The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the judgement of the Supreme Court, sacking, Imo State Governor, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as ‘another very sad commentary on our nation’s democratic order.’
The party in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondinyan, yesterday, said it found it difficult to understand how Senator Hope Uzodinma/APC, who came 4th in the March 9, 2019 governorship election, with just 96,458 votes, will suddenly, by the token of the judgement of the Supreme Court, defeat Governor Emeka Ihedioha/PDP that scored 276,404 votes.
The party stated that most Nigerians were yet to understand the basis upon which the Supreme Court arrived at its decision.
Ologbondinyan said “it is lamentable that the destiny of the people of Imo State is being taken from the governor they chose and voted for and handed over to individuals and a political party that do not have their blessing and mandate and which they rejected at the election.
“The people of Imo State are now confronted with the challenge of having a government that they cannot identify with and which cannot connect with them, having not emanated from them.
“Moreover, all the gains, including the development and stability already achieved by the people-based government, under Governor Emeka Ihedioha/PDP administration in the State are now heavily jeopardised.
“Indeed, the mournful and despondent ambiance that now pervades Imo State is a loud testimony that the judgment did not reflect the expectation of the people of Imo State as expressed at the polls.
The Supreme Court, yesterday, voided the election of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of Imo State and announced Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the election.
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad led a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court to sack Ihedioha.
The judgement was unanimous as the judges held that Uzodinma won the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the lead judgment, ordered that the certificate of return issued to Ihedioha be immediately withdrawn, and directed that a fresh certificate of return be issued to Uzodinma.
Kekere-Ekun said Uzodinma must be immediately sworn in as the governor of Imo State.
In the election held in March, the INEC declared Ihedioha of the PDP as winner, having polled 273,404 ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, who polled a total of 190,364.
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume came third ahead of Uzondima of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former polled 114, 676 while the latter polled 96,458.
However, the Supreme Court will release details of the judgment, next Tuesday.
Reacting, the governor-elect of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, said that his stolen mandate has been recovered by the Supreme Court.
Uzodinma, who spoke to newsmen through his spokesperson, Declan Emelumba, shortly after the apex court declared him the duly elected governor of the state, said that the court had demonstrated bravery.
The governor-elect accused the Peoples Democratic Party of not having good plans for the state.
He said, “The Supreme Court has declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as the duly elected governor of Imo State. The beautiful thing is that our stolen mandate has been recovered.
“The governor will arrive in Imo State on Wednesday (today) and he will address the people of the state. He has better plans for the people of the state. He is experienced and the state is in for good things.”
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court, had in a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of justices that was led by the CJN, held that Ihedioha who contested on the platform of the PDP, was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes.
The Supreme Court, therefore, ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Ihedioha by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It ordered that a fresh Certificate of Return should be issued to Uzodinma forthwith, adding that he should be sworn in immediately as the governor of Imo state
The lead judgement was delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, while other members of the panel concurred.
The apex court said it was satisfied that the lower tribunal wrongly evaluated Uzodinma’s case, when it failed to countenance a proof of evidence that was brought before it by a police officer that testified before it as the PW-54.
It held that records before it proved that election results from 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded from the overall collated results.
It noted that results from the cancelled polling units amounted to 213, 295 votes, adding that Ihedioha was returned elected, based on wrong computation of results.
According to the apex court, finding by both the tribunal and the appellate court to the effect that Uzodinma did not prove his case, “was as a result of misapprehension of the case of the appellant.
“There is merit in this appeal, it is hereby allowed. Majority judgement of the lower court affirming the election of the 2nd Respondent is hereby set-aside”, Justice Kekere-Ekun held.
She further directed the addition of all the unlawfully cancelled votes that were due to the appellant, declaring that Ihedioha was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast.
“His election is declared null and void and is hereby set-aside”.
The court further held that Uzodinma satisfied the statutorily required spread.
Aside the CJN, other members of the panel that concurred with the lead verdict were Justices Sylvester Ngwuta, Kayode Ariwola, Uwani Abba Ajji and Amiru Sanusi.
Meanwhile, the apex court deferred its judgement on appeal challenging the election of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of t state till Monday.
The panel initially stood down its proceedings to give judgements on appeals that arose from both Imo and Sokoto State governorship elections.
