Emeritus, Catholicolic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, says nobody can stop the Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, from speaking against bad governance in the country.
The Presidency described President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s bashing by Kukah as ungodly, accusing him of playing partisan politics in his Easter message.
Cardinal John Onaiyekan
But Onaiyekan, who appeared as a guest on AIT’s breakfast show, Kakaaki, monitored by Vanguard in Abuja, said that he believed that genuine religious leaders had a role to play in politics, which included advancing the course of the masses and speaking truth to power in the name of God.
“With all due respect to whoever is speaking for the Presidency, he has a wrong idea of politics. Maybe, for him, politics has been just a game they play in the middle of the night. “If you understand politics as to how you organise and manage the community for the common good, we are all supposed to be politicians.
“Does that mean that whenever we (religious leaders) tell the truth and work to make our country better, we should shut up because we are playing politics? No, we refuse. We will continue to talk.
“In the whole project of nation-building and good governance, people have different roles to play. The role of Mr President is, of course, the most important in terms of organising everything. The role of religious leaders, if you are a genuine one, should be to be able to speak in the name of God.
“So, let no one stop Kukah and other religious leaders from speaking from their hearts. They cannot force you (the government) anyways.
“Kukah is not preparing a coup against Buhari. He is only concerned about the people he sees every day. Kukah is speaking for so many who do not have a voice. What we expected from the Presidency was to hear what Kukah had to say and take the issues one-by-one; maybe give explanations, if there is a need for such, and hopefully consider considering his message in its plans,” Onaiyekan said.
Speaking on the joint call by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi for amnesty to bandits and terrorists, Onaiyekan said the move would amount to a cosmetic solution to the problems of insecurity and breed more criminals in parts of the country.