The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, yesterday, said Nigerians were sadder and worse off under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The cleric also re-echoed the sentiments of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who had stated that Nigeria was more divided than ever.
Addressing the 60th independence lecture series organised by the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) in Abuja, Kukah accused Buhari of showing the “greatest degree of insensitivity in managing the country’s diversity”, describing his appointments as “lopsided and against the spirit of a united Nigeria.”
Flaying the Nigerian leader for allegedly failing to live up to the people’s expectations, the bishop submitted: “We have never had it this bad in our history where power is privatised and shared based on religious and ethnic considerations.”
He went on: “We are finding it difficult to manage our diversity. Indeed, this is not a period in our history to talk about merit or meritocracy.
“If Buhari does not visit the idea of people feeling excluded from the system, then he is laying a bad foundation. Even many Northerners are also not happy with the skewed appointments by the President. The truth is, we cannot continue to live in a country where there is no feeling of inclusion because we are not a conquered people.
“Where we are supposed to be is not where we are. When you recruit people based on religious and ethnic considerations, it diminishes the system, create tension and make others feel like they don’t belong to the system. We are in a digital knowledge economy, and the world has no role for ethnic jingoism, religious and cultural arrogance.
“I call on President Buhari to appreciate that Nigerians expected more than what we have today. We have never as divided, cynical, sad and frustrated as we are today. We pray the world will not leave us behind.”
Arguing that the nation remained under a “refined military” rule, the Catholic priest lamented that the incursion into Nigeria’s political landscape by soldiers had caused more harm than good.
To him, most presidents since independence were “accidental, and not prepared for the job.”
He further held: “If the people are afraid of the government, that means there is no democracy. How do we explain that 60 years later, we don’t have electricity, good health system and roads, nor can we give the young ones quality education?
“When we took the flag of independence, Nigerians expected a better life because we have both human and material resources. So, a country where blood is flowing within cannot be taken serious among the comity of nations.”
Moving forward, he stated: “Nigerians must insist that anybody seeking a public office must have the requisite qualifications because the new world does not have a place for our method of recruitments which rewards people on basis of ethnic and religious affiliation”.