The Supreme Court, yesterday, upheld the election of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of Justices that was led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, dismissed an appeal the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abba Yusuf, filed to challenge the outcome of the last governorship election in the state.
Yusuf had in his appeal marked SC/1450/2019, prayed the Supreme Court to set aside the concurrent decision of both the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which affirmed Ganduje’s re-election.
The appellant contended that he scored the highest votes at the governorship contest that held on March 9, 2019, and satisfying section 179 (2) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
In the notice of appeal he filed on November 30, he alleged that the Kano State Returning Officer had after results of 44 local government areas were declared, cancelled results in 207 polling units in the state and declared the election as inconclusive and scheduled a re-run election for March 23, 2019.
However, in its lead judgement that was delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, yesterday, the Supreme Court, said it saw no reason to dislodge the judgements of the two lower courts.
It held that facts the PDP candidate adduced before it was inconsistent with the sole ground of his appeal, adding that he failed to demonstrate that judgements of the two lower courts were perverse.
Reacting, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), has called on the opposition to come and join hands with him for the continued development of the state.
“We thank Allah for the victory that made it possible for the Supreme Court to reaffirm our victory after Election Petition Tribunal and Court of Appeal judgments. We also thank Kano people for a peaceful conduct of their affairs,” says the governor.
The governor, who spoke through his Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, also commended the Supreme Court judges that partook in the judgment while praising the Judiciary for strengthening democracy.
“We also commend all the Judges who partook in this exercise of deepening democracy. This shows the commitment of our Judiciary in strengthening our democracy. This is highly commendable,” he said.
He further called on the opposition to join hands with the government to move the state forward.
“I insist that our opposition should come and join us to move the state forward. We have a lot of developmental projects on the ground. And more are coming. Our free and compulsory education policy needs all hands on deck. Our security system also needs all and sundry, among others,” he said.
Following the victory of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of the ruling APC, the Kano State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi declared that they have accepted the judgement of the court in good faith.
“We are grateful to Almighty God for the current situation.
“As you know we were at the High Court where the decision was not in our favor and we went for appeal, there too it was not in our favor. We then exploited the final option and went to the Supreme Court.
“We have accepted the final judgement and we will forge ahead to move our party forward.”
The state PDP chairman also made called on party supporters to remain calm and steadfast and not to engage in any form of crises.
“My call to our supporters is for them to remain calm over the recent development. Let’s put hands together to move our party forward.”
Meanwhile, supporters of Governor Ganduje are trooping to the Government House to show support and celebrate the Supreme Court victory where party musicians are busy displaying their talents.
Security has been beefed up across the metropolis to avoid any break down of law and order.
Also, the ancient city of Kano, yesterday morning broke out in jubilation as the news of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s victory at the Supreme Court filtered in.
Our reporter observed that millions of residents deferred the cold weather and gathered in groups to discuss the Ganduje victory with happiness.
The anxiety that enveloped the ancient commercial city naturally melted away, as people were seen going about their duties without apprehension.
Reacting to Ganduje’s victory, Commissioner of Information and Culture, Malam Muhammad Garba, said it was the will of God and the desire of the people.
According to him: “We are most grateful to the Almighty God for this victory. This is not the victory for Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje alone, it is a victory for the good people of Kano state.
“We call on the Peoples Democratic Party to maintain peace and accept this verdict in good faith. This the real confirmation of our journey to The Next Level “
Similarly, the Supreme Court, yesterday, affirmed Aminu Tambuwal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the valid winner of the last governorship election in Sokoto State.
The apex court dismissed an appeal the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state, Ahmed Sokoto, filed to challenge Tambuwal’s re-election.
A seven-man panel of justices of the court headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, held that the appellant failed to adduce any credible evidence to prove his petition against the outcome of the governorship election.
Justice Musa Abba-Ajji, who delivered the lead judgement, noted that whereas the appellant produced 12 witnesses before the tribunal, 11 of made their statements in the Hausa language while the English version was tendered in evidence.
It held that the appellant failed to tender the original version of the statements he tendered in evidence and also failed to produce the translator to confirm the authenticity or otherwise of the 11 statements.
