“Nigeria will be great again”, Catholic Bishop in Easter Messages, Urges Government to Take “path of national healing”

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto in Nigeria. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Sokoto

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah  of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto in Nigeria has expressed optimism about the future of the West African nation.

In his 2024 Easter Message issued Sunday, March 31, Bishop Kukah laments the current state of the country, and urges the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government strategize on how to turn from the “Golgotha of pain” to the “dawn of the resurrection”.

“For over sixty years, our leaders have looked like men in a drunken stupor, staggering, stumbling and fumbling, slurring in speech, with blurred visions searching for the way home,” the Nigerian Catholic Bishop laments.

Nigeria’s political leaders have over the years chosen “the feast rather than the fast,” he says, and adds, “We are today reaping what we sowed yesterday.”

The vocal Nigerian Catholic Bishop, who is also known for good governance advocacy faults Nigeria’s political leaders for engaging in graft, saying, “The corruption of the years of a life of immoral and sordid debauchery has spread like cancer destroying all our vital organs. The result is a state of a hangover that has left our nation comatose.”


In his 2024 Easter Message, the 70-year-old Catholic Bishop, who has been at the helm of Sokoto Diocese since his Episcopal Consecration in September 2011 expresses optimism and calls for hope.

“Easter is a time to further reflect on the road not taken. It is a time to see if this Golgotha of pain can lead us to the new dawn of the resurrection. Nigeria can and Nigeria will be great again. Let us ride this tide together in hope,” Bishop Kukah says.

Such hope can be sustained if the government puts in place strategies to get the country on the path of recovery, he says, and emphasizes, “The federal government must come up with a robust template for how it wishes to reverse and put us on a path of national healing.”

The Nigerian Catholic Church leader also calls for strategies to end favouritism, saying, “There should be a deliberate policy of inclusion that would drastically end the immoral culture of nepotism.”

“The government must design a more comprehensive and wide-ranging method of recruitment that is transparent as a means of generating patriotism and reversing the ugly face of feudalism and prebendalism,” Bishop Kukah further says in his March 31 Easter Message.

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In the strategic planning by government, he continues, “there is a need for a clear communications strategy that will serve to inspire and create timelines of expectations of results from policies.”

“There is a need for clarity over questions of the who, what, when, and how national set goals are to be attained and who can be held accountable,” he says.

The Local Ordinary of Sokoto goes on to fault security agencies in Africa’s most populous nation for continually employing strategies that do not bear fruit.

He says, “The notion of rejigging the security architecture is a hackneyed cliché that is now at best, an oxymoron. It is difficult to fathom our current situation regarding the ubiquity of the military in our national life.”

“It is impossible to explain how we can say we are in a civilian democracy with the military literally looking like an Army of occupation with an octopussean spread across all 36 states and Abuja,” Bishop Kukah says.


The Nigerian Catholic Church leader says he finds it regrettable that “trillions of naira continue to go into bottomless pits with little measurable benefits. Our military’s professionalism cannot be diluted by the recruitment of hunters, vigilante groups, and other unprofessional and untrained groups.”

“This is not sustainable because it leaves the military open to ridicule and perceptions of surrender. Fighting insecurity is now an enterprise. I believe our security men and women can defeat these criminals in a matter of months. All we hear and see are fingers pointing to the top. No, this must end,” Bishop Kukah says.

He expresses appreciation to President Tinubu for announcing that kidnapping and banditry are now to be treated as acts of terrorism, and adds, “If so, we need to see a relentless and implacable plan to end this menace with a definite deadline for bringing these terrorists to their knees, no matter what it will take.”

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto urges the Nigerian President to “continue on the path of probity, to take further steps to cut down the overbearing costs of governance and to put in place more comprehensive plans towards achieving both food and physical security across the country.”

“Merely distributing money through already corruption-riddled structures is not enough and diminishes the dignity of citizens,” Bishop Kukah says.

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He calls upon relevant authorities to “give our people back their farms and develop a comprehensive agricultural plan to put our country back on the path of honour and human dignity.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.