Bishop Kukah, You Need to Stitch Your Reputation On Time -By Eze Alloysius

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Eze Alloysius

Eze Alloysius


Through The Secretary,
Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria
Catholic Secreteriat,

To Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah

Your Lordship,

An Open Letter on Your “National Peace Committee” Visit to President Mohammadu Buhari – An evil Mission In disguise

Kindly permit me a short introduction of myself. I am first a common Nigerian, living and struggling like every other young man on the streets of Lagos. I had training as a football coach and enjoy working with young people at the grassroots for their own development, using football as the tool. But most importantly, I am a Christian and a devoted Catholic. My work and devotion in my local parish goes almost unnoticed as I am not among the categories of people who donate millions or even thousands of Naira during harvest or other special fund raising. However, my faith and devotion as a Catholic is something I cherish and guide jealously. I revere all the church’s authorities and institutions and stand in defence of it when confronted by unbelievers or people of other faith with such a topic as celibacy, homosexuality, contraception, abortion, divorce etc

To this end sir, let me say I appreciate the role played by the church and its leaders in bringing about peace and social justice around the world. In our own local church here in Nigeria, the role played by the church in speaking for the voiceless and the oppressed cannot be waved away. Such role was visible during the leadership of the then Archbishop Anthony O. Okogie as the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). He was unequivocal at condemning the governments of Generals IBB and Abacha when the need arose. Even in recent times, it would be recalled that the CBCN dissociated itself from the present leadership of CAN at the national level, during its unholy fraternity with the world adjudged corruption riddled government of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Sir, the crux of my letter is in your recent “National Peace Committee” meeting with President Buhari concerning the probe of the Goodluck Jonathan government. This meeting has left more questions than answers in the minds of, not only Catholic faithfuls, but also well reasoning Nigerians concerning true development and peace in the country. My dear Bishop, this your unholy fraternity with known and confirmed national criminals, under the auspices of an unsolicited National Peace Committee, has brought about more disillusionment concerning the genuine role of the church’s leadership in fighting social injustices in the society given your revered position in the church and society. Your statement after the widely reported meeting with Mr. Buhari, that Mr. Goodluck Jonathan and his cohorts should not be held accountable for looting the common wealth of the nation because he handed over power after he lost disgracefully in the last elections is saddening to say the least. Initially, I thought you were quoted out of context, hence have waited this long to hear a clarification or rejoinder from you, but all to no avail.

For me, this unholy fraternity with such elements as composed by the members of the National Peace Committee is like a nightmare which I eagerly look forward to waking up from. With my little years working with pro-democracy and human rights organizations, I have come across some of your write ups, researches and speeches; and none of them has portrayed the kind of expression you have made in support of evil and corrupt government like this.

At this point your Lordship, kindly permit me these posers:
(a) Is your membership of this treacherous committee a function of the decision of the CBCN, or an individual thing which you are convinced of?
(b) Was your comment that Jonathan and his fellow officials should not be probed an individual view or the position of the CBCN?
(c) What was your motivation in joining with haste such a committee to stop the probing of the Jonathan’s government, and never found such a motivation to raise a delegation to Jonathan’s government during the job scam of Nigeria Immigration Service where scores of innocent young people died in different parts of the country?
(d) Please sir, it may be right to tell us your motivation in such an unsolicited committee membership, which was not found by you to condemn the several excruciating increments in prices of petroleum products under the Jonathan government or any other government for that matter? Abi did Christ not preach about social justice?

Your Lordship sir, you would agree with me that it is sometimes good to show the eyes the kind of mucus it has secreted when taken out. Without mincing words, your meeting to prevent President Buhari from making attempt at looking into some of the corrupt cases of the past government, as a result of which many of our people are hungry, homeless and defenseless, is evil, anti people, anti Christian and condemnable for lack of better words.

However you may decide to read meaning into this letter, let me hasten to say it was born out of the disappointment felt from the last hope of the commoners expected to speak in their stead i.e. the church and it leaders like you.

