The Northern Christians Forum of Nigeria (NCFN) has distanced itself from statements credited to Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto criticising President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The group, in a statement signed by its President, Rev. Dr. Josiah Nabut, on Sunday in Barnawa, Kaduna state warned Kukah to avoid using the pulpit for political gains.
According to the Northern Christians, the cleric is derailing and shifting from the purpose of serving the laity and has now become a tool in the hands of politicians.
The NCFN noted that most of Bishop Kukah’s claims against Buhari are rehash from certain political oracles he usually visits.
The group, however, urged Kukah to desist from lending himself to be used by politicians because his gift is to serve all of humanity, not himself.
Read full statement below
We are concerned that the pulpit which should be regarded and treated as sacred is being used as a platform for political schemes by some clerics from Northern Nigeria.
We have decided to intervene to call those who have taken this path of dishonour to desist as it is not in the overall good of the laity and to open the eyes of those who see nothing wrong with this and may want to emulate it.
Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah is a well-educated cleric and highly respected by us who share the same faith with him.
Apart from his deep knowledge of the Bible, he is the man blessed with the power to dissect socio-political happenings around the world and analyse the same for better understanding.
But that has not blinded our eyes to know when he is derailing and shifting from the purpose of serving the laity to serving himself.
A pulpit is a sacred place and anyone gifted by God to mount it should it see as a privilege and use it to serve God and to better humanity; not for selfish or political gains.
This is the difference between Samson in the Bible and other men of God like John The Baptist.
As far as Samson was concerned, the anointing of sheer physical strength that God gave him was for him to flex his muscles, play around and pursue lustful pleasures.
He did not use it for the purpose he was given the power and ended in a most pitiable circumstance.
But John The Baptist for instance knew the purpose of his calling and used it to serve God.
He forsook earthly pleasures, lived in the wilderness and was committed to his divine call until he was rewarded with the honour of Baptising Jesus.
As a man with deep knowledge of the word of God, we expect Bishop Kukah to shun all temptations towards making him serve as a tool in the hands of political godfathers, but the Bishop most times like Samson prefers to use his calling for personal gains.
This has seen him hobbling around politicians for most of the time rather than dwell on the spiritual lane of meditation in quietness, spiritual intercession through self-denial and long supplication via the known path of sacrifice.
He rather cherishes being seen at the State House more than attending to the less privileged.
And the Bishop most times fail to live up to the standard he sets for others.
When Kukah was appointed to serve as the Secretary of the Oputa Panel, he betrayed his bias and contradicted his preachments for equity and fairness, when he accepted the position without looking at the composition of the commission which had Justice Chukwudifu Oputa as chairman.
Equity demanded that as Justice Oputa was a Christian, that the next powerful position in the committee which is that of the secretary should have gone to a Muslim. And Bishop would have been the first to scream if both the Chairman and Secretary of such a sensitive commission have been Muslims.
But he accepted it because he was the one receiving the favour.
Bishop Kukah’s recent attack on the Buhari administration in a supposed Christmas message also exposes his bias as it fails the test of fairness and objectivity.
If one is to ask the Rotary Club question of, is it the truth, is it fair to all to concerned? etc, one would see that the comments by the Cleric are not what he proclaims them to be.
They are at best, rants of political opposition disguised in the cloak of a cleric to appear as objective to deceive many.
The bishop in his Christmas message accused President Muhammadu Buhari of institutionalising northern hegemony by “reducing others in public life to second-class status”.
We ask, is this true? Is it fair to all concerned? The answer is no.
The Federal Executive Council is composed of representatives of all the 36 states of the federation and they all operate equally as a team. We, therefore, fail to see how they have been reduced to second class status.
The Bishop also said there could have been a coup if a non-northern Muslim president does a fraction of what Buhari did.
This is the most unfair comment because it amounts to coup baiting as it is agitating the minds of non-northerners to consider that like of action since their compatriots would have acted in a certain manner if they had been adversely affected in the share of public offices.
But this is not even true as we recall that during the administrations of Obasanjo and Jonathan the scale of public appointments weighed against the North, yet there was no coup.
The Bishop also said that President Buhari deliberately sacrificed the dreams of those who voted for him to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony.
Again we fail to see how this is true as Bishop Kukah did not expatiate on this.
What we know is that the President has given all the regions equal opportunities in his cabinet and in serving the nation.
The Bishop also said Mr President is pursuing a self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion.
We believe this is untrue because the President has been a great force for the peace and unity of this country.
He also accused President Buhari of handing over a majority of the plum jobs to Northern Muslims and that Buhari must pause and turn round.
We observe at this stage that Bishop Kukah has moved from alleging regional bias to trying to use a religious sentiment. This is because he saw that his charge of regional bias failed and he must clutch at straws.
This is the same Bishop Kukah that did not raise his voice when President Jonathan appointed a Christian to replace a Muslim as Chief of Army Staff or replaced a Muslim CBN Governor with a Christian.
Most of the charges Bishop Kukah is levelling against Buhari are rehash from certain political oracles he usually visits.
For instance, former President Obasanjo has once accused President Buhari of trying to Fulanise Nigeria, whatever that means.
We all know that Bishop Kukah was the arrowhead of a peace meeting between Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar to sack the Buhari government in 2019 and when they failed to achieve that through the ballot, they all resorted to illegal means, fruitless prayers and actions to undermine the President.
So Kukah clearly, is not speaking for the northern Christians but for Obasanjo, Atiku and co who are the arrowheads of the destabilization plot against Nigeria.
He should desist from lending himself to be used by politicians because his gift is to serve all of humanity, not himself.