Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Rev. Mathew Hassan Kukah, has denied call for a coup d’etat to topple the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, during his Christmas Day homily.
Kukah said he only expressed his candid opinion on the state of insecurity and dwindling economic opportunities in Nigeria. In the said homily, the highly vocal cleric had accused Buhari of nepotism and postulated that there could have been a coup if a non-northern Muslim President and Commanderin- Chief had done a fraction of what Buhari had done in the last five years.
The cleric, who was reacting to the harsh criticisms trailing his Christmas Day sermon, said he only expressed his candid opinion on the state of insecurity and dwindling economic opportunities in Nigeria. Addressing newsmen at the Catholic Secretariat in Sokoto, Kukah maintained that as a Nigerian he had the right to express his opinions on the state of the nation at any time.
“The reactions are a reflection of every citizen that make up Nigeria. It is sad that when you drop something in Nigeria, everybody goes back to their enclave and abandons the larger picture. I am someone who never takes offence to what people say about me.
“What I said was my opinion based on evidence and what has happened in Nigeria, and if you look into the records, there is evidence that justifies that statement, and if anyone thinks I am wrong, they should come out with a superior position. “It is unfair for a journalist or news medium to report that I called for a coup while expressing my personal view about Nigeria,” he said.
Kukah expressed disappointment over calls by some groups for his arrest on allegation of treason, insisting that he had no grudges against President Buhari, but was only pouring out the frustrations of the majority of Nigerians on the way the current administration has been handling the affairs of the country.
On the calls in certain quarters asking him to drop his priesthood cassock and join the political fray, Kukah said he had no plans to indulge in partisan politics. According to him, if he wanted to join politics, it would have been during the time of late Aminu Kano and not now. “I have no plan and will never play partisan politics for any reason.
Those who link my message to partisan politics are only playing to the gallery. “Take, for instance, brilliant Nigerian youths making comments about Chelsea or Arsenal and have never been to England, does that make them players of such club sides?
“So, why will someone think because Bishop Kukah is speaking therefore he is a politician? People who make this argument are totally ignorant of elementary politics and ignorant of the role of a priest. “The truth is that a lot of us have not seen a priest saying what I am saying.
The truth of the matter is, we are all in politics, but party politics for me, no. I am not a member of any political party and I cannot be. If it comes to voting, I do my rightful duty as a citizen.
“What I am trying to say is that, I am a Northerner, born and brought up in Barnawa village, a suburb of Kaduna and I hold no grudges against any northerner be it Muslim or Christian. I don’t have problems with President Buhari, but I am not satisfied with his style of leadership.
“What I want to see in this country is the prevalence of justice, peace, fairness and courage amongst citizens. What I categorically said is that, using religion as tool of playing politics is unacceptable and would not be accepted,” he said.
Kukah urged Nigerians to sink their differences and join hands to put the country on the right path where every patriotic citizen would contribute to its survival, adding that no Nigerian deserved to die unnecessarily and without a cause.