The CJN-led panel had concluded hearing on four separate appeals in Imo and two appeals in Sokoto State.
Even though the apex court was initially ready to hear 13 different appeals that emanated from governorship elections in six states, the CJN, however, announced decision of the panel to give priority to some of the appeals he said were due to expire.
He noted that whereas the statutory period for hearing of Imo State appeals would elapse by January 17, that of Sokoto State would expire January 20.
Consequently, the apex court adjourned appeals relating to governorship elections in Bauchi, Benue and Plateau states, some of which will elapse from January 25.
In Imo, while the first case marked SC/1461/19, was filed by Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the two other appeals marked SC/1462/19 and SC/1463/19, were lodged against Ihedioha by Uzodinma and Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, respectively.
Likewise, Ihedioha, who won both at the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, equally filed a Cross Appeal with Suit No SC/1470/19, wherein he challenged the minority judgement of the appellate court that gave victory to Uzodinma of the APC.
Meanwhile, Nwosu, who is son-in-law to the immediate past governor of the state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, withdrew his appeal before it could be heard.
He predicated his decision to withdraw the appeal on a judgement the Supreme Court delivered against him on December 20, 2019.
The apex court had in the said judgement, held that Nwosu was not eligible to participate in the governorship contest, noting that he was nominated by both the APC and the AA.
Consequently, when his appeal was called up for hearing, yesterday, Nwosu, through his lawyer, Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, said he was no longer willing to continue the case.
“Based on the judgement of this Court dated December 20, in SC/1384/19, we had resolved to withdraw our appeal, on my advice to my client”, Umoh submitted.
Owing to withdrawal of his appeal, the apex court panel dismissed it.
All the other appellants, in their separate appeals, argued that Ihedioha was not the valid winner of the Imo state gubernatorial contest.
It was part of their contention that Ihedioha failed to obtain the constitutional one quarter of votes in at least two-third of the 27 local government areas of Imo State as required under section 179 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
They prayed the court to invalidate the outcome of the Imo State governorship election and order a fresh poll.
The appellants maintained that the tribunal wrongly evaluated their petitions and arrived at a decision that favoured Ihedioha and the PDP.
Besides, they alleged that the governorship election was not only marred by manifest irregularities, but was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act.
While Ararume adopted his brief of argument through his lawyer, Yusuf Alli, SAN, Uzodinma was represented by Mr. Damian Dodo, SAN, even as Solomon Umoh, SAN, argued Nwosu’s case.
Cited as Respondents in the appeals were the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ihedioha and the PDP.
All the appellants prayed the court to allow their respective appeals and set-aside the lower court judgements that validated Ihedioha’s election.
Specifically, Uzodinma, urged the apex court to reckon with votes that accrued to him, which he said was unlawfully and illegally excluded from collation.
However, all the Respondents, through their lawyers, Aham Ejelam, SAN, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, and K. C. O. Njemanze, SAN, respectively, urged the apex court to dismiss all the appeals as lacking in merit and uphold the concurrent decisions of both the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
On his part, Ihedioha, prayed the apex court panel to ignore Uzodinma’s claim, maintaining that his appeal was not centred on exclusion of result, stressing that issues were joined on whether or not election actually took place in the affected polling units.
He insisted that the onus was on the APC candidate to prove that election held in the units, before he could allege the exclusion of his votes.
Aside drawing attention of the apex court to the fact that Uzodinma only produced 28 witnesses with respect to result from over 388 polling units, Ihedioha’s lawyer argued that the Appellant had no case in view of the judgement that recognised the nomination of Nwosu as candidate of the same APC.
It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had in its judgement on November 19, upheld Ihedioha’s election victory.
The appellate court dismissed appeals that were brought before it by all the other aggrieved candidates.
The five-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, further awarded N500, 000. 00 cost against each of the appellants.
Though the appellate court was unanimous in the dismissal of the appeals by Nwosu and Ararume, a member of the panel, however, gave a dissenting judgement and upheld Uzodinma’s appeal, even as he awarded N1million cost against Ihedioha and the PDP.
In the case of Sokoto State, the panel fixed Monday to decide the appeal with No. SC/1466/19, which was filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state, Ahmed Sokoto.
