The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, on Sunday, criticized President Muhammadu Buhari over his failure to fulfill his 2015 electoral promises.
In his Christmas message at St. Mary Catholic Church, Sokoto, titled, ‘Let us turn a new leaf, Kukah said Buhari would be leaving Nigerians “far more vulnerable” than he met them when he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
He added that despite the many lofty promises made seven and half years ago, the President has failed to fulfill any of them.
Below are some of the major highlights of Kukah’s Christmas message.
Medical Tourism Abroad
Kukah said Buhari would be leaving office in good health after having access to better healthcare services abroad.
He said: “Mr. President Sir, a merry Christmas to you and your entire family. I speak for myself and Nigerians when I say, we thank God that He mercifully restored you to good health.
“We know that you are healthier now than you were before. We can see it in the spring in your steps, the thousands of miles you have continued to cover as you travel abroad. May God give you more years of good health.
“However, I also wish that millions of our citizens had a chance to enjoy just a fraction of their own health by a measurable improvement in the quality of health care in our country.”
Inability To Fight Corruption & Nepotism
Kukah slammed President Buhari over alleged nepotism in his choice of appointees whom he described as mediocres.
The Christian leader added that the nation has paid the price for entrusting power to characters who treated it as their family property.
He said: “It is sad that despite your lofty promises, you are leaving us far more vulnerable than when you came, that the corruption we thought would be fought has become a leviathan and sadly, a consequence of a government marked by nepotism.
“Nepotism is cancer that has consumed us in the last few years. We have paid the price of nepotism entrusting power into the hands of the mediocre who operate as a cult and see power purely as an extension of the family heirloom.
“In my Christmas Message last year, I pointed out the fact that you had breached the Constitution by your failure to honour and adhere to the federal character provisions of our Constitution. The evidence is all before us all.”
Abduction of School Children
Kukah said the Buhari government has failed to rescue scores of school children held captive in the forests by insurgents and bandits, stating that Nigeria is bearing scars and deep sorrow.
He said: “Our children are still in the forests, in the hands of evil men” and urged Nigerians to be “vigilant” and called for a change of strategy on the part of the masses to dethrone arrogant men and women in power who are determined to make Nigeria a jungle.”
Choosing New Leaders
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Kukah urged the citizens to dethrone arrogant men and women in power who are determined to make Nigeria a jungle.
He also challenged the citizens to rally together to destroy those who have institutionalized a caste system in the country because every life matters.
He said: “This is the last Christmas for this present government’s administration. Let us all do our duty as we have a chance to choose new leaders. Do not be cynical. God is not done with us. Choose leaders who, in your view will love us, will care for us, will cry with us, will laugh with us. Look ahead and do not look back,” he said.
“Although the responses to my messages suggest that, generally, Nigerians listen to our voices in the wilderness. However, the deliberate culture of pauperization and destitution of our people continues. So, we need a change of strategy so that we can turn a new page. We need a new strategy to confront those who sit on the throne of power in arrogance and are determined to reduce our country to a jungle.
“We need a new strategy that separates men and women of honour from those who have chosen dishonour. We need a new strategy that provides a clearer moral guide for ordinary citizens who, based on the moral strength of culture and religion, are seeking to build a good society, even if with straws. We need to stand up and stand firm. We need new mechanisms for saying no to the violence of governance.”
Alleged Jihadist Culture
Kukah said it is sad that despite his many alerts, a dubious jihadist culture has held down Nigeria and the Federal Government now simply looks away.
He said: “Before our eyes, the capital letters that spelt Nigeria are falling to the pressures and irruptive forces of primal ethno-religious nationalisms. Before our eyes, a dubious jihadist culture has held our nation to ransom with the government simply looking away.”
Kukah also responded to criticisms from the Presidency over his comments on the poverty in the country, security crisis, mounting debts, and Nigeria’s declining global influence,
The fiery cleric also blamed Buhari for Nigeria’s inability to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the dying sports sector.
He said: “Though the President’s men have accused him of attacking their principal or speaking for the Christians in the north, “none of my critics has quarreled with my facts”.
“If they accuse me of stating inconvenient facts/truths, then, they can at least give the facts their interpretations. For example, who will quarrel with the fact that our glory has departed as a country? Where is our voice respected today even within the African continent which looks up to us for leadership?
“Is being the poverty capital of the world and one of the most violent states in the world an achievement? And our suffocating internal and international debts? And you do not think our glory has departed?
“We failed to qualify for the World Cup, our Falcons lost their title, and our seemingly invincible champions, Anthony Joshua, Kamuru Usman, and Israel Adesanya have all lost their titles. Our citadels of learning lie prostrate. When will glory return to us?”
Advice For Politicians
To the political class, Kukah said every Nigerian knows that promises before elections are sweet, but actions after elections are often bitter.
He said: “I plead with you to co-operate and collaborate with institutions which are tasked with the responsibilities for these elections…Do not further fan the embers of hatred and divisions. Seek to create a vision that can unite our country,.
He also cautioned Nigerian leaders to manage Nigeria’s diversity for power sharing, nepotism is cancer that has consumed the country in the last few years.
“We have paid the price of nepotism entrusting power into the hands of mediocres who operate as a cult and see power purely as an extension of the family heirloom,” he added.