THE presidency has accused the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Matthew Kukah of hatred against President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the accusation in a statement released on Monday night.
Shehu was reacting to some of the critical issues raised by Kukah during his Easter message on Sunday. The fiery cleric had accused Buhari of destroying all aspects of life in the country through his policies and responses to some of the challenges the country is confronted with.
Kukah accused Buhari of dividing Nigeria along religious and ethnic lines, but have allowed corruption to thrive and grow.
He also described the country under Buhari as “an emergency hospital deserving of urgent attention.”
The bishop noted that Nigerians could no longer recognise their country, which, according to him, “has been battered and buffeted by men and women from the dark womb of time.” Kukah added that although it was not difficult to know how the nation had gotten to the deplorable state it is, Nigerians must find a way out.
According to the cleric, the greatest challenge now was how to begin a process of reconstructing the country with the hope that Nigerians could hang on and survive the 2023 elections.
However, Shehu in his reaction said Kukah’ was using the occasion of the Easter celebration to play politics.
“For a man who has been spreading hate for decades, nothing new in the homily, except for the fact that while millions of Christians were remembering the Lord’s crucifixion on Friday, His descent on Saturday, His resurrection on Sunday, and subsequent appearance to his disciples, Bishop Matthew Kukah was playing politics,” he said.
“From his pulpit, he devoted his Easter message not to Christ’s death and rebirth so Man might be saved – but to damning the government in the most un-Christian terms. “His accusatory list against the government revealed only his hatred for them.
“Still, when he accused them of division, he gave no examples: merely assertions emanating from his own mouth. His allegation of ethnic and regional divide was innuendo without proof, and he gave none.
“Nigeria knows too well Bishop Kukah’s views of the government. He has made quite clear how much he dislikes them from the day they were elected.”
He urged the cleric to leave government for the voters and face his job, or quit it to join politics.
“We respectfully ask Bishop Kukah to leave government to the voters and the politicians they elect, while he concentrates on his job, as it is expressed in James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
“Or else, he should put away his clerical garb, join partisan politics and see how far he can go.”