The APC candidate, who adopted his brief of argument through his lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon, SAN, is challenging the declaration of Tambuwal of the PDP, as the valid winner of the gubernatorial contest.
However, in a counter move, Tambuwal, who won the election with a slim margin of 342 votes after a supplementary poll, and was declared winner by both the tribunal and the appellate court, also filed a Cross Appeal marked SC/1467/19.
Tambuwal’s lawyer, Muyiwa Akinboro, SAN, argued that the appellant failed to show any reason why the apex court should tamper with concurrent judgements of the two lower courts.
He contended that the appellant was unable to establish that judgements of both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which affirmed Tambuwal’s election, was perverse.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have taken to the micro-blogging platform ‘twitter’ to pour out their emotions over the declaration of Hope Uzodinma of the APC, winner of the March 9, 2019 Imo state governorship election and the immediate sack of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, as the governor of Imo State.
The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Fr Ejike Mbaka, had during the 2019 crossover ministration, asked Ihedioha to prepare to leave office, saying that holy spirit has rejected him, and that new hope, with a new flag, will take over the government of Imo State.
“Those who are attacking the message are just casting Pearl before swine, the Holy Spirit has said it, and that is final.
“I don’t know how it will happen, but the only thing is that I see hope, joy, and a new government coming in Imo State.
“Even though Ihedioha has won in a tribunal and at the Appeal Court, that doesn’t mean that he will triumph in Supreme Court enough of all this brouhaha!
“What we are doing in adoration here is spiritual, it is not according to our power, it is a holy spirit, once he reveals it, we say it.
“Ihedioha and co should go and relax. This is not unprecedented, it happened to Jonathan, Atiku and Peter Obi and after everything, my prophecy came through. You must not be the governor of Imo State, and you are not better than Hope Uzodinma,” Mbaka was said to has said.
His prophecy came to pass, yesterday when the apex court, Supreme Court, sacked Ihedioha and declared Uzodinma winner.
Reacting, former PDP head of New Media, Deji Adeyanju, extolled Mbaka, saying that he is a real man of God.
His words, “Mbaka, the real man of God”.
Major-General Odogwu, said, “Mbaka my spiritual father, you are God sent to the voiceless, let those that keeps insulting u carry on”.
Salihu “One Supreme Court justice go don leak results to Father Mbaka cause what is this”.
PatoG “He is coming with a new flag to restore the dignity of that noble land. New leadership will break barriers and there would be joy in the land of Imo. Lift your candles as I bless Hope Uzodinma and I empower him spiritually to take over. How, I do not know.”
However, jubilation has taken over the political atmosphere of Imo state, after the Supreme Court declared Senator Hope Uzodinma, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), authentic winner of the 2019 governorship election.
Our source observed, yesterday, in Owerri, the celebration mood was high as some people were seen discussing it happily.
Uzodinma won at the Supreme Court while challenging the declaration of the outgoing governor of Imo, Emeka Ihedioha, who was declared winner of the 2019 Guber election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Though it was also observed that members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who were at some point waiting to start celebration were suddenly shocked by the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Some people have called on Uzodinma, to ensure continuity in governance and introduce his quality programmes to make life suitable for the people of Imo State.
While other political analysts have urged him (Uzodinma) to see his victory as a victory for Imo people and try to bring genuine experts in his style of governance.
Uzodinma was advised not to follow antagonist pattern of governance and that he should concentrate on providing for the people of the state their welfare.
Speaking to newsmen, the Director of Media and Strategy to Senator Hope Uzodinma, said: “Senator Hope Uzodinma will address Imo people by tomorrow. We will like to tell you that the stolen mandate of Imo people has been recovered and Ndi-Imo are happy again. By the time he’s sworn in he will be addressing the good people of Imo State.
S’Court Judgement On Bayelsa: RSG Condemns Attacks On Peter Odili, Family …Bemoans FG’s Silence On Threat To Ex-Gov’s Life
The Rivers State Government has condemned the cowardly attacks on the former state Governor, Dr Peter Odili and his family, especially his wife, Hon Justice Mary Odili, for performing her official duties as Justice of the Supreme Court in effort to further deepen democracy and promote the rule of law in Nigeria.