I initially wanted to restrain myself from the use of Bible quotation in this letter because I know you are vaster in it than I am after your many years of its studies. But I am tempted by today`s gospel reading from the gospel of Mathew 19:16-22. It is the story of a young man seeking the kingdom of God, who came to Jesus to ask what he could do to gain salvation. Of course we know how Jesus read all the commandments to him and asked him to keep them. And in response, the young man told Jesus how perfectly he had kept these commandments since his youth. But when Jesus asked him to go and sell his legitimate (emphasis is mine, because his wealth was not ill gotten like that of those you were pleading for) properties and come and follow him, the man left a sad man because we were told in the Bible the man was of great wealth. My question now is, since Jesus can ask a man to sell his legitimate wealth and follow him as a way of building great wealth in heaven, have you ever asked these criminals under investigations, on whose behalf you have come to intercede to return their own ill gotten wealth back to the nation? One would have thought that the most honourable thing you would have done for the poor and dying masses of the country whose wealth was stolen by this evil men you beg on their behalf, would have been to call on the looters to return what money or wealth of the nation is in their custody, rather than asking the President to overlook it. Why try to pervert justice sir?

You claimed during your interview on channels TV, part of which was reported in the Punch newspaper, that people are free to ask for your intercession on their behalf to God and to man, including Mr. Jonathan. I absolutely agree with you on this, but you have refused to tell the public that as an intercessor, you are also duty bound to advice (counsel) the confessor and also ask him/her to make amends or return his stolen goods (penance) back to the victim of his or her action. You have equally argued that Jonathan saved the country from disintegration by handing over powers. This argument is disheartening to say the least. Your statement is likened to that of a king who told an arm robbery victim to be grateful to the thieves for only stealing his properties without uprooting his house. In other words, you are telling the over 170 million Nigerians to be grateful to Jonathan for handing over power in an election he conducted and lost woefully, right? Hmmmm! I honestly can’t see light at the end of the tunnel anymore if revered and learned priests of the church could reason along this parochial line.

Where then lays the hope of the nation if those who are saddled with the responsibilities of making our role models are the ones building the evil we are suppose to fight against? I totally disagree with you on that note sir. I am sure sir that Mr. Jonathan is not as dumb as to have forgotten so quickly what happened to the Ivorian Gbagbo and his cronies so soon, hence, why he must have decided to face the lesser evil by handing over.

Let me quickly go back to your argument as an intercessor. My dear Bishop, do you need a special emissary to ask you for your intercession on behalf of the poor Nigerians whose monies are lying in the private pockets of Jonathan and his cohorts before you can talk to them to return the loot? If that is the case, I kindly appeal to you on our behalf (we the poor Nigerians) to go with your National Peace Committee to ask Jonathan and his co-travelers to return all the looted funds back to the nation. Worry less about what Buhari government will do with the monies when recovered. Like you insinuated, the next government that knows its onus will make Buhari accountable if he fails to judiciously spend the monies recovered. You do not anticipate a man will squander his recovered stolen wealth as an excuse for not recovering such wealth from the thieves who stole them. Haba! This is not logical.

In conclusion my dear Bishop, I will appeal that you retrace your steps and desist from unpopular ventures like this. Except you have refused to accept that the looting of our common resources by few persons is responsible for the decadence in our educational system, gave birth to violence and insurgency, created unemployment, promoted ethnic chauvinism, increased death from preventable and curable diseases; then you may continue on this part which I have no doubt could lead to perdition.

Let me advise again by saying that if you refuse to retrace your steps from this evil committee, then your action and involvement will be capable of rubbishing the institution which you represent as a Bishop of the Holy Church of Christ. I have taken time to read some of the responses from people through some of the media reaction platforms online, and I must say that the people’s view, including those of some Catholics, about your recent found love of an intercessor for Jonathan’s government looting has not been a pleasant one.

As for me, I will continue to pray for you as my priest and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your decision in leading God`s people.

A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. But if you decide to stitch this particular one in time, I am most certain it will save more than a million.

I wish you well your Lordship.

Eze Alloysius, a staunch Catholic, is a UEFA grade B coach working among grassroots footballers in Nigeria.