BISHOP KUKAH: A SINCERE CONCERN OR MERE MISCHIEF — Maiwada Dammallam

by Taye Paul Olubayo

Kukah: Only bomb differentiates FG from Boko Haram — Bishop Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese

It’s quite unfortunate that Bishop Kukah would throw caution to wind and reduce himself to less than a mixture of reckless doomsayers like Femi Fani Kayode and clownish blind attackers of President Buhari like Buba Galadima. I have enormous respect for Bishop Kukah. He’s intelligent albeit witty. Still a delight to chat with. However, his pluses seem to be his minuses at least, in this round of controversy.

You see, no sense of logic would accept Bishop Kukah’s latest round of vituperation against the Federal Government viz-a-viz Islamic dominance of Nigeria by muslims courtesy of Buhari’s presidency — not a with a reputable Pastor as a carried along and fairly functional Vice President anyway. For this reason and glaring others, many people would find Bishop Kukah’s advocacy suspicious especially given the choice of forum and venue. Kukah’s advocacy was made while speaking with Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, in the UK.

Superficially, Kukah’s “Boko Haramizing” of the Federal Government was provoked by the killing of 10 christians by the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Christmas eve. However, Bishop Kukah, for reason(s) best known to him refused to enlighten the forum about the genesis and motive of the reckless killing of 10 innocent citizens which ISWAP, even as reported by Daily Mail of UK, claimed they killed the captives to avenge for the killing of their leaders Abu bakr al-Baghdadi and Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir in Iraq and Syria. For reasons I will mention shortly, Kukah’s campaign is far removed from ordinary concern for the welfare Nigerian christians displayed as his primary concern.

First of all, Bishop Kukah would not deny not knowing that Boko Haram is no longer the localized Nigerian problem it was 4 or 5 years ago. That Boko Haram has mutated and is now an international franchise of blood is globally acknowledged and could be seen in most media reports about the repulsive Christmas eve killings. Kukah’s insistence to see it as a local event left more than enough room to speculate about his motives.

Beside accusing the Federal Government of failure to tackle Boko Haram, he’s also of the opinion that the FG has created a room for the group to operate as it is doing currently. Despite his eloquence and ease of articulation, he did not say what the Federal Government is doing or not doing that created room for Boko Haram, ISWAP or whoever to operate freely in the manner he rolled out to his audience. I expect a meticulous activist like Bishop Kukah to present his well researched facts to the forum given the sensitivity of his allegation if not to be fair to the FG at least, to preserve credibility. There was none hence, lending credence to suspicions about unholy motives of his watery lamentations.

The most bizarre of Bishop Kukah’s lamentations was the opinion that the Federal Government is up to some agenda to achieve Islamic supremacy in Nigeria. He said and I quote: “They (the Federal Government are using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it (the supremacy) can be achieved by violence.” Unquote.

This is quite petty coming from as respected and intelligent personality as Bishop Kukah. That he has jumped to the level of theorizing about a non-existing agenda of Islamic supremacy in Nigeria when a lesser theory of islamizing Nigeria has refused to fly indicates high level of desperation to create unnecessary chaos to achieve hidden motives which probably when discovered would give meaning to Kukah’s phantom and baseless lamentations.

How’s President Buhari suppose to pursue an agenda of Islamic Supremacy in Nigeria with a Pastor-Vice President, some Christian heads of security agencies, a mixture of Christian/Muslims Armed Forces and same mixture of two chambers of the National Assembly? Unless Bishop Kukah is of the conviction that President Buhari has some supernatural powers or a magic wand to flick and make the so called supremacy happen, nobody could miss the fallacy of his fears (I hate to use the word mischief out of respect).

Bishop Kukah said if those in authority do not do enough to integrate Christians, “then they give oxygen to Islamism.” Honestly I’m lost here. What exactly does Kukah means by not doing enough to integrate Christians? Is Buhari’s cabinet in any way operating against the dictates of the Nigerian constitution? If so, why is Kukah somewhere in Britain wasting his “facts” when he has the muscle to mobilize the National Assembly to remove Buhari out of office. Even easier, why is he not in court even by proxy to challenge Buhari on the “illegalities”. The answer is simple. Bishop Kukah is sure his grudges would not pass even shallow scrutiny.

By the way, Bishop Kukah is in the best position to know there isn’t any agenda to achieve Islamic supremacy in Nigeria under Buhari or at any other time. He won’t be supervising the most visible Catholic Diocese in Sokoto the heart of the Caliphate where in no distant past, Muslim travelers to Mecca had to branch to pay homage to the tomb of the 18th Century Islamic reformer, Sheikh Usman Danfodio. Not only is Bishop Kukah supervising the Sokoto Diocese as he wishes without hindrance, he’s doing so complete with the freedom to make provocative proposals like his clearly unworkable over-ambitious plan to rehabilitate 10,000 “Almajirai” which was only a witty way meant to embarrass religious and political leaders of the Islamic North.

Just as much, nobody is yet to challenge the rights and freedom of Bishop Kukah or any Christian on the inroad Christian missionaries are making in the nook and crannies of the Islamic North. Without the tolerance he went to the UK to deny the Federal Government, Christian missionaries would not be knocking the doors in Muslim communities to preach their gospel much less, gain converts.

The truth is, the Federal Government is more a symbol of our unity and diversity than a magical wand to flick and make things happen. The burden of creating a great Nigeria is more on its citizens than its leaders. Only when we shun divisive tendencies as those exported to the UK by Bishop Kukah could Nigeria unlock its potentials and move to the next level people like Bishop Kukah are making pretentious efforts to speed up the process.

Of course, Nigeria is so battered that many people don’t have any problem using its misfortune to score cheap global popularity. Still, I expect senior citizens like Kukah to be sensitive to the fragility of Nigeria and avoid experimenting with its dangerous fault lines. Giving Nigeria’s complex set-up, a religious crisis of the magnitude advocacies like Kukah’s could precipitate would be disaster not only to Nigeria but to Africa as a continent.

 

Source: The Cable

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