Besides, the apex court held that the appellant was unable to prove that the election was invalid by virtue of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
It held that he failed to discharge the onus placed on him by the law, and accordingly dismissed the appeal marked SC/1466/19.
Reacting to the judgment, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, congratulated the Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal over his resounding victory at the Supreme Court.
He described the victory as a confirmation of the overwhelming support given to him by the people of Sokoto.
“I enjoin Governor Tambuwal to work for the unity and growth of the state through an all inclusive governance,” he said in a statement signed by the state Information and Communications Commissioner, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim.
Wike also commended the Supreme Court for allowing the will of the people to prevail.
In their reaction, residents trooped out to almost all streets in Sokoto metropolis celebrating the affirmation of Aminu Tambuwal as the duly elected governor of Sokoto State by the Supreme Court, yesterday.
It was observed that the crowd, mostly youths, trooped to the streets chanting songs in favour of Peoples Democratic Party and Tambuwal.
Some of the crowded streets include Fodio road, Runjin Sambo, Usmanu Danfodiyo University road, Old market, Gobirawa, and Rijiya, among others.
The All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu, had, on December 4, 2019, appealed the judgement of both the election petition tribunal and the Appeal Court at the Supreme Court for upholding Tambuwal’s election.
The Supreme Court, yesterday in Abuja, however, upheld the election of Tambuwal as the duly elected governor of the state, and dismissed the appeal by APC and Aliyu for lacking in merit.
One of the youth Aliyu Usman, who spoke with newsmen, thanked God for the governor’s success at the apex court.
Usman said the jubilation was to show gratitude to God over the victory of Tambuwal, insisting that the apex court’s decision was “an affirmation of the real mandate of the people.”
The Supreme Court also, yesterday, upheld the election of Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State.
The court, in a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of justices led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed appeal candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Jeremiah Useni, filed to challenge the outcome of the governorship election that held in the state on March 9, 2019.
In its lead judgement that was read by Justice Paul Galinje, the Supreme Court said it found no reason to disturb the concurrent decisions of both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal that returned Lalong of the All Progressive Congress (APC), as duly elected.
In his reaction, Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong, said the affirmation of his election victory by the Supreme Court has finally sealed and confirmed beyond further questioning the overwhelming mandate willingly bestowed on him by the good people of Plateau State.
The governor while reacting to the Supreme Court judgement said all along he was never in doubt as to the validity of his mandate as he did not only campaign and engaged all stakeholders, but also delivered on his campaign promises during the first tenure which endeared the people to him.
He said “I again dedicate this victory to God and the people of Plateau State irrespective of their political, social, religious or ethnic affiliations. The highest court in the land has stamped the mandate I was given and this means that our administration is now clear of litigation distractions.
“The time now is for governance and actualisation of our next level agenda encapsulated in our 3 point vision of peace, security and good governance; Infrastructural development and sustainable economic rebirth”.
The governor, in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, repeated his call to the opposition to join hands with him in developing the state and pursuing projects and programmes that will promote lasting legacies for the people.
He asked the people to intensify prayers for the peace and stability of the state which will enable rapid development to take place, and also thanked the Judiciary for their impartiality and contribution to consolidating democracy in the state and Nigeria as a whole.
In the same vein, the Supreme Court, yesterday, affirmed Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the duly elected governor of Bauchi State.
It dismissed an appeal marked SC/1502, which the immediate past governor of the state and candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mohammed Abubakar, filed to challenge the outcome of the governorship election.
Justice Mohammed Dattijo, who delivered the lead judgement, held that the appellant failed to demonstrate the perversity in the concurrent findings of the Bauchi State Governorship Election Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in Jos.
Other members of the seven-man panel of justices concurred with the lead judgement.
However, both Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and his Plateau counterpart, Simon Lalong, have lauded the Supreme Court judgements that affirmed their elections.
The two governors, who spoke with journalists after the judgements, yesterday in Abuja, said that the apex court had proved that the Judiciary was the last hope of the common men.
Mohammed said that the court verdict had confirmed his mandate and that it was now time to concentrate on quality governance.
“I want to appreciate the people of Bauchi State who have voted for me across party lines.
“I will make sure I work with them without discrimination. I will make sure I give them good governance and ensure nobody is excluded.
“I am extending hands of fellowship to the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mohammed Abubakar.
He should come and join hands with me so that we can continue from where he stopped,” Mohammed said.
Also reacting, Lalong said that the judgement had rekindled his confidence in the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man.
He thanked God that the litigation had finally ended at the Supreme Court, freeing him to fully concentrate on serving the Plateau people.
“I thank the good people of Plateau who voted for me. Today, their mandate is validated. I will continue to serve them with all my strength and energy,” Lalong said.
He appealed to the people of the state to quickly put the protracted litigation behind and unite toward building a prosperous state.
“The election has finished; litigation is over and it is now time to serve the people. For me, I am going to embrace the opponent, especially our father, Sen Jerry Useni, who brought us through this journey.
“I know he is not tired. We will make sure we tap from his experience so as to build a state we shall all be happy to call our own,” Lalong said.
The Supreme Court yesterday affirmed the election of Mohammed.
Also, the apex court struck out the appeal challenging the return of Simon Lalong as duly elected governor of Plateau State.
The court in a unanimous judgement held that the appellants, Sen. Jeremiah Useni and the PDP, failed to prove allegations made against the victory of Lalong of APC in the March 9 governorship election in Plateau.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere remained calm in Bauchi, yesterday in spite of the confirmation of Governor Bala Mohammed of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) as the duly elected governor of the state by the Supreme Court.
The people went about their normal businesses, just as there were no incidents of wild celebrations as anticipated.
It would be recalled that the State Police Command had prohibited any form of celebration as a precautionary measure to guard against any breach of the peace.
Speaking shortly after the judgement was delivered, Bauchi State Commissioner of Information, Dr Ladan Salihu, said the apex court had confirmed to the people of the state, the person they chose to be their leader.
According to him, it is indisputable that Mohammed won the election, describing the time and resources spent in challenging his victory in court as needless.
Salihu called on all people of the state, regardless of their political affiliation, to join hands with the governor and develop the state.
In his reaction, Publicity Secretary of PDP in Bauchi, Alhaji Yayanuwa Zainabari, attributed the victory of the governor at the apex court, to ‘Devine intervention’.
“We appreciate the governor’s supporters for their fervent prayers by keeping vigil at mosques.
“The victory could not have been possible without the divine intervention of God and the sacrifice of people through night prayers,” he said.
He assured that the present administration under PDP, would deliver on its mandate as it was evident in most of the projects embarked upon by Governor Bala Mohammad.
The party publicity secretary further called on everybody, including members of opposition parties, to come and join forces with the present administration in taking Bauchi to greater heights.
Also speaking, Minority Leader, Bauchi House of Assembly, Alhaji Bakoji Bobbo (PDP) said that the victory would ginger his party to deliver on its mandate to the people.
He said the issue of election had come and gone now, adding that the only task ahead was to face the electorate and all campaign promises.
The efforts to secure reactions of All Progressives Congress (APC) officials proved abortive as they had either switched off their telephones or refused to pick their calls.
The APC governorship candidate in the state, Mohammed Abubakar, had challenged the return of Mohammed as the duly elected governor of the state, alleging electoral malpractices and irregularities.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday congratulated Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and his Plateau State counterpart, Simon Lalong, for their victory at the Supreme Court.
He, however, failed to congratulate Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, both of the Peoples Democratic Party, whose victories were upheld by the apex court.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President congratulated his party, the All Progressives Congress, for the Kano and Plateau victories.
The President said, “I am glad this tortuous journey has ended in favour of the party and our governors. APC won the states and has proved it in court. It would have been a major blow if strategically important states like Kano and Plateau are lost.’’
While congratulating all the APC governors that the Supreme Court affirmed their elections, Buhari urged the electorate and politicians to strengthen the country’s judicial processes by always seeking redress in court.
“It has now become standard procedure for the opposition to challenge any poll or judgement that does not return its candidates.
“Election is good when they win. The opposite is the case if someone else emerges. But that is not the way it works. Democracy is not only about who wins or who loses, but also about the process. In disparaging every unfavourable result or judgement, they disparage the entire system,” Buhari said.
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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