start a psychological journey of healing and bringing the adversely divided country together.

In his message titled, Nigeria: Reconciliation Postponed? Bishop Kukah after the 2023 general elections, said INEC’s garment of legitimacy and credibility vaporized following the inability to keep to their promises.

Categorizing the message into different fronts beginning with the incoming president, Bishop Kukah said, “I am hopeful that you will appreciate that the most urgent task facing our nation is not infrastructure or the usual cheap talk about dividends of Democracy”.

While admitting that infrastructures are equally important, Bishop Kukah however said, “but first, keep us alive because only the living can enjoy infrastructure. For now, the most urgent mission is to start a psychological journey of making Nigerians feel whole again, of creating a large tent of opportunity and hope for us all, of expanding the frontiers of our collective freedom, of cutting off the chains of ethnicity and religious bigotry, of helping us recover from the feeling of collective rape by those who imported the men of darkness that destroyed our country, of recovering our country and placing us on the path to our greatness, of exorcising the ghost of nepotism and religious bigotry””.

Talking on the 2023 general elections and the future of Nigeria, Bishop Kukah said more needed to be done to restore confidence in the electoral umpire.

According to him, despite the assurances of a free, fair, credible and acceptable polls, the reversed seems to be the case as glitches about election materials arriving late, voter suppression: ballot box snatching, intimidation, physical violence against ordinary citizens, with reported incidents of injuries and outright killings as well as the utter chaos around the uploading and transfer of the results made INEC’s garment of legitimacy and credibility to be caught up in a barbed wire of conspiracy theories.

Bishop Kukah, who noted that the outcome of the 2023 general election like others produced hatred based on different fault lines as demonstrated through social media and other conventional media platforms, wondered if hatred has gradually become part of Nigerians political inheritance.

Continuing, Bishop Kukah noted that the, “misuse of power by the political class creates the conditions for violence. It is therefore a mistake to think that violence occurs because Nigerians do not love themselves due to differences of ethnicity or religion.

“No, violence occurs because the politicians do not love and respect us. We need more respect. Our politics is therefore a clash between right and wrong, justice and injustice, love and pain. Violence is often the last gasp of victims who can’t breathe””.

Comparing Nigeria’s present situation to that of the apostles who were waiting outside the tomb for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Bishop Kukah submitted that, “Nigerians are so collectively frustrated that it is almost impossible to convince them that they can find justice. Everywhere you turn today, Nigerians look forlorn, disconsolate, lugubrious, and despondent. Our swagger is gone.

“‘We look like men and women returning from a funeral, murmuring discontentment in hushed tones. It is therefore not surprising that even the victors are blowing a muted trumpet.

“Unpleasant as this may sound, this blood that they have shed could be seen as blood of the birth of a new Nigeria. It can become the blood of our new birth, our redemption.

“However, we cannot accept that violence and bloodshed are the normal route to power. Because like the blood of Abel, the blood of those who have been murdered continues to cry out to heaven seeking for justice ( Gen. 4:10).

“Though we are tempted with the drudgery of fatigue and despondency, unlike the apostles in the garden of Gethsemane, we should be ready to wait in patience for one hour or more (Mt. 26:40). Our dream is merely in suspense, a punctuation mark in the book of our unfinished greatness.

“Let us see this as a detour, a diversion. We still have our roadmap in our hands. It is time to return to the highway so as to choose a road less travelled, a road of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and hope. The ugliness of yesterday must not define us. We must finish this journey together. We shall neither relent, slow down nor give up.

“The resurrection is a promise that despite the seeming hopelessness, God’s plans cannot be frustrated. Those who position themselves at night with stones to guard the entrance of the tomb will find themselves confounded at dawn by an empty tomb. A new Nigeria will emerge from the tombs of our seeming helplessness”


The OPINION / COLUMN is authored by independent contributors to the National Accord Newspaper. While contributors adhere to our editorial guidelines, they are not employed by the National Accord Newspaper. The perspectives and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of the National Accord Newspaper or its staff.

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