By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The presidency has criticised the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, for his continuous criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration, asking him (Kukah) to consider joining partisan politics and see how far he can go.
The presidency’s position was contained in a statement issued on Monday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu.
Shehu was reacting to Kukah’s Easter sermon on Sunday in which he knocked Buhari’s administration over the incessant security breaches, corruption and disunity being witnessed in the country.
Quoting different biblical passages, the presidential spokesman faulted the bishop, saying, “from his pulpit, he devoted his Easter message not to Christ’s death and rebirth so Man might be saved – but to damning the government in the most un-Christian terms.”
While accusing Kukah of neglecting Bible’s teachings, the presidential aide said Easter should be a time for renewal, and for hope and “not a time for religious leaders to play politics, or politicians to play religion.”
“Nigeria knows too well Bishop Kukah’s views of the government. He has made quite clear how much he dislikes them from the day they were elected.
“Whether expressing his political views is a good use or an abuse of religious office is for others to decide. But the people of Nigeria have spoken – twice: they support this government at the ballot box. They have not been swayed by hateful talk from any bully-pulpit.
“We respectfully ask Bishop Kukah to leave government to the voters and the politicians they elect, while he concentrates on his job, as it is expressed in James 1:27: ‘Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.’
“Or else, he should put away his clerical garb, join partisan politics and see how far he can go,” the statement read.