The condemnation was contained in a statement, signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, shortly after the State Executive Council (SEC), in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The state government, which described the attacks as unacceptable and unfortunate, said it would not fold its hands and watch lawless Nigerians attack the former First Family of the state with impunity, and cautioned those involved in the dastardly act to retrace their steps and find more noble things to do to give their lives meaning.
The statement reads in full, “The Rivers State Executive Council at its meeting held on Wednesday, 19th February, 2020 at the Government House, Port Harcourt, reviewed the recent attacks on the residence of the former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili as a result of the Supreme Court judgment that nullified the election of David Lyon as governor of Bayelsa State and resolved as follows: ‘That the Rivers State Executive Council observed that the Federal Government seems not to show interest in the sponsored threats to the lives of Dr Peter Odili and members of his family.
“That the Rivers State Executive Council condemns the barricading of the residence of Dr Peter Odili at Maitama, Abuja by sponsored thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“That the Rivers State Executive Council wondered why Dr Peter Odili’s family should be singled out for the unwarranted attack, when the judgment that ousted David Lyon as Governor of Bayelsa State was a unanimous decision of a five-member panel of Supreme Court Justices.
“That the Rivers State Executive Council warns the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva and the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole and their hired agents to desist from the sponsorship of violent attacks against Dr Peter Odili and members of his family.
“That the Rivers State Government will hold Timipre Sylva and Adams Oshiomhole responsible if anything happens to Dr Peter Odili and members of his family.
“That the Rivers State Executive Council noted that in the past Rivers State suffered unfavourable Judicial Pronouncements and never resorted to self-help as being promoted by APC Leaders in the case of Bayelsa State.
“That the Rivers State Government will employ all legal means to protect Dr Peter Odili and members of his family.
“That the Rivers State Government will protect Rivers State Indigenes who are serving Federal and State Judicial officers.
“That the Rivers State Government warns that should this harassment and intimidation continue, it will have no alternative than to retaliate.
“That the Rivers State Government will defend the lives and property of Rivers people at all times. Enough is enough”, the statement added.
NUPENG Shuts Filling Stations In Rivers …RSG Cautions Consumers Against Panic Buying
Barely 48hours after stakeholders averted proposed strike over seizure of petroleum tankers by personnel of security agencies, including the Army, the leadership of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Employees (NUPENG) has succumbed to pressure, and directed filling stations in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and its environs to shut down operations following fresh disagreement between tanker drivers and security agencies in the state.
But in a swift reaction, yesterday, the Rivers State Government has called on members of the public to avoid panic buying of petroleum products as it has taken steps to resolve issues leading to the protest by petroleum tanker drivers in the state.
Most of the filling stations monitored across Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas in Rivers State, yesterday, were discovered to have complied with the fresh directive to embark on strike over the arrest of some tanker drivers and seizure of their vehicles.
The shutdown of operations has led to fuel scarcity and resurgence of black market in Port Harcourt and its environs.
Also, black market operators have taken advantage of the development to make brisk deals.
Our correspondent, who monitored the industrial action by the filing station operators, reports that queues have continued to build up in most filling stations in the state capital.
The majority of the filling stations were said to have stopped dispensing fuel to motorists and other consumers since midnight on Tuesday after another tanker was said to have been seized by the Task Force on Illegal Parking.
Our correspondent, who monitored the situation in Port Harcourt, yesterday, observed that Tonnino Filling Station, Jet Filling Station and Royal Dynasty Filling Station on Ada-George Road, as well as some filling stations on Port Harcourt-Aba Road, and the few between Rumuomasi through Elekahia, were all shut down.
Also, Eterna Filling Station and Forte Filling Station located along Peter Odili Road were both shut down.
Our correspondent also tracked a Toyota Sienna and Hiace buses populated by NUPENG strike enforcement team, monitoring compliance with the directive within Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs.
The two buses were seen criss-crossing the roads, monitoring all filling stations from Aba Road through Waterlines, and from Rumuokalagbor-Elekahia through Nkpogu to Peter Odili, and onward to Port Harcourt Township through Eastern Bypass.
Speaking on the action, the National Treasurer of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Employees, NUPENG, Comrade Alex Agwanwa, explained that the action was due to the inability of security agents to respect the understanding they reached with the union, last weekend.
