BISHOP KUKAH’S OPTION OF ANARCHY AND THE NEED TO BE VIGILANT — Maiwada Dammallam

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In his Christmas message to Nigerians, Bishop Hassan Mathew Kukah indirectly described Nigerian muslims as ‘a people who possess a pool of violence to draw from’ to resolve their political and sundry issues (emphasis mine). Bishop Kukah is the least expected to make this reckless allegation.

Bishop Kukah is living in Sokoto, the Capitol city of the Muslim caliphate, the symbol of the political and religious identity of Nigerian Muslims. He is a bona fide citizen of Sokoto having fulfilled all the constitutional requirements needed to enjoy the privilege. And Bishop Kukah is not an ordinary Sokoto citizen. He is the ‘Chief Supervisor’ of the Sokoto Diocese, unarguably the most visible and active Diocese in West Africa thanks to Bishop Kukah’s relentless evangelical efforts to undermine the sanctity of the Sokoto Caliphate as the religious and cultural headquarters of the Nigerian Muslims. Of course, thanks also to the caliphate’s hospitality and respect for the Nigerian constitution which allows the desecration of the ideals of the caliphate by anybody willing to do so.

No gainsaying Bishop Kukah has been spitting and rubbing it on the faces of Nigerian Muslims. Not so long ago he was in the news with a crafty agenda of rehabilitating 10,000,000 “Almajiris” (as if “10,000,000 Almajiris” were some chickens he could put in a poultry farm for a special care). That Bishop Kukah didn’t mention how he will source for the 10m “Almajiris” for his over ambitious rehabilitation agenda or which Northern Muslim State will “donate” 10 million Almajiris” to a Bishop for “rehabilitation” leaves a lot of room for critical questions. And questions were asked which answers would pass as correct unless Bishop Kukah provides better answers. Some analysts alleged the “going-to-the-moon-on-a-bicycle” project was a ploy to attract the support of donor agencies while others saw it as a ploy to embarrass Nigerian Muslims particularly the leadership class. Let me digress and explain a bit further.

Given the enormity of the task of taking off the street “10 million Almajiris,” a task that has defied different successive administrations with the administrative tools and financial resources at their disposal, I can’t help but agree that the project was either fraudulent or a simple gimmick to embarrass governments at different levels in the North with the possible advantage of hitting and weakening the center for a possible futuristic political advantage. Bishop Kukah’s romance with a frontline career presidential hopeful will support this view. If it doesn’t, the glaring inaccuracy and inconsistency of the arithmetic of Kukah’s project will do so.

The mischief in Kukah’s project should make sense if we consider that a 2014 UNICEF report estimated there are 9.5 million Almajiri children in Nigeria, making up 72 per cent of the nation’s out-of-school children. One is left confused where Bishop Kukah got his “Almajiri” population figures from which he intend to “patriotically assist” the government or better put, Nigerian Muslims, by taking off the street “10 million” Almajiris when UNICEF, a more reliable agency dealing with these issues is working with 9.5m estimate of “Almajiris” in Nigeria? If this is not proof enough of Bishop Kukah’s deliberate ploy to confuse Nigerians for reasons left for history to unravel, nothing could.

And yes, this should make it easy to see the mischief in Bishop Kukah’s soft instigation of revolt by the military against President Buhari. It’s neither accidental nor coincidental that Bishop Kukah in a foxy manner nostalgically reminisced the virtue of military coups in Nigeria as a response to his unscientific and clearly distorted estimation of the Buhari administration. If Kukah was around and didn’t see reason to instigate the military, on the basis nepotism, to overthrow ex-President Jonathan’s administration during which people like Pastor Oritsejafor exploited the nepotism card which is making Kukah sleepless today to the fullest, going far as embarrassingly dragging the president to public events to celebrate new private jets they acquired while Christians, their flock, were being bombed to pieces every Sunday, sure, there’s more than patriotism to Bishop Kukah’s mating call to the military subtly intended to provoke a predetermined reaction.

Sure, one will also like to know why/how Bishop Kukah forgot to remind the military to chase the administration of Jonathan out when his (Jonathan’s) kinswoman, Diezeni Alieson Madueke was silently elevated to a “junior President,” a position she fully exploited and stole Nigeria dry while Bishop Kukah looked the other way. And if he didn’t notice the conflict between his understanding of nepotism under Jonathan and Buhari, I doubt if it will make sense to him that, if a military coup is an answer to nepotism in modern politics, Jonathan would have been there long before Buhari’s arrival unless, he was so busy saving “10 million Almajiris” in Northern Nigeria to recall how presidential jets were packed full like “Molues” each time the president was to jet out on a national assignment.

With all the noises we made back then, I don’t think Bishop Kukah heard about the embarrassing event in Kenya when GEJ failed to appear at the venue of the event he went to represent Nigeria allegedly because it was a heavy night of boozing and partying by the Nigerian (read: “Niger Deltans”) delegates selected to accompany the president. If Bishop Kukah is angry with President Buhari’s appointment of his kinsmen as his personal aides and a fair number of competent Muslims to head some Federal Government agencies to the point of stirring the emotions of the Nigerian Armed Forces, certainly if he’s aware of the excesses of Jonathan, he would have personally led a private army to chase Jonathan out of the villa unless, of course, his concern is all new and mischievous; a mere ploy to activate the thirst for power of the craziest members of the Armed Forces.

Perhaps, a recent warning by the Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai, in which he indicated awareness about being aware Military officers are being approached to destabilize the current democratic dispensation by some unscrupulous elements. General Buratai concluded his warning by telling the conspirators his eyes are on them. It’s left for the ambitious group to test the resolve of General Buratai. However, they should do so at their own risk!

Of course, just like General Buratai, all eyes should be on divisive elements who are clearly bent on compromising the stability of Nigeria for their selfish and retrogressive ambitions. Encouraging a coup in modern Nigeria is mere expression of hopelessness by desperate politicians and their foot soldiers who are trying to achieve through the back door what they couldn’t through the front. Despite its challenges, Nigeria has outgrown such ancient options and people shouldn’t be hiding behind a false image of popularity and acceptability to promote outdated methods of changing the baton of leadership. Anybody who feels popular and fit enough to lead Nigeria to the promised land should jump into the arena and test his popularity rather than set the country on fire. This is more applicable to people who not only believe President Buhari is doing badly but also believe they are a better option.

Finally, Bishop Kukah is a bona fide citizen of Nigerian with a right to live wherever he want to. It’s wrong for any individual or group to challenge his constitutional right to enjoy this privilege. More so, he is a bona fide citizen of the Sokoto Caliphate having fulfilled all the conditions set by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As long as he is not running around with a machete harming people, he should be allowed to enjoy all rights complete with the right to say his belief whether these beliefs are in conflict or conformity with our those we hold sacrosanct. His case is simple and manageable. The beauty of it is, where his right to say it wrong ends, there another’s right to say it as it is begins. Quid pro quo!

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