From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and Founder of the Kukah Centre, Most Revd Matthew Kukah, has called on Nigerians to vote out the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 poll.
Kukah, who is currently in Washington, U.S, spoke during a conference on ‘Civic Space: The Pathway to Social Cohesion and Integration in Nigeria’ organised by the Kukah Centre.
The former Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria lamented that the civil society, which paraded personalities like Olisa Agbakoba, the late Beko Ransome-Kuti, Clement Nwankwo, Chidi Odinkalu and others, went to bed after it succeeded in ushering the country into democratic rule.
The cleric said the situation resulted in the confusion in the country where members of the National Assembly are working to see that the civic space is closed instead of opening up.
He said the situation was not unconnected with the fact that the nation currently parades people who are in politics with no track records nor antecedents of engagement with public life.
He said a close look at the profile of those who are currently in power from top to bottom would show why the system is literally crumbling and why the struggle for human rights is now being renewed.
Kukah further lamented what he termed a very dangerous path that the nation is threading, whereby the young people were feeling totally disempowered, even as he said Nigerians were faced with a nation that consumed its own children.
He added that Nigerians were also faced with the prospects of an uncertain future.
Democracy, Kukah said, was not an exercise undertaken by good men and women which was really what Nigerians had always fallen victim to
While saying that Nigerians assumed that somehow, managing a diverse country did not require some level of deep intellectual reflection and understanding of the complexity of managing a diverse society such as Nigeria. He said now that the barbarians are at the door, how to fight back was the challenge facing the nation.
“Going forward, the tragedy that has now afflicted our country and where we find ourselves, is no excuse for us to become despondent. In 2023, whether it happens or whatever the case may be, we prayerfully hope it happens, but it gives us another opportunity to ask ourselves and think about the mistake that we made because we are not innocent in the choices that we made. Most of us are complicit despite the fact that of course, using the agencies and agents of state, those in power always continue to seek to close the space.
“The challenge for us therefore, is to understand that democracy is a work in progress. All of us engage in democracy and opening up the civic space must realise this is a journey, it is a long journey, we must wear the shoes of the long distance runner and every generation face its own challenges and pass the challenges up to the next generation. But whatever we pass to the next generation must be a light of hope,” Kukah said.