Nigeria has never had it this bad before as it is happening under President Muhammadu Buhari, accoring to Catholic Bishop of Sokoto State, Mathew Hassan Kukah, as he weighed in on Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary, urging the President to “reset the clock,” before it is too late.
In a 30-minute speech which he made to mark the event, the versatile priest and public speaker, heaped the blame on the insecurity and suffering in the land on the President, particularly bemoaning the elevation of nepotism as a state policy under Buhari’s government.
In fact, he said the President would have been impeached a long time ago if it were in other climes, for violently violating the Nigerian constitution in the manner he had done by adopting such a policy, which was clearly against the grundnorm.
Kukah, who recalled Buhari’s loads of lofty promises before being elected into office that ended the 16 years corruption-ridden government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lamented that what the nation had gotten in return for their massive support, was the opposite.
Hear him: “The incoming President had campaigned on a rich menu of promises, promising to bring back the Chibok girls, to end corruption, to end Boko Haram, to end poverty, to unite our country.
“Indeed, he had ushered in so much lofty hope to uphold the constitution when he said in his inaugural speech on May 29 2015 ‘I belong to everyone and to no one’. We all took these promises, and we looked up in hope to a man who had campaigned on the key philosophy of integrity and character.
“Today, the tide has woefully turned, the President has turned his back to almost all the key promises he had made to all Nigerians during the campaign. Today, our country now looks like a boiling pot in which everyone is trying to escape.
“Nepotism has become the new ideology of this government. In following this ideology, it is estimated, and is very interesting that this statement was made by a northern Muslim journalist that the President has handed over 85 per cent of key appointments to northern Muslims, and ensured that men of his faith hold tight the reins of power to the most critical areas of our national life, such as the National Assembly and the security agencies.
“In chapter 2 of our constitution under Fundamental Objectives, And Directive Principles of State Policy, the constitution states clearly in section 13 and I quote ‘it shall be the responsibility and duty of all organs of government, and of all authorities and process, exercising legislative, executive, judicial powers to conformed, observed and applied the provisions of this chapter of the constitution, from the President to the least office holder’.
“The constitution which is the political bible that holds any country together, of which political heads swear by and to uphold the principles, section 14 subsection 1 says and I quote; ‘The federal republic of Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and social justice’ those are the two critical pillars on which the federal republic of Nigeria hangs, of which we measure the success of Nigeria by the quality of Nigeria and social justice.
“Article B follows by stating and I quote; ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government. That means that, the President, governors, chairman of local government in this country as their primary responsibility, the obligation to ensure that their people are safe and like a mother and her child, their people don’t go to bed hungry.
“These are the test by which we can measure the faithfulness, the commitment of the president of the public office holders in Nigeria. Subsection 3 of the constitution of the states; ‘The composition of the government of the federation or any of these agencies, and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity and to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there is no predominance of persons from a few states, or persons from other groups in that government or any of its agencies.’ This is the constitution and every person holding office swore by, not to monopolise power.
“However, by adopting nepotism as a primary ideology, clearly, unable to secure our country and our people, President Muhamadu Buhari is in flagrant violation of the constitution that he swore to uphold. And the evidence that adduced is not my thinking, but what our constitution states.
“Today, our sense of unity is severely under threat and test. Our common citizenship has been fractured and diminished; the principles of social justice, fairness, egalitarianism on which our constitution stands have been assaulted, violated and diminished.
“Nigerian citizens feel collectively violated. There is clearly a conflict in narratives and understanding, between the principles and ideologies contained in the constitution, the manifesto of the APC as a party on which the President campaigned on the brutal realities of Nigeria today.
“It is seen that it was in anticipation of this dissonance that the President built a firewall around himself by participant selection of security chiefs based on religion, region or ethnic base. It could be the reason for the adoption of the same principles in the National Assembly as we have it today, wherefore, for the first time in the history of our nation Senate President, the Speaker of the House and their deputies and majority leaders are all of the same region and faith.”
Kukah, who urged his compatriots to remember the expectations of the world about Nigeria, believed that the President, was clearly executing his own agenda, quite different and in contradiction to that of the founding fathers.
He added: “Perhaps, this consciousness would never have arisen, and I am making the point therefore that this is a clear violation of the constitution and in other climes, these are clear grounds of impeachment, because the President fails to uphold, live by the principles of the constitution. It remains for the National Assembly to surpass the limit of that claim against the brutal realities that Nigerians face today.
“The President has been quite diligent and focused on the pursuit of an agenda, that is clearly alien to the aspirations, hopes, and dreams of our people across religion. We have nothing yet to talk about Islam as a religion, Christianity as a religion, Nigeria as southerners, easterners, northerners, the width and breadth of the country is hurt.
“It is about the choice made by an individual. The vision that he pursues does not conform to the aspiration the founding fathers of the country, the letters, and the spirit of our constitution. Nigeria was nothing like this before. How long will this lie last before it melts in our faces? We are living a lie and we all know it. The motor of our country is unity and faith, peace, and progress.
“Today, my dear brothers and sisters, where is Nigeria unity, our faith in Nigeria, peace and progress in Nigeria. Let us remember the world stood still and stood shoulder to shoulder with Nigeria and expected great things from Nigeria.”