The Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, on Tuesday noted that nobody can stop the Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah from speaking against bad governance in Nigeria.
Recall that the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, described the statement of Kukah as ungodly, accusing him of playing partisan politics in his Easter message.
Onaiyekan while speaking on AIT, said he believes that genuine religious leaders have a role to play in politics, which include speaking the truth to the power.
“With all due respect to whoever is speaking for the Presidency, he has a wrong idea of politics. Maybe, for him, politics has been just a game they play in the middle of the night. “If you understand politics as to how you organise and manage the community for the common good, we are all supposed to be politicians.”
“Does that mean that whenever we (religious leaders) tell the truth and work to make our country better, we should shut up because we are playing politics? No, we refuse. We will continue to talk.”
“In the whole project of nation-building and good governance, people have different roles to play. The role of Mr President is, of course, the most important in terms of organising everything. The role of religious leaders, if you are a genuine one, should be to be able to speak in the name of God.”
“So, let no one stop Kukah and other religious leaders from speaking from their hearts. They cannot force you (the government) anyways.”
“Kukah is not preparing a coup against Buhari. He is only concerned about the people he sees every day. Kukah is speaking for so many who do not have a voice. What we expected from the Presidency was to hear what Kukah had to say and take the issues one-by-one; maybe give explanations, if there is a need for such, and hopefully consider considering his message in its plans,” Onaiyekan said.
The cleric while speaking on the call by former president Olusegun Obasanjo and Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi for amnesty to bandits and terrorists, said the move will only breed more criminals in parts of the country.