The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, has called on Nigerians to rise up and reclaim their country from bad leaders.
Bishop Kukah who gave the charge in his Easter message on Sunday, condemned what he sees as the deteriorating state of affairs in Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammad Buhari.
The Catholic Bishop spoke about the challenges that Nigerians have faced over the past few years, including failure of the electoral system, hate speech against imaginary enemies, and corruption amongst others.
He also highlighted the failure of the political class to address these issues and provide solutions that will improve the lives of Nigerians.
Kukah called on Nigerians to take action and reclaim their country from those who have failed them.
However, the Bishop commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for the fact that he had recognised that his criticisms of the current administration were not born out of malice, but rather a desire to see Nigeria reach its full potential.
“I commend you (Buhari) for the fact that you have known that none of this was done out of malice but that we want the best for our country,” Bishop Kukah said.
“May God guide you in retirement while we all embark on the challenge of reclaiming the country we knew before you came.”
Noting that the country is preparing for a new chapter in its history, Bishop Kukah emphasised the pressing need for the incoming President to address the core issues facing the nation, rather than focusing solely on infrastructure and empty political promises.
He expressed hope that the next government would recognize that Nigeria’s most urgent task is not the mere construction of physical infrastructure, but rather the establishment of a strong foundation of social justice, equality, and respect for human rights.
“I am hopeful that you will appreciate that the most urgent task facing our nation is not infrastructure or the usual cheap talk about dividends of Democracy. These are important but first, keep us alive because only the living can enjoy infrastructure,” the Bishop stated.
“For now, the most urgent mission is to start a psychological journey of making Nigerians feel whole again, of creating a large tent of opportunity and hope for us all, of expanding the frontiers of our collective freedom, of cutting off the chains of ethnicity and religious bigotry, of helping us recover from the feeling of collective rape by those who imported the men of darkness that destroyed our country, of recovering our country and placing us on the path to our greatness, of exorcising the ghost of nepotism and religious bigotry.”
Kukah also emphasised the critical role that the judiciary plays in shaping the future of Nigeria.
Consequently, he urged the honourable Justices of the Bench to recognise the immense responsibility that rests on their shoulders, and to approach their work with a deep commitment to justice, fairness, and the rule of law.
“Nigerians are looking up to you to reclaim their trust in you as the interpreters of the spirit of our laws. The future of our country is in your hands,” Bishop Kukah said.
“You have only your consciences and your God to answer to when you listen to the claims and counter claims of Nigerian lawyers you and have to decide the future of our country.”
Youths must avoid past mistakes
Also, the Catholic Bishop urged Nigerian youths to learn from the mistakes of the past and avoid repeating them in the future.
He stressed the importance of looking back at Nigeria’s history and learning from the successes and failures of previous generations.
“I salute your energy and courage. You fought a good fight across party lines. Your engagement and involvement substantially changed the contours of our politics. Things will never be the same again,” Kukah said.
“You must look at the mistakes of the past and avoid them. Note that your actions today will shape tomorrow. Learn the rules of good sportsmanship, know rules, know your roles, know when to fight, what to fight for and know when to walk away so you can embrace other fights.”
Bishop Kukah’s remarks come at a time when Nigeria is facing a range of pressing social, economic, and political challenges.
From widespread corruption and inequality to persistent ethnic and religious tensions, the country is grappling with complex issues that require bold and visionary leadership.
Despite these challenges, the Catholic cleric expressed his optimism for the future of Nigeria, and his belief that young Nigerians have the power to shape a brighter future for themselves and their country.