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Quoting the Bible, Presidency Tells Kukah to ‘Avoid Foolish Controversies, Dissensions’


Neck deep in choice bible passages, the presidency, yesterday, took a swipe at the recent criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration by the Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, and asked the man of God to “avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless”, quoting Titus 3:9.


The presidency, who cited many bible verses to buttress a lot of its points, said Kukah’s message on Easter Sunday was not to Christ’s death and rebirth so man might be saved, but to damning the government in the most un-Christian terms.


In a release entitled “Kukah’s Virus of Hate”, and signed by presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency, which further accused the cleric of using every opportunity to descend on the Buhari government, was rather busy playing politics with Nigeria’s future.


Asking the Catholic Bishop to drop his cassock and participate fully in partisan politics in order to turn things around as earlier espoused by him, the presidency maintained all the allegations of ethnic, regional divide were sheer innuendo without proof.


The release stated: “As the nomination congress approaches, rumblings within the party rise to an acrimonious crescendo and the troubleshooting market blossoming in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP, which is in desperate yearning for his tested skills, we are surprised – so too are many others – that the Bishop of Sokoto Province, the Most Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah, could still find the time for a lengthy homily on his usual target, Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria.


“For a man, who has been spreading hate for decades, nothing new in the homily, except for the fact that while millions of Christians were remembering the Lord’s crucifixion on Friday, His descent on Saturday, His resurrection on Sunday, and subsequent appearance to his disciples, Bishop Matthew Kukah was playing politics.


“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. Bishop Kukah neglects the Bible’s teachings in James 1:26: ‘If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless’.


“Easter should be a time for renewal, and for hope. For those in authority – both temporal and spiritual – to come together in word and deed, so those who look to them for example can be inspired by their grace.


“This is not a time for religious leaders to play politics, or politicians to play religion. It is a time, as in Titus 3:9 to ‘avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless’.




“Yet Bishop Kukah used his sermon purposefully to make dissensions and quarrels about the law. His accusatory list against the government revealed only his hatred for them.


“Still, when he accused them of division, he gave no examples: merely assertions emanating from his own mouth. His allegation of ethnic and regional divide was innuendo without proof, and he gave none.


“His list of things he claims as broken – from churches to mosques to schools and motorways – belie all those that have been built, and others built anew during this government’s time in office.


“Should he feel compelled for whatever reason to criticise the government for what he views as their mistakes the Bible makes clear how it should be done: ‘Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness’, Galatians 6:1-2.


“If Bishops or religious leaders believe they have a willing audience for tales of government error or fragility, they do an injustice to their flock by filling their ears with talk of division and hateful thoughts. 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”.


Earlier, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had flayed those attacking President Buhari, over recent wave of unrest and violence across the country, saying their negative messages were dividing the country, a development they now blame the president for.


In a tweet on his verified Twitter handle, which did not mention any particular individual, Adesina, blamed those accusing the President of dividing the country as the same set of people, who used their messages in the past to divide the country.


“Those who divided Nigeria with their mouths, with evil, unguarded speaking, are the ones now accusing President Buhari. How sad! Their wicked intentions shall not come to pass, “he said.


Kukah, had in his Easter Sunday message, titled, ‘To Mend a Broken Nation: The Easter Metaphor (on Nigeria)’, stated that, “Our dear country, Nigeria, still totters and wobbles as we screech towards a dangerous and avoidable canyon of dry bones. Nonetheless, we still cling to hope, a hope in the resurrected Christ, knowing as St. Paul; said, ‘this hope does not disappoint us’ (Rm.5:5).


“Nigerians can no longer recognise their country which has been battered and buffeted by men and women from the dark womb of time. It is no longer necessary to ask how we got here. The real challenge is how to find the slippery rungs on the ladder of ascent so we can climb out. Yet, we ask, ascend to where? For us as Christians, ascent is to the loving embrace of the resurrected Christ who is Lord of history.”


Also, a few days after the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) called on President Buhari to resign, citing reasons of mismanagement and others, Bishop Kuka, in his Easter Sunday message accused the federal government of reducing Nigeria to a broken nation and Nigerians a broken people.

Culled from THISDAY

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