Agwanwa, who is also the chairman of the United Labour Congress in Rivers State explained that between Sunday and yesterday, more trucks have been arrested alongside the drivers by security agencies.
“Instead of maintaining our understanding, they decided to arrest more trucks. As we speak, 27 trucks carrying legal products have been arrested. It is unacceptable.
“This matter has been on for the past two years. We did not want it to get to this stage but here we are,” he added.
The NUPENG official maintained that the filings stations would remain shut until all their members and trucks seized by the security agencies are released.
Some filling station attendants, who spoke with The Tide said their services were withdrawn following directives from the leadership of the joint body of petroleum marketers in Rivers State.
The Chairman of the Licensed Filling Station Owners in Rivers State, Comrade Sunny Nkpe, who spoke with The Tide on the issue, said the action was taken because of the violation of an agreement reached by all stakeholders on the matter, which shelved the earlier planned strike.
He said their members were still facing intimidation and arrests by the state task force on illegal parking and other security operatives.
On his part, the National Public Relations Officer of NUPENG, Comrade Chinedu Ukadike, said the decision reached on February 16 for security agencies and the state government to release the union’s trucks in detention by February 17 was yet to be carried out, hence the directive to withdraw of the services of members.
He further claimed that the arrests were unnecessary and carried out without proper investigation.
He said, “Most of these trucks are carrying our products. If they continue to hold our trucks in detention, what do they want us to sell?”.
Some motorists, who spoke with our correspondent, lamented the situation, stating that it was difficult for them to operate due to scarcity of products.
A commercial driver, Akanimo Abel, said he bought a liter of fuel at N350 from black market operators.
He said, “My business is badly affected by the strike, the strike took all of us by surprise, and we did not expect it. We thought all the issues have been resolved. I want the issues to be resolved once so that normal business can go on.”
Another commercial taxi driver, Chris Agbogu, said the strike has caused grave difficulties to the users of the products, adding that he was finding it difficult to buy enough fuel to enable him do his business.
In reaction to the surprise strike by tanker drivers and filling station owners in the state, the Rivers State Government, yesterday, advised members of the public to avoid panic buying of petroleum products as it has taken steps to resolve issues leading to the protest by petroleum tanker drivers in the state.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Energy, Dr Peter Medee, who gave the advise in an interview with newsmen in Government House, Port Harcourt, said the lingering protest was as a result of several threats by the union that they want to go on strike.
“There are catalog of what they actually requested that we do, and we have been making efforts to see what we can do to resolve those things”, he said.
He explained that the state government had approached the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army on some trucks seized by soldiers and that the GOC had graciously approved release of those trucks.
“Unfortunately, some of those trucks were handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.
“There are processes that we have to take to get those ones that were sent to EFCC released, and we are in the process of getting them done”, the commissioner said, adding that the trucks at the 6 Division have already been released.
On the trucks impounded by the state task force on decongestion of roads, Medee said they had also made efforts to get them released, and also gone to the prison to release members of the union that were imprisoned, while those in police custody for wrong parking have also been released.
“What I am saying in essence is that we are making several efforts. Now, we have started engaging directly with their national leadership because we have seen that their union people in the state are beginning to show lack of understand of the sensibility of government”.
He noted that the government of Chief Nyesom Wike was very careful with the ease of doing business initiative because it was his vision that nothing should hinder business activities in the state, hence the need to thread with caution.
The commissioner further stated that the Federal Government was battling with oil theft, which was why a lot of trucks involved in sharp practices were being impounded daily by security agencies.
He gave kudos to the union leaders for declaring that they would not support any of their members involved in illegality.
“However, we expect the union to understand and bear with us. All the efforts we are making are gradually paying off. We are releasing the trucks. We are releasing their members that were arrested.
“We are not ignoring them. We are doing our very best to make sure that the problem is resolved, and I can assure you that in a short time, whatever you are seeing will be over.
“My advice to Rivers people is that they should avoid panic buying, relax, we will definitely handle this problem”, the commissioner assured.
Chris Oluoh, Taneh Beemene & Benice Iragunima
Tribute To Bishop Matthew Kuka’s Homily
Like a vote of thanks, a tribute is meant to give praise and honour to whom such is due; especially in an environment where people live in fear to say the truth, or tell an emperior that he is dressed like a clown, or behaves like one. Anybody who is acquainted with Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka would testify that he is an ideal human being and also a shining light of what a Christian should be.
