Past Nigerian leaders weren’t prepared for power, says Kukah

Bishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has said Nigeria’s Presidents since independence came to power without preparing to solve the nation’s challenges.

Kukah spoke during a virtual session moderated by Toyin Falola, a professor of History at the University of Texas in the United States (U.S.A), titled: Cast Without A Plot, monitored by The Nation.

He said: “President Buhari had already said, after he tried in 2011: ‘I’m done. I’m no longer interested’; Yar’Adua had already said: ‘I’m done. I want to go back to the classroom.’ Obasanjo was brought from prison (to become President).”

The cleric stressed that the unpreparedness of past leaders limited their ability to plan and “think about how they might resolve the problems of the country”.

He added: “What passes for governance is digging a whole to fill a hole because you borrow money to win elections and you see that there is a correlation between the spiral of awarding of contracts and the contracts not being finished.”

Also, Kukah has said nobody will gain anything if Nigeria breaks up.

The cleric said during a virtual interview with Toyin Falola, academic and historian, on Sunday.

He said as Nigerians, we are bound together and nobody should pretend we are not.

“I don’t think any Nigerian, in his right sense, should pretend nothing binds us together. This 923,768 kilometre square that Lord Fredrick Lugard gave us binds us together. All of us are now global citizens, but I know all of us are still nostalgic about this country. It is not going to remain like this, and let none of us be under any illusion that anybody stands to gain anything if this country breaks up. Nobody is interested in this country breaking up. But the point is that who we were yesterday is no longer who we are today,” he said.

But the bishop said Nigerians were angry about the worsening situation in the land.

He noted that it is not too much to ask for security as it is the government’s responsibility.

“The challenge is for us to create an environment that is conducive for peace. This is why I worry about this government, because the government has not created a narrative that points in a direction that we should be going.

“We don’t expect the President to do everything. We are not expecting angels, but it is that a nation has to survive on a vision about where we are going and how we are going to get there. But when you raise this question, people begin to think that you are an enemy of the state or that you are inciting citizens.

“You don’t need to incite anybody in Nigeria because government has created an environment for that development by making loose a bunch of people going around killing everyone. Who do you need to incite? You can only incite the government to take its responsibility to secure our country. It is not too much to ask.”

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