I love reading this man. I cherish listening to him. I relish hearing him. He is a man after my thoughts. Everything he says excites me. It moves me to the marrow. And it sticks…..CONTINUE READING HERE
Bishop Matthew Kukah! The fiery Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Sokoto State. He is also member, National Peace Committee. He did it again last weekend. In his usual candid element.
This is how. He won’t deviate nor succumb. He’s faithful to his faith. He won’t mince, mix or miss words. He would not risk that for anything. And that’s what has kept him going. It stands him out in the crowded multitudes.
But this day he was terribly downcast. He was baffled, dazed and dazzled. How the judiciary and priests have sucked themselves so low. They willingly walked themselves down the very below. They are sinking deeper as the clock ticks.
This Kukah couldn’t have spoken less in that auspicious and eminent gathering. He has zero tolerance for pretence. He is not cut for it.
Any assembly is just a good opportunity. Inside or outside of the church, he cries out loud and clear. You can’t feign ignorance of his reverberating voice. It pierces through silence and noise. It won’t disturb. It rather soothes and reduces pain. It relaxes strained nerves.
The flaming priest has a distinct disdain for frivolities and trivialities. He wouldn’t touch them with the longest rod ever. They are irritations. And he flees from them whenever he’s unlucky to encounter one.
That Friday, November 24, 2023, was another day. The organisers succinctly tagged it right: Justice Summit. It was the eighth edition.
Immediately Kukah received their invitation, he jumped for joy. He was exceedingly excited. Another great chance dropped on his lap. And for his quick taking.
Kaduna, the centre of the North, was the appropriate venue. It was the theme of the summit, “Electoral Accountability and Democratic Stability,” that spurred him. It brought the finest out of him.
It is his deliberate intention. He speaks the bitter truth to the throne. And he did it consciously: “I am saddened by the fact that the judiciary has now found itself being sucked into politics.”
Judiciary is not alone in this predicament. It has a willing ally. They are like twins: “I would have also been sad – and I’m also sad – to the extent that even us priests in the church are getting sucked into politics because you will never come out the same.”
Sure. This is Kukah’s height of sadness. The result is disgusting: “You go to wrestle with a pig inside poto-poto (mud). You may defeat the pig, but you cannot go around showing yourself to see what you look like.”
This priest is down-to-earth. Our own eerie brand of politics is murky. Only pigs thrive in such water. It’s stunning, stinking, dirty. It has no look-alike anywhere. It begins and ends with us.
We can boldly testify. Our politicians are swimming in murky waters meant for only pigs. Kukah strived hard to deodorise them. He did clarify that he was not referring to politicians as “pigs.” We can understand. But by their fruits we can identify them by ourselves.
What an honest self-examination! Kukah would spare nobody. Not even his very own constituency. His standard remains the same. Not minding whose ox is gored.
He is piqued. The actions and inactions of his co-priests in recent times worrisome. They fumbled all the way. They got deeply involved in the last elections. They fell flat for emotions and sentiments. And they got themselves thoroughly messed up. Kukah can’t easily do away with such nauseating memories.
True, politics has its own rhyme and rhythm. Yes, its tempo and sound. Largely in contrast to someone who has certain moral responsibilities. Evidently, our politicians have none of these. That’s why they behave the dastardly way they behave.
Kukah again: “Elections will always give us what I call unintended consequences. But, also, it is important to understand that a contest is always a contest.
“And you use the experience of this to prepare for the next contest.” Not at all with the species of leaders we are endowed with. Every new election is always worse than the previous. Gifting us a better yesterday. That has been our lot.
But we have a delicacy in the ilk of Kukah. And he serves it steaming hot any day. Even before you ask for it, he generously obliges you. The aroma tags along anytime he decides to dish it out.
Good news! Kukah is not in this all alone. The military aligns with him. Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa, confirmed that much. He should know where the shoe pinches. He didn’t hide anything from the House of Representatives that Tuesday. He roared in utter frustration:
“I have been in the North East. There were a lot of Boko Haram elements that have been captured. You use all your efforts to make an arrest, you hand them over. And before you enter your vehicle, the man has been released on bail.
“Now you have risked yourself in doing that. By the time he is released, he goes to tell the people the person that arrested him. Your family members or you are at risk.”
That’s really scary and frightening. This got the General thinking the unthinkable: “It’s getting to a state in which security forces may not want to make further effort.”
He summoned courage. He churned out a more damning revelation: “In the South-South, the last ship that was arrested was arrested 10 years ago. The ship went and changed its name, colour and came back. By the time they handed over the ship and before you know it, it is released.”
The concerns of the CDS must be thoroughly interrogated. And put in proper perspective. It deserves this luxury from all of us.
Even then. A new form of judiciary’s peculiar mess was put on display in Kano. It reared its ugly head in perfect recklessness. Judicial shenanigan! Deep underneath lies the obscenity in our clime, albeit in the judiciary. The theatrics playing out in Kano are not pleasant. Neither are they palatable.
The court is the utmost culprit. It has confined rule of law to a stinking dustbin. It opted for disorderliness and lawlessness. Those stoking the Kano fire are totally ignorant.
Kano; ancient and modern, has never been a pushover. And it won’t be now. It is a restless and resilient city. That is the beauty of its chequered history. Its huge army of almajiri (masses) has always been its strong strength. It deploys it at will. That’s a timely warning.
The judiciary is in the dock. It’s trying itself on every side. It’s stripping itself of its myth, trust and respect. It asked for it. And it is getting it in good measure.
Its confidence-deficit is on the high side and still counting. Who will rescue the judiciary? It voluntarily offered itself as a scapegoat. To be whipped, tossed and toyed with.
Imagine. The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, still has the temerity to beat his chest. What guts! He is not on the same page with us.
Pity! He didn’t see what we saw. In one breath, he admitted: “The judiciary, as it is today, is more deserving of public trust and confidence than ever before.”
In another, he dared: “We should never be overwhelmed by the actions or loud voices of the mob or crowd and now begin to confuse law with sentiment or something else in deciding our cases.”
This is odd. It’s like putting salt on a festering injury. Your office is revered; your utterances should be sanctified. Such things are better discussed with the Justices in your hallowed chamber. Not in public glare. It is demeaning. It reeks of arrogance.
You alone brought a case against your derided mob and crowd. You prosecuted and stood as the sole and principal witness. In your rare privilege as CJN, you pronounced them guilty.
Your lordship did all this outside of a courtroom! You desecrated the sacred temple of justice. The very temple you took oath to adore.
It’s now crystal clear what informed recent rulings in election cases. And, more importantly; how justice will tread in times to come.
You heavily pounced on the mob and crowd. Those you detest with passion. And defended your judgment with every drop of blood in you.
See what happened in Kano. The Appeal Court ruling against itself simultaneously. It can only happen in Nigeria.
Perhaps, the reason President Bola Tinubu would want to be mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records. He deserves more than a one-off mention. In fact, one should be created for him and his co-travellers.
Judiciary needs to be purified inside-out. All of us are major stakeholders in this project. Judges are no saints. They are not made in heaven. They live among us all. They feel what we feel. They have wants, needs and expectations. We need to acknowledge all that.
So? Let’s resolve: We must be critical, faithful and honest to ourselves. If at all we desire to get out of the woods. We’re not in a dilemma, but at a crossroads. And the choice is solely ours.
Above all, the root cause has to be uprooted. Let all election petitions be decided before swearing-in. From “top to bottom.” It’s the first thing to do.
That will settle all these judicial atrocities. And that process should start even now. Do we have the will and the muscle?….CONTINUE READING HERE