Anybody reading the homily of Bishop Kuka titled “For a Tormented Nation and a Besieged Faith”, carried by The Tide newspaper (Friday February 14, 2020), would be deeply touched by the message contained therein. In the language of the Catholic Church, a homily is a speech or advice given at a special religious ceremony, in this case, burial of a Seminarian, Michael Nnamdi, in Kaduna, murdered by kidnappers recently.
Maybe Michael was not the first or only Seminarian kidnapped in Nigeria for a ransome, but from the Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna, that incident was a shock. His death was a greater shock, both to Catholics in Nigeria and across the globe, with a total of 3,305 persons lighting candles shortly before his burial on the February 5.
An ancient sage once said that it is to those who understand the world, not those who disfigure it; those who strive to liberate humans from plight and enslavement, not those who aggravate them, that we owe our loyalty.
We live and intermingle in a world where there are noble and ignoble people and where those who strive to ennoble the status of mankind stand in danger. Yet, the likes of Bishop Matthew Kuka should not be lacking in every society, for they provide courage to the stooping spirit of man. Not only are humans standing in a moment of decision, moment of separation of the darkness from light and moment of rudderless navigation. In the words of Bishop Kuka: “Today, our years of hypocrisy, duplicity, fabricated integrity, false piety, empty morality, fraud and pharisaism have caught up with us”.
Truly, Nigeria is at a point where we must call for a verdict; a time to confront and dispel the clouds of evil that hover over us; for we have practiced madness for too long. Kuka, in his homily recalled how, in Chatham House in London, Buhari said: “If I am elected President, the world will have no reason to worry about Nigeria. Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa … And I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front”.
Bishop Kuka spoke the whole truth and on behalf of Nigerians that “this President has displayed the greatest degree of insensitivity in managing our country’s rich diversity. He has subordinated the larger interest of the country to the hegemonic interests of his co-religionists and clansmen and women … Today, in Nigeria, the noble religion of Islam has convulsed …”
Unfortunately, Islam is beginning to earn an unpleasant reputation through the instrumentality of bad politics. It is true that Muslim scholars, traditional rulers and intellectuals have continued to cry out helplessly, asking for their religion and region to be freed from chokehold. Bishop Kuka tells us that “neither Islam nor the North can identify any real benefits from these years that have been consumed by the locusts that this government has unleashed on our country. The Fulani, his innocent Kinsmen, have become the subject of opprobrium, ridicule, defamation, calumny and obloquy”.
Is it a hate speech to say that this administration is “running the most nepotic and narcissistic government in known history”? Or that “the North still has the worst indices of poverty, insecurity, stunting, squalor and destitution”? does the fact that The Sultan recently lamented the tragic consequences of power being in the wrong hands, not indicate that all is not well with Nigeria currently?
Similarly, we are told that “the Northern Elders who is 2015 believed that General Buhari had come to redeem the North, have now turned against the President.” Is it not true that things fall apart when politicians use religion to extend the frontiers of their ambition and power? Why do kidnappers separate their victims and force Christians to become Muslims?
Apart from the killing of Late Seminarian Michael Nnamdi by his kidnnappers, had there not been similar killing of Christian clerics by kidnappers and terrorists in recent times? Should we accept the logic of a presidential spokesperson that since more Muslims are being killed than Christians, then there is sense in senseless killings? From the homily of Bishop Kuka that “killing Christian and destroying Christianity is seen as one of their key missions,” it become obvious that kidnappers and terrorists are out on a definite purpose.
The fact that His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and the Emir of Kano, two most powerful leaders, have expressed their unhappiness over the situations in the country. But in spite of the obvious provocations and trends, Bishop M. Kuka can still tell the world that “we have no vengeance or bitterness in our hearts…Trials of every sort come our way, but we are not discouraged…”
Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka has aptly shown through his homily that he has a clear understanding of the problems of this country, one of which is the use of religion as an instrument of political power. While not suggesting the use of violence or vengeance on the part of Christians, he has asked the current administration to run an inclusive system where everyone would have a sense of belonging and contribute to build up Nigeria.
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