Religion is not Nigeria’s problem – Bishop Kukah
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Rt. Reverend Mathew Hassan Kukah, has said that the problem facing Nigeris is not religion but the leaders have not made it work for the citizens.
The Catholic Bishop made this submission on Saturday while speaking at the inaugural lecture on the topic, “Religious tolerance and inclusiveness”, noting that over 133 millions Nigerians are suffering from various levels of multi-dimensional poverty.
Bishop Kukah then called on the in-coming administration of Bola Tinubu to rise up to the challenge of uniting different ethnic groups and identities in the country, adding religion, ethnicity, and gender are not the problem but rather how to manage the nation’s diversities.
The cleric said, “I will also end by saying right now 133 million Nigerians are suffering from various levels of multi-dimensional poverty.
“I have not put up the light and seen the part where Muslims are living that they have light, while others for not. I have not seen the part of the country where Muslims are eating and the rest of us are not. So we must come to terms with the fact that we are not bleeding.
“We are not suffering because we are Christians or Muslims, but we are in a country that is malfunctioning. How to make that country work, for the rich, for the poor, for the aged, and for everybody is a challenge.
“It is not a challenge that everybody can win but I think it’s a challenge that a government that appreciates it doesn’t have all the answers, must come to terms with the fact that there is a way of looking for her finding answers.
“I would like to just end by saying and I’ve made the point very clearly, in the struggle with the problems of Nigeria, I remain exceptionally optimistic. I travelled the world. People say to me, well, where do you find this courage to say that Nigeria is working? Okay, it may not be working, but this is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I am not being flippant.
“When I went to the United States of America to study, I preached in a church but the parish priest said to me, listen to me, you speak with such eloquence and I like you, we will get you a green card, you can settle here in America. I looked at him, I said, you know, this God is a wonderful God. You are giving me a green card and my passport is actually a green passport.
“So, the young Nigerians leaving our country, I always say to them, no, I’m not worried. Let them go. It’s for the good of the country.
“The challenge for us as Africans is to think the way the Asians have thought that you can go to Europe, you can go to America with a purpose. But the purpose of course means coming back to develop your country but it also means that that country must create an environment in which you can feel confident to come and present the gift that God has given you.
“I have two young men in America who just finished a prestigious university, I say when are you coming home? They say Bishop coming home to do what? We do not have an uncle who is a senator, we don’t have anybody so coming to Nigeria to do what?
“Vice President-elect, the challenge for you is to make this country believable, livable, credible so that all of us together can serve and build a great nation.”
Also, the Sultan of Sokoto Abubakar III, Sa’adu Abubakar, thanked God for witnessing the seventh consecutive democratic transition of power in the country, without any major hitch or crisis, according to him is a major achievements.
“This in itself is a significant achievement, in which both the winners and those who did not win. I don’t call them losers. Those who won and those who do not will share in the credit.”
The monarch called on the incoming administration to address all levels of poverty and ignorance in the land just he said the rising population of Nigeria, which is estimated by the United Nations to be well over 400 million by 2050. Which will make Nigeria the third largest populated country in the world after India and China.
Bishop Kukah said, “As political leaders, you will need not only think of the next election but also and more importantly, think of the next generation.
“I leave you with these thoughts and pray for God’s guidance, wisdom and patience for leaders to take our country to the highest height. And we have peace and stability in our great country Nigeria.”