Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah has said that he owed his loyalty as a priest to God and not to government. He spoke yesterday as he celebrates 45 years of Priesthood and 10 years as Bishop.
Speaking further in his homily at the epoch-making memoriam day, Bishop Kukah said he is using the occasion to thank his parents and the Catholic Church for giving him the opportunity to be what he is today.
“Nothing I have accomplished as a result of myself. Were it not for the Catholic Church, I would have been nothing. I would not have been a Priest. Constantly remind yourself that everything about you is God’s gift”, Kukah admonished the congregation.
While noting that his happiness is not about how far he has been as a Priest in the vineyard of the Lord, but that he has remained committed to his vow by accepting to preach the gospel with fidelity and constancy.
Bishop Kukah who prayed that those coming behind them should do greater things than they are doing, recalled with nostalgia how he took the vow to keep preaching the gospel with fidelity and constancy not minding whose ox is gored.
And in keeping to this vow, Bishop Kukah said some may construe it that he is causing trouble, adding, “I did not promise to serve the President, serve the Governor, serve any politician and any businessman nor individual, but to preach the gospel with fidelity and constancy.”
To achieve this therefore Kukah stressed that, “Keeping silence in the face of injustice is corruption. The things I keep saying are not for any government, I was saying it before this government came and I will continue to say the same even after this government.
“We are doing it because we must passionately and deliberately fix this country. It’s not by accident that we are here today; we must fix this country together,” he said.
The globally respected cleric who confirmed that God has richly blessed this country said greed has remained our greatest undoing.
“Human greed gives birth to all the problems in the world. This therefore means that human beings propel us to literally cause all the evil in the world.
“If we look at how the world is broken today, we must all ask ourselves what are our individual contributions to the broken world? You must have contributed by not necessarily joining the fight but your refusal to live a life that is sufficiently regulated by the spirit, as the spirit illuminates darkness.
“Religion is not going to fix Nigeria, politics will not fix our country, as those in power in Nigeria are not any different from the colonial masters. They have the same mentality as they still continue to steal the resources which is our collective patrimony and hide the same abroad,” he said.
Kukah admonished Nigerians to be faithful to the word of God and have confidence in the country, saying “the situation where we are today is not about whether Christian is the President or not. We must ask ourselves why the decay in the system? And the simple answer is because we are not doing what God asked us to do as Christians”.
In the political front, Kukah said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not wanting to take over power because they want to do anything better, just as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) do not want to hand over power because they are going to do something different, adding that they are all motivated by selfishness.
This, according to him, explained why in Africa, you could lose elections and lose your life as well.
Speaking on why we should continue to be proud of our country at all times, Kukah said, “God does not make mistakes for you coming from your small village. I talk about Nigeria with pride because before our very eyes, God will do a great thing that we will all rejoice.”
Reflecting on his journey in life, Bishop Kukah said he is happy that aside from preaching the gospel of God, he has in the last 20 years, positively impacted numerous lives through his sustained scholarship programme to students from across the federation.
“And today I am happy that sometimes, somebody will stop me somewhere and say ‘thank you to my Lord Bishop Kukah for making such a huge impact in my life. I graduated courtesy of your scholarship’”.
He further assured that his next plan is how to take 5000 families out of poverty through an empowerment programme.