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Why Nigeria’s governance problem hasn’t been solved – Bishop Kukah


Mr Kukah spoke Sunday at a virtual session titled "Cast without a plot," where he fielded questions from panelists.


The bishop of the archdiocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, has said that the delivery of governance in the country has been stalled due to “accidental leadership” with no proper succession plans.


He said the men who have ruled the country since independence came to power without being prepared to solve the nation’s challenges.


“Buhari had already said after he tried in 2011 ‘I’m done. I’m no longer interested.’ Yar’Adua had already said ‘I’m done. I want to go back to the classroom.’ Obasanjo was brought from prison to (become president),” he said.


Mr Kukah spoke Sunday at a virtual session titled “Cast without a plot,” where he fielded questions from panelists on the issues around governance, leadership, development and security in the country. The event was moderated by Toyin Falola, a professor of history at the University of Texas,


He noted that the unpreparedness of the nation’s past leaders limits their ability to plan and “think about how they might resolve the problems of the country. This is what accounts for corruption in the system.”


He blamed this on the collapse of institutions, the difficulty to thrive outside of government and for meritocracy to thrive without political patronage.


“What passes for governance is digging a whole to fill a hole because you borrow money to win elections and you see that there is a correlation between the spiral of awarding of contracts and the contracts not being finished,” he explained.


As a way forward, he suggested that it was important to raise the bar of leadership and increase the quality of the good people in leadership.


This, he said, can be achieved through education, which he said can help expand the frontiers of cohesion in the country.


Asked if religion was contributing to the challenges in the country, he described religion as a sword, which does what its handler uses it for.


He noted that to checkmate this, education is key as it helps to drive a counter narrative because it ensures independence of thought and healthy debates.


In response to a question posed to him on Nigeria’s diversity which has been dogged by agitation over suspicions of dominance of some groups over others, Mr Kukah suggested that the government needs to manage the nation’s diversity in order to grow confidence among the citizens.


On Nigeria’s democracy, citing the introduction of sharia to Zamfara, Mr Kukah said attempt at theocracy in some parts of the country have not yielded the desired results.


“What we see (in Zamfara) today, is it what we are proud of? Are we saying what we have in northern Nigeria is what we are happy to say that theocracy is what we are happy to have?”


On the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests that swept across the country last year, he added that it was important that the government began “to take the street seriously.” because that’s where the people reside.


He added that the street is the “most fundamental signpost that we must erect” because “it is on the streets that we speak after the election.”

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