By Sunday Ani, Chukwudi Nweje and Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu

The Presidency, yesterday, knocked critics who have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of nepotism, poor leadership and graft.

Particularly, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, in his Easter message, had lamented that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government had destroyed Nigeria, impoverished and divided citizens along ethnic lines.

But spokesman for the president, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a tweet, defended his boss saying: “Those who divided Nigeria with their mouths, with evil, unguarded speaking, are the ones now accusing President Buhari. How sad! Their wicked intentions shall not come to pass.”

However, Nigerians have flayed Mr. Adesina. President of Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, last night accused him of engaging in propaganda to earn his salary. He said what Kukah said was correct to the extent that for the first time, people have come to openly profess hatred for a particular tribe, a trend never witnessed in the contemporary history of the country.

“Even the Hausa have come to hate the Fulani because of the actions of this government. Today, tribalism and nepotism have become the rule in appointments. So, what Kukah said is correct. We have never been as divided as we are today. Let the government’s spokesman continue with his propaganda. He has to say what he said to earn his salary, but the truth remains. We pray that within the remaining days of this government, the president will do the needful. We feel he still has an  opportunity to mend fences and leave a country where all the people will see as their own, not one where people feel divided, marginalised and hate other tribes because of what is going on,” he said.

President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, said Kukah was not saying anything different from the realities faced by Nigerians owing to the failure of the President Buhari’s government. But he said the Catholic cleric cannot extricate himself from the ongoing crisis, having failed to raise the alarm before the 2015 election. 

He said government had not done well and called on Nigerians not to make the mistake of 2015 in 2023 because any attempt to do that would  spell doom for the country.  “What we should do is to sit down and reflect on how to forge ahead.”

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndibo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said government’s anger with Kukah was more about the person who said it and how it was said.  “The economy is poor and there is no security. We are talking about people that were displaced from their homes, unknown gunmen, terrorists, Boko Haram, kidnappers, cost of living, epileptic nature of electricity, school that is not in session and general dilapidation of Nigeria, but we are saying that in all these, we have a team that can put things in order and that team is the Igbo. Igbo are creative, resourceful and with that tenacity, there will be a turnaround in Nigeria,” he said.

Former president, Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, also berated Adesina for passing the buck by accusing Bishop Kukah of destroying Nigeria. He advised other Islamic and Christian cleric to join the Sokoto Catholic cleric to speak out against all the evils going on in the country.

“Femi Adesina completely misunderstood the meaning of the sermon. Sermon means the ability to speak out to the congregation and that is what Kukah did…Kukah is not destroying anything; he is actually speaking out as a man of conscience, and any clergyman, whether of the Islamic or Christian conscience, who does not speak out about what is happening in Nigeria is a charlatan.”

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) also backed  Bishop Kukah. In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, it said:“The respected Catholic bishop was on point when he

said every aspect of our national life has been grossly broken since President Muhammadu Buhari came into office in May 2015. Everything he said cannot be further from the truth.

“In all ramification, the president and his entire cabinet have failed in the government’s primary responsibility, which according to Section 14 (2)(b) of the Nigerian constitution, is: ‘The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’.

“Monthly, vicious insurgents, killer herdsmen, and gunmen slaughter hundreds of innocent Nigerians in Kaduna, Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Plateau, Taraba, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, and other states. Sadly, these terrorists and enemies of the country walk freely, unarrested and unprosecuted by the Buhari regime while security agents pander around, sparing the killers while the president gives empty marching orders and unsympathetic condolence messages.”

•Failed country

Anglican Bishop of Nike Diocese, Enugu State, Rt. Rev. Christian Onyia, said it was right to refer to Nigeria as a failed state because the three basic things that keep a nation alive have collapsed. He listed those basic things as economy, education and security.

Speaking at a pre-synod press conference of the diocese in his office, he said the situation needed not just prayers by Christians, but the faithful living out their  Christian lives in a manner that challenges  and corrects the anomalies in the country.

“I say it and can go to any length to maintain  that Nigeria as a nation has failed because the three basic things that make a nation survive have collapsed. Our economy has collapsed, our school system has collapsed and there is no security; these are the three things that make a nation either great or fail. Because our economy has failed, this morning as I was listening to news the president is asking for more borrowings, he wants to borrow more. You know Nigeria now lives on borrowed money and will continue to borrow… The Church has prayed and prayed, let’s stop deceiving ourselves, let’s wake up and act the prayer. That is why I have been mobilising our people here to go get their voters card because it is time. We’ve prayed enough, let’s now demonstrate it, let’s choose our leaders, those we feel will have at least the fear of God, who are ready to die.”

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Source: news