Home Columns Ushering the hot seat: A Dilemma Between Friendship and Criticism

Ushering the hot seat: A Dilemma Between Friendship and Criticism

by Ahmed Yahaya Joe
0 comment

Ahmed Yahaya – Joe

US Congressman Tom Lantos (1928-2008) was a survivor of the Holocaust who variously represented the 11th and 12th Districts of California from 1981 up to his death. Born in Hungary, he emigrated to the United States in 1946 at the age of 18.

During his time on Capitol Hill, he co-founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus which is now known in his memory as the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan platform, “to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.”

On Tuesday July 13, 2021 the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah addressed the Lantos Commission.

What did he really say?

The internet never forgets; https://youtu.be/zG9yZX8KyPg

When and where did the Bishop ever assert, “that only Christian schools are being targeted by bandits and terrorists,”?

Why is Bishop Kukah not being quoted as clearly stating to the Lantos Commission that;

“What is happening does not represent Islam. We must avoid falling into the trap of thinking we are facing an existential threat, a conflict between Christians and Muslims because Muslims indeed Northerners have suffered disproportionately more than any other group.

The North and Muslims have suffered perhaps more than other groups in this tragedy that has afflicted the country,”?

The various rhetorical distortions all have a common denominator – a perpetuation of a “We-versus-them” dynamic between Nigerian Christians and Muslims in a veiled attempt to sabotage our national project through the promotion of false and diversionary narratives.

Significantly, none of the responses to Kukah directly quotes him point by point.

All Nigerians of goodwill must therefore remain vigilant.

If so, who are those deliberately distorting Kukah’s testimony to the Lantos Commission? A retrospective advisory of 22 academics from various ethnicities and of different religious persuasions led by cerebral Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman identifies them;

“We are convinced that the sinister and utterly reactionary forces behind this campaign of violent religious politics with the aim of destroying our country are made up of a tiny oligarchy determined to maintain its power, wealth and privileges at all costs including violent and well organized mobs in the name of religion.”

See details in New Nigerian newspaper edition of March, 20 1987 and The Guardian newspaper edition of March 25, 1987.

Lest we forget on June 22, 1981, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa (1936-2020) then governor of the old Kaduna State then encompassing the present-day Katsina State declared,

“Our state is at the heartland of the northern parts of this country, in every sense of history and culture, economically and politically. But we do not belong to the retrograde north of feudalists, slaveholders, crooks, parasites and foreign agents.

We are the cultured north of democracy, liberation and social progress for all the people of Nigeria.”

Interestingly, the next day on June 23, 1981 Governor Musa was impeached from office.

In overall context, what Kukah did at the Lantos Commission was to expose the “tiny oligarchy” and “retrograde north” to the world. He resurrected to contemporary reality the 40 and 34-year-old words of Alhaji Musa and Dr. Usman respectively.

Kukah spoke on behalf of longsuffering voiceless Nigerians. North, South, Christian and Muslim.

According to Khaled Hosseini, the Afghani author of; A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) & And the Mountains Echoed (2013),

“Nothing happens in a vacuum in life: every action has a series of consequences that sometimes takes a long time to understand.”

Beyond the babel of voices, what is the actual relationship between President Buhari and Bishop Kukah?

The attached picture was taken on Thursday, August 27, 2015 at Aso Rock Villa.

 However, by October 1, 2015 Kukah declared;

“I have listened to Nigerians sing the praises of General Buhari as a morally ramrod Muslim, God fearing, a disciplined officer, a patriot, an incorruptible man who is now been adorned with a messianic regalia. We are told that he will take us to the promised land, Nigerians argue by ridding our nation of the devil of corruption. And, as they say, we shall live happy ever after.

I do not disagree with these sentiments. Some like myself have known the man for the better part of twenty years and can even claim some level of friendship and greater familiarity than most (others).

However, I believe that Nigerians are very much mistaken in associating fear of God and goodness.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment