Prominent Catholic priest, Bishop Matthew Kukah has spoken extensively about the state of the nation, his visit to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the detention of some of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan's allies.
In an interview with The Punch, the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese expressed indifference about certain issues which we re raised by the interviewer.
NAIJ.com has compiled some of the best quotes from the interview in shorter figments and present them below:
1. Is he an apologist of ex-president Jonathan and a strong critic of President Muhammadu Buhari?
I don’t understand what you mean by apologist. I take it that you are talking about the strange claim that I have always defended former President Goodluck Jonathan at all costs. I am not sure I need to answer this question again because I have already dealt with the issue in earlier interviews.
What you may call defence of Jonathan was issue-specific. I commended that he conceded defeat and what it saved us from. I argued then that it offered us a good starting point for stabilising the nation. Happily, President Buhari has openly sounded even more eloquent and lyrical in his praise of Jonathan. So, if you want to be fair then, admit that President Buhari is also an apologist of Jonathan.
2. Should Jonathan truly be blamed for Nigeria's present woes?
This is a redundant proposition. Nigerians voted out Jonathan to end the economic woes of yesterday. The present is in your hands to assess.
3. President Buhari's anti-corruption battle
Again, when I warned of the challenges of fighting corruption in a democracy, the problems of processes and the capacity of the corrupt to stall and frustrate the system legally, some said I did not want to support the fight.
Isn’t the same government now saying that Mrs. Diezani’s case has been stalled due to lack of resources? Have you heard her name mentioned again? Have we recovered the $6bn they said she stole? Strategy, not raw power, leads to victory.
4. Why the recent visit to EFCC office in Abuja?
Yes, I went to the EFCC to visit the acting chairman, to invite him for an event with the Kukah Centre. As I got up to leave, I told him I needed to do my spiritual duties and then requested to see the detainees.
I had no idea where the location of the facility was, nor did I even know who was there. I was out of the country when I heard my friend, Reuben Abati, had been held but I did not know where. I just said I wanted to greet the detainees, whoever they might be.
Mr (Ibrahim) Magu then decided to accompany me and Abati was the first person I met as we entered the place. There were about seven or so other young men, none of whom I recognised but I greeted and shook hands with them. As I greeted them, Mr. Magu decided to show me their toilet facilities, assuring me that they were up to the standard. Abati, who was beside me, answered in the affirmative and I went on to see the showers, which looked quite neat.
I was told that (Musiliu) Obanikoro and (Femi) Fani-Kayode were there too but that they were in the clinic. Mr. Magu took me there and we met both of them having a meal. They were glad and obviously surprised to see me. We chatted and then, I tried to encourage them, reminding them to trust in God’s will. After that, the four of us prayed together. I blessed them and left.
5. Were clerics truly among those who benefited from the $2.1 billion arms fund?
Clerics are citizens and why should they not benefit from the windfall? If the windfall has turned into a whirlwind or an earthquake, then those who benefited should drown in it. There is no clerical way of stealing and all thieves must and should face the consequences of the law. So, I do not care because punishment belongs to the criminal, not his status.
6. Take on recent probe of judges and justices
Were they probed? I only heard that their houses were broken into. Again, I think the most important thing is that the government must have the reflex and temperament for the principles of democracy and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Impatience (and) indignation, no matter how righteous, are no substitute for the democratic ethos. Everyone is entitled to their privacy and dignity and there are laid down procedures for responding to allegations.
7. Can APC stand until 2019?
Talk of the moment, not 2019. To see a party, which came to power with so much goodwill, now frittering it all away is a measure of how Nigerian politicians understand the dignity, sacrifice and discipline that characterise party politics as a means of building a nation.
The lack of honesty and discipline in sharing the spoils of victory has exposed the party’s moral underbelly.