Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 23 February 2016 | 2,638 times
Fiery clergyman, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, has declared that the release or implementation of 2014 Political Conference report was not the solution to Nigeria’s problems.
One of the major recommendations of the confab which was convoked by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was the creation of additional states in a manner that would ensure parity of the six geo-political zones.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, many stakeholders have been asking him to release and implement the report which they saw as a panacea to the problems ravaging the country.
But Kukah who doesn’t agree with these views, wants the elite to assist those in authority to create a vision that would help Nigerians, particularly the youths, achieve their dream of a greater Nigeria.
The Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto maintained there was nothing new in the Confab report different from the recommendations of the Justice Nikki Toby-Political Reform Conference of which he served as Secretary.
Kukah spoke Saturday at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Abia State, where he delivered a lecture with the theme, “The Dignity of Labour”. The lecture was part of the week-long activities lined up for formal pulling out of Prof Hilary Edeoga as the fourth Vice Chancellor of MOUAU.
Answering a question at the end of his lecture, as to whether the release of the Confab report by the Buhari administration would not bring about peace in the country, Kukah replied in the negative.
“I hear in Nigeria, people say if you release the report of the confab, that will solve all our problems. Well, there is nothing in the confab report, let me put it that way, that will be released in a way and manner that Nigerians think,” he said.
He added: “The confab report was not different from that of the Political Reform Conference which I was the Secretary and which was headed by Nikki Tobi. I know the kind of report that was generated.
“Nigerians have tied all their hopes as if the release or non-release of that report is what our survival depends on.
“One of the reasons why this country remains the way it is, with this kind of convulsion, with so much tension, with so much anxiety, with so much suspicion is largely because we decided to embark on this endless journey of thinking that the solution to our problem lies in creation of states, in creation of local government areas.
“And as we have seen, history suggests very clearly that every time we are creating new states, yesterday's minority becomes a majority and you have reproduced the weapons of tyranny that they will use in terrorising other people. So whether we have new local government, it might never be a solution to our problem.”
The clergyman recalled the inability of some states to pay salaries, same problem that existed when Buhari seized power through the 1983 coup, pointing that the same problem was still persisting, 30 years down the road. His words: “There are some states that are not paying salaries and have not been able to pay salaries for eight months and above. When Buhari seized power in 1983, one of the things he said in his speech was that about eight months that salaries have not been paid. Thirty years later, Buhari comes back and in his speech, he is still saying salaries have not been paid.
“There is no short cut to nation building, it is a difficult exercise but every citizen must sign on as opposed to consigning our fate to those who are merely office holders.”
Kukah called on intellectuals in Nigeria to help in redeeming Nigeria, insisting that politicians alone could not achieve such feat.
“It is the responsibility of the intellectual community in Nigeria to help create a vision about the Nigeria that is possible and the redemption of this country does not lie in the hands of the politicians, it lies in the hands of men and women with enough vision, enough ideas,” he said.
•Photo shows Bishop Kukah.
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