The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, said Nigeria’s problem is irresponsible leaders and not Christians or Muslims.
Kukah made the claim while speaking on the TVC News Breakfast show on Monday, stating that Nigeria’s irresponsible leaders use religion as a tool of oppression, rather than for liberation.
“There is no problem between Christians and Muslims. There is a problem with irresponsible leaders who don’t want to govern properly, irresponsible religious leaders who have now seen religion as a tool of oppression, instead of a tool for liberation.
“This has been the thrust of my argument because these are two areas of study. With all sense of modesty, I have spent a good part of my life studying theology and studying religion and society,” he noted.
The clergyman, while responding to questions on the roles of religion and ethnicity in the politics of Nigeria, explained that the country had failed at building governance that put the welfare of citizens above anything else.
He said, “If you are watching a football match or any game at all, that’s why there are referees. If the referee does not do what needs to be done and allows supporters to jump onto the field, you can see for yourself that referees are punishing coaches who overreach themselves by stepping even if it is just one inch, into the field. They are punished; sometimes they are taken off the pitch.
“Now, this is really what a state is supposed to be because, without the state, it will be all of us against each other. And that is why the state is called a leviathan. You put so much power so that the state can protect us. The Nigerian state has proved itself to be incompetent, grossly malfunctioning, unwilling to commit to the welfare of citizens as the principal basis of governance.”
The cleric further asserted that citizens must carry a ‘Nigeria land’ mentality, which presupposes the knowledge of shared interests, adding that the Nigerian system is only about politics, and not science.
The septuagenarian spoke about the need to have a country where the rule of law is placed over religious or ethnic sentiments, noting that Nigeria operates a democracy and not a theocratic government.