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Kukah, Utomi worry over deepening inter-ethnic anger



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  • Say restructuring not solution to Nigeria’s problems  

Bishop Mathew Kukah of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese is deeply perturbed about deepening inter-ethnic discontentment in the country.

Delivering a paper at “The Platform’’ – a national discourse forum organised by the Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos, Kukah admonished that anger, hatred and violence cannot solve the challenges in Nigeria  but rather set the country on war path.

Kukah, speaking on ‘Weakness of acknowledged that every Nigerian feels disgruntled about various things. He emphasized the need for positive change of attitude towards encouraging peace, unity and good governance which requisite for Nigeria’s development.

Kukah had declared:  “All of us are unhappy and I believe the president too is unhappy because this is not the country he sacrificed for. The president said he fought a civil war to keep Nigeria as one, but if we fought a civil war over 40 years ago and the problem persists, then it means something is wrong.

“The country has become chaotic. Collectively, we are frustrated in Nigeria. The issue now is, how do we process this anger?” he asked, stressing that “where we are now, anything can go wrong because we are at a tipping point. Nigeria is on a dangerous precipice and we must therefore be careful.”

Maintaining that anger is prevalent everywhere in the country, and the people are seeking means of expressing their anger, therefore, he argued that the best option is to address their grievances and not attempt to silence the people.

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The Bishop, however, insisted that people should continue to enjoy their inalienable right to talk.

He however warned Nigerians against hate speech, which he said is always a prelude to massacre, saying: “we cannot begin to deploy hatred. Before every killing, you have to reduce the other person to justify the killing and that is what you do with hate speech.”

Kukah also regretted a situation where ethnicity is becoming a standard for evaluating persons, as he urged Nigerians to be patriotic, and love one another irrespective of their ethnic, religious and political leanings.

Professor Pat Utomi also contended that although there had been several calls for restructuring and resource control, those could not guarantee good governance, which he identified, as the only solution to Nigeria’s problems.

“Right now, there is a Tower of Babel that is unfolding. People feel they are being shortchanged. People do not want to lose what they are gaining. There are sways of positions. But, part of the challenge is that the Nigerian state grew from a fusion or aggregation, rather than aggression,” he said.


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