“We are mistaken in assuming that we have had a transition from dictatorship to democracy. We still haven’t.
“This is why we are showing all kinds of systemic malfunctioning. When we talk about political parties, we have assumptions. The truth of the matter is that in our own case, in Nigeria, we have the greed and the political interest.
“Clearly what we have in Nigeria, as we have seen with the occasional malfunctioning of the system midway through the journey, manifested in the quarrelsomeness nature of the process and the way the judiciary has now come to undermine the wishes of the people,” he said.
Speaking further, the cleric called on political parties to imbibe discipline while fielding candidate for public offices.
He regretted that most politicians lack the needed discipline expected of political parties, adding that it has reflected in lack of continuity and consistency in governance.
Integration and national unity as the only solution to the conflicts in the northeast, Niger Delta and the clashes between herdsmen and farmers, a cleric of the Catholic church says.
In his speech at the 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations in Abuja on Friday, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, expressed the belief that national unity would overcome ethnicity and nepotism, which, in his opinion still reign in Nigeria.
He told political leaders to always carry the people along in all that they do.
”The question is; what are the aggregate ingredients? What are kind of tangible realities? What are the things we need to bring together to be able to enhance national integration?
“Now, tragically for us in Nigeria, now more than ever before, we have never been as frustrated, as disunited in almost every sense of the world as we are today and it is not enough to blame the APC. It is not enough to blame Buhari. It is about the fact that somehow something had been creeping in on us and finally has caught up with us.
“Now the question is, can this country still remain united? Yes, it can and it depends on how we understand the concept of unity.
“I often say that one of the difficulties in Nigeria is that the people who are the followers are better equipped, better educated, more intelligent and even more passionate than those who govern them,” Bishop Kukah added.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Kukah, has called on Nigerian politicians to place service above personal benefits.
He says politicians have continued to undermine the interest of the ordinary Nigerian who gave them the opportunity to serve through the ballot.
The clergyman spoke to Channels TV on Sunday, after a church service to celebrate Fathers’ Day in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.
“We still have not moved away from the culture of people who mistake public service for opportunities for self-enrichment.
“The reason why people asked to be elected is not to make money for themselves, they asked to be elected so that they can serve us and serve our country,” he said.
Bishop Kukah also said he doubts if the current crop of politicians would give Nigeria the required leadership to take it to the next level.
“You have so many people going to church and going to mosque and yet criminality, violence, corruption are all on the increase in our society.
“This is evidence of some of the things that are eroding our Christian values,” he said.
“When I hear politicians say we cannot develop in an environment of violence or in an environment that is volatile, politicians don’t understand that it is their irresponsible behaviour that is creating the tension and the anxiety,” he added.
The Federal Government has promised to pay the 78.7 billion Naira electricity debts owed distribution companies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government before the end of the year.
In what appeared to be leading by example to ensure transformation of the power sector, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, announced that the military was already making plans to pay its debts.
He made the promise on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital at a town hall forum organised by the Kukah Centre, to create dialogue between policy makers and Nigerians for greater citizens’ participation in governance.
National Housing Policy The Minister also spoke on mass housing across the country, which he said would only be possible through the standardisation of mass housing projects.
He disclosed that government was developing a ‘National Housing Policy’ that would address all issues across states.
In his remarks, the Patron of the centre, Bishop Matthew Kukah, stressed the need for such dialogues, considering the magnitude of issues that needed to be resolved in many sectors of the economy.
Other components of the forum, which is expected to hold monthly, include policy round table and discussions from both sides of the government aimed at fixing Nigeria in the long term.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, met behind closed-doors in the Presidential Villa Abuja.
Bishop Kukah, declined comments, saying he had to catch a 12:30 flight, after the meeting which lasted for less than 20 minutes.
The Catholic Bishop is a member of the National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections.
He had after a meeting between members of the peace committee, led by Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (Rtd.) and President Buhari on August 11, said the President was advised to follow the rule of law in his anti-corruption war.
The National Peace Committee will not wrap up its work following Nigeria’s successful transition from one government to another.
The National Coordinator of the committee, Bishop Matthew Kukah, said this to journalists in Abuja after a closed-door meeting.
He said that the committee, which was constituted by some eminent Nigerians, would continue to work to ensure peace in all parts of the country.
The committee had initiated the signing of a peace accord by the leading candidates in the 2015 presidential election – former President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The National Peace Committee, which is led by former military president, retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar also played a key role in the acceptance of the outcome of the election.
Bishop Kukah explained that the committee would work on a wider scope and not just the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
Nigerian politicians have been asked to shun quarrels and bitterness in politics but rather engage in robust debates on ideas as well as support structures and institutions that will help to strengthen the democratic process to meet the aspirations of the Nigerians.
President Goodluck Jonathan gave the admonition at the official opening of the Kukah Centre for faith, leadership and public policy in Abuja.
He thanked Nigerians for showing resilience in the democratic process, but stressed that politicians should see the coming elections as an opportunity to renew their commitment to deepening the democratic process.
“The developed world did not stumble into greatness by chance, rather they got there through carefully developed policies tested over time,” he said.
The official opening of the Kukah Centre attracted President Jonathan and these other Nigerian leaders because of the vision of the founder and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah .
The centre is instituted to build a better Nigeria by promoting dialogue, participatory democracy and good governance, issues the President said politicians must imbibe to make Nigeria’s democratic process to work.
The chairman of the occasion and former military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, was happy to note that the Kukah Centre would not operate legally. He renewed his call on Nigerians to be their brothers keeper, especially as the war against insurgency raged.
The founder of the Centre spoke passionately about Nigeria and what motivated him for the vision, which include; to make the centre a platform for ideas and not ethnic and religious sentiments.
Goodwill messages poured in from far and near all extolling Bishop Kukah’s effort to make Nigeria a better place.
Interfaith dialogue is the core of the Centre. Guests departed from the Centre after the opening, but they are confident that the Kukah Centre will in the long run be a major contributor to how best to govern Nigeria.
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah has called on the federal government to implement the reports and findings of air disasters in the country to avert future air crashes.
Bishop Kukah who spoke at the 8th memorial lecture of 60 students of Loyola Jesuit College who died aboard a Sosoliso Airline in 2005 said every disaster is as significant as the reports they produce and must not be brushed aside.
He said air mishaps in Nigeria and the lives claimed by them far exceed the records of many countries around the world and only a strong political will can change that trend.
The students of the college who have lived with the trauma are today determined to make a change, adding that it is high time leaders are made accountable and air mishaps and other disasters brought to a stop.
They further agreed with Bishop Kukah’s point of view that there is a correlation between air disasters and other disasters in the country which points to the negligence of those in authority, a trend which they say unrelenting effort must be made by Nigerians to reverse.
Nine years ago, 60 students of a school headed home for Christmas died in the defunct Sosoliso Airline plane crash in Port-Harcourt. Since then several other plane crashes have occurred around the country claiming hundreds of lives.