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“Reset the clock before it is too late,” Nigerian Prelate to President on Independence Day

A Nigerian Bishop has, in his Independence Day message shared with ACI Africa, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to review the ideals of his predecessors and chart a new path for progress, resetting “the clock before it is too late.”

“Mr. President, please reset the clock before it is too late. I pray for you that God will touch your heart so that you embrace the ideals of those who came before you. This is not the Nigeria they dreamt of. This is not the Nigeria you went to war for,” Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah says in his message sent to ACI Africa Friday, October 2.

In the statement dated October 1, the day of Nigeria’s 60th anniversary of independence, the Bishop highlights the gaps in President Buhari’s administration.

“In spite of huge resources after 60 years, we cannot feed our people, we cannot keep our people safe, we are still in darkness, we cannot communicate with one another by roads or railways,” Bishop Kukah says.

He continues, “What we inherited, we have either stolen, broken or thrown away. The nation is a wasteland littered with white elephant projects, conceived and abandoned but all paid for. In Nigeria, governance is a criminal enterprise, not a call to service.”

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According to the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese, “Nepotism has become the new ideology of this government.”

In following the ideology of nepotism, he says, “It is estimated that the President has handed over 85 percent of the key positions to northern Muslims and has ensured that men of his faith hold tight to the reins of power in the most critical areas of our national life; the National Assembly and the Security Agencies.”

“By adopting nepotism as a primary ideology, clearly unable to secure our country and people, President Muhammadu Buhari is in flagrant violation of the Constitution which he swore to uphold,” Bishop Kukah says citing Chapter 2 of Nigeria’s Constitution, which underlines the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.

He continues, “Today, our sense of national unity is severely under threat and test. Our common citizenship has been fractured and diminished. The principles of equity, fairness and egalitarianism on which our Constitution hangs have been assaulted and diminished.”

According to the 68-year-old Prelate, “Nigerian citizens feel collectively violated. There is clearly a conflict in narratives and understanding between the principles and ideologies contained in the Manifesto of the ruling party on which he campaigned and the brutal realities of today.”

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Bishop Kukah continues the negative assessment of Nigeria’s leadership and poses a series of questions, which indicate the wrong path Africa’s most populous country has taken under President Buhari’s watch.

“We all face a dilemma: it is our national day but how can we sing a song when our country has become a Babylon? Where are the Chibok daughters? Where is Leah Sharibu? Who are the sponsored murderers who have overrun our land?” the Nigerian Prelate poses in his October 1 message.

He continues to pose, “Today, where is Nigeria’s Unity? Today, who has Faith in Nigeria? Today, where is the Peace? Today, where is the Progress? How long will this lie last before it melts in our faces?”

As a way forward, Bishop Kukah calls on the President “to please urgently make a turn and heed to the voices of Nigeria’s friends and the rest of the world.”

He also highlights the role of the Church in fostering unity and peace in the West African nation saying, “We as a Church are still on out duty post, following the legacy of those who have gone before us. The Catholic Bishops spent the last forty days praying every day for an end to the killings.”

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“With hope in God, but sorrow in my heart, I say to Nigerians, let us stand together. Let us renew our faith. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed,” Bishop Kukah says.