Matthew Kukah: A new head-gear for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at 60




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To return to my dear sister, Ngozi, let me once again to commend and congratulate you. Hold firmly to the saddle, despite the bumps the road and the distractions. Do not worry about yesterday. Tomorrow is not here yet. life, history will be fair to you not because you excelled or were praised. No, history will be fair when you can honestly and in conscience face God and say, “I came, I saw and I tried my best”. Even God will reward you. When all is said and done and when all that is done has been said, we shall thank God that you contributed to our nation.

You have given this nation your best. You have turned the eyes of the international community to our country. Whatever may have been its weaknesses, hosting the World Economic Forum no mean achievement. The world believes us. It must be strange that we are the ones who do not believe in ourselves.

Yes, poverty still stalks the land. Inequalities are growing, but we all need to do more rather than merely pass the blame. No single individual or generation ever achieves everything at a time. The challenges that our nation faces are enormous and they relate to which side of the ideological divide we choose to sit on making our choices at the most difficult times for our nation. We may seem to have been infected by the virus of cynicism, but we must create new dreams and new visions beyond politics. Our situation is tough. The rebasing of our economy is more a challenge than a call for celebration. We do not have much yet to celebrate until we find the models to make this illusory wealth work for the good of all citizens. That is the real challenge and you must now open up and allow your ideas to be openly challenged. You are a scholar not a politician. So, learn to take the heat and never consider any of your traducers an enemy. It is our country and it is a democracy.

As you reflect gratitude to God, remember the words of who said: If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Again, welcome to the club and the Lord be with you.

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*Matthew Kukah is the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto