A Scripture For Father Kukah -By Peter Oshun

Filed under: National Issues |
Bishop Hassan Kukah

Bishop Hassan Kukah

 

Far be it from me to preach morality to a priest. It’s on the same order of impertinence as trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs. However, if an ordained priest can go on TV to warn a country so severely traumatised by the rapacious looting of its resources and development opportunities of the dangers of seeking return and restitution of its own property, then there must be something wrong with either his own moral compass, or his understanding of what Nigeria is currently undergoing as a country.

This is a country still dealing with American revelations to our new president that the country has been losing between $10 and $20 billion annually in the oil sector alone, going back only God knows how many years. And Father Kukah believes it is a distraction to hunt down that money?

This is a country whose citizens had virtually given up hope that its public service would ever get round to doing what it was set up to do: serve the public. Incompetence and corruption everywhere, abetted by a feckless president who went on record to say Nigeria’s corruption was ‘over-exaggerated’. Abandoned projects paid for with public money number in the tens of thousands, each having gulped millions of dollars. And Father Kukah thinks it amounts to some sort of witch-hunt to retrieve the diverted funds?

This is a country whose main export commodity, oil, has suffered a plunge in global prices for over a year with no upturn in sight. Government has to be paid for somehow. Now if some looters have kindly helped us to ‘save’ some of our money in overseas accounts for rainy days such as this, what exactly is Father Kukah’s interest in asking that the fellow who presided over such humongous thievery be granted a free pass? And if Jonathan is given a free pass, what moral right do we have to prosecute his subordinates, presumably carrying out his orders, for theft?

Or perhaps Father Kukah fundamentally misunderstands what is going on. Call it probe, investigation, fact-finding or inquiry, so long as due process is followed and the constitutional guarantee of fair hearing is followed, this can only be a good thing for Nigeria.

It can only be a good thing for our institutions. We don’t want strong men abi? Good. Let’s start strengthening our institutions by interpreting ‘Rule of Law’ for the first time as also meaning beaming a relentless searchlight on criminals instead of shielding them.

It can only be a good thing for Jonathan himself, if indeed Nigeria didn’t make a mistake in electing him president. If he is investigated and he is found clean, the ugly rumours will be silenced. His supporters will stop damaging their consciences by defending him in the face of mounting evidence.

You want justice for Jonathan sir? Fine, so do I. Then fight, like I would, not for him to be spared any probe by threatening that his probers would be probed (a very good thing actually!) but by insisting that any investigation carried out be conducted transparently, impartially and in accordance with due process. You cannot advance the private interests of Jonathan to the detriment of the legitimate claims of Nigeria for transparency and accountability. I paraphrase the Socrates of the Supreme Court, the late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa:

“Justice is not a one-way traffic. It is not justice for the (accused)only. Justice is not even only a two-way traffic. It is really a three-way traffic, justice for the (accused person) accused of a heinous crime…; justice for the victim, ‘whose blood is crying to heaven for vengeance’ and finally, justice for the society at large…””

Giving account of one’s stewardship is something Father Kukah should be preaching to Jonathan at the moment, not jesuitically trying to elude by claiming he is absolved from investigation by mere reason of not breaching the constitution by handing over power having roundly lost an election. The example of Samuel, who handed over power to King Saul in Old Testament times is apposite. He personally, publicly and directly called for evidence against his own government after having handed over power. That is what you do if you hands are clean. The scripture is justly famous:

” “And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.”

“They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.”

“And he said to them, “The LORD is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”” (1Samuel 12:2-5)

Surely Father Kukah has read this scripture somewhere before? Please let it reflect in his preaching.

 

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