Bishop Kukah challenges presidency to debate over Nigeria’s woes


By Our correspondent

Most Revd. Matthew Kukah, the Catholic bishop of Sokoto, has challenged the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and presidential spokesmen, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, to a public debate over the country’s state of affairs.

This, Kukah said, he would honour at any time and place of their choice.

Recall that following his critical Easter homily, Garba Shehu had called on the Bishop to leave the President alone or resign and join politics, alleging that the clergyman has been spreading hate for decades.

Reacting, however, when Kukah appeared as a guest on a breakfast show on ARISE TV on Tuesday, Kukah maintained that he is emotional and passionate about the issues affecting Nigeria because he has paid his dues with regard to seeking the solution to the country’s problem even at critical points in its history.

He said, “I don’t know whether any of them (Adesina, Shehu) has the ability or the capacity to speak about guilt or no guilt, but let me first of all set that record straight.

“I delivered my sermon to my congregation in the cathedral. So, the bearer of the message is primarily the good people of the diocese of Sokoto.

“Of course, I am not unaware of the state of mind of my two friends, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, when it comes to talking about Bishop Kukah. They seem to suspend reason and go into overdrive.

“Unless of course Garba Shehu has plans to convert to Christianity or he is a closet Christian or he is an anonymous Christian, I appreciate the fact that when it comes to talking, he has not quoted the Holy Quran. All he does is end up with some convoluted interpretations of the Bible and embarrassing in their contexts.

“And I’m surprised that Femi Adesina who I believe is a reverend of the sort in the Foursquare Gospel Church, I’m surprised that he’s unable to help his friend who they sat together.

“But let me simply say that I have made an offer to them and still make the offer that they can choose the venue, choose the time and just let me know. I would like to sit down with the three of them beginning with their honourable minister and both of them. Let us sit down together and talk about Nigeria. I’m ready, I will pay my way, I still repeat that offer to them.”

The Bishop also accused the presidential spokesmen of avoiding issues but engaging in what he called “poor quality writings” in the discharge of their duties.

According to him, “These are the only spokesmen that have spent a lot of time buying, photocopying paper and simply typing away texts. They have been involved in all kinds of writing of the poorest quality, never talking about the issues.

“So, the first thing is to show you their inefficiency. It is that they are used to writing statements as opposed to talking to Nigerians about policies.

“What this tells you is that 99.99% of what they write implies second-guessing what the president’s mind is. They have no contact with the president, they have no contact with government policies and all they are doing is writing on behalf of the president.

“There is nowhere in the world where the job of this nature is being done and has been done so poorly.”