The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah has said President Muhammadu Buhari should face the challenges of governance and stop agonizing over misdeeds of past administrations. Kukah spoke with journalists at a dinner organized by Ondo State Government after the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigerian, CBCN, in Akure, the Ondo State Capital.When asked to comment on the blame game of the present administration, Kukah said: “The previous government didn’t only do bad things, it did a lot of good things. I think the business of government is not our business; our business is: if the previous government did bad, that is why we voted a new government. It is really about taking responsibility. No matter how much you praise or abuse Jonathan, he is not the President of Nigeria. I think people must understand, you take power to solve problems, not to agonize.
“As the head of a family, no matter how bad things are in the house, you, as a father, can’t enter the house crying. It is the question of developing the mechanism. Even my best friends in APC now realise that nobody can sing the song about Jonathan being responsible for the problems we are in. We are not asking you to change the whole world. Jonathan created problems but we are now riding a train between Abuja and Kaduna; the train wasn’t there before. Things that Jonathan did that can help Nigeria, let’s continue with them. “On the bad things that Jonathan did, those who deserve to go to prison should go to prison, but sending people to prison will only be useful if it puts bread on the table of people.”
On the war against corruption, Kukah said: “I have always said, you can’t cure malaria by just providing tablets; you might provide tablets to cure malaria but you have to look at the cause of malaria. As long as dirty waters and mosquitoes are around, there will still be the disease. My argument has always been that we are really fighting corruption, we started off with the assumption that corruption is all about people stealing money. But stealing money is actually the other end of corruption.
“The reason we don’t seem to make much progress is based on the kind of diagnosis. I still believe that unless we get to the root cause of poverty, inequality, which are really the evidence and symptom of corruption, you can talk of fighting corruption as very little is going to happen.” On the high cost of living, Kukah said: “I think that the extremes are very difficult but Nigeria is a hell of a country and Nigerians are a hell of a people. These are trying times and they can actually help to bring out the best in us. I think the challenge government is facing is to be able to explain to people that this suffering has something redemptive about it because if you know that at the end of this suffering something good is going to happen, people will be ready to live with the consequences.
“But so far, I don’t think government is communicating effectively with ordinary Nigerians to know where we are and the state of things. So, this is why you increasingly have a situation where people are not willing to make sacrifices because they still believe that their obligation is to protect themselves. I think unless the government openly explains and engage people very constructively, what you are going to face is a situation, which ordinary citizens are finding the best ways to protect and defend themselves.”