Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto , has said that relevant political or military actors in Nigeria must understand that agitations springing up in the country, like that of the Indigenious People of Biafra, IPOB is because of the failure of governments to address the issues negatively affecting the Nigerian people.

Kukah gave his position on Wednesday while speaking virtually as guest lecturer during the 8th Annual Public Lecture on the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide, Ogun State, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, ahead of his 80th birthday celebration on March 2, 2022.

The theme of the event was; “Nigeria, A Country of Many Nations, A Quest For National Integration.”

Speaking on agitations across the country, the cleric said that contrary to speculations in certain quarters, these reactions are the result of actions or inactions of the Nigerian state.

He said that if the military leaders who fought or experienced the Nigerian-Biafra civil war, had gone on to positively transform the nation, IPOB and other agitators will not be recalling the past.

“As you know, when IPOB started their case, even the elderly igbos themselves said look, you have never fought a war that’s why you are saying what you are saying. But the people said we are saying what we are saying because we actually fought a war and that war is over and we’ve got nothing to show for it because our conditions have not changed.

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“So I make the point therefore that we must not be mistaken in thinking, especially our retired military people tend to say, people don’t know what war is, and it is true. But if you fought a war, the challenge of those who have won the war; in our case we said no victor no vanquish, but my argument and the evidence out there before us is that we should not have been where we are now but we are where we are today because we failed grossly to confront the issues of ensuring that a war never happens again,” he said.

Kukah explained that where Nigeria is going and where it should be has occupied his attention for the past 30 years, adding that the country is now suffering for “identity politics” where people respond to perceived threat by either economic or political decisions or policy decisions they feel is against them.

“What we are faced with is what the world refers to as identity politics – that is, the consciousness of our worth is driven by both a perceived threat, fear and anxiety created by a circle of social, political divisions that are directed at excluding a particular group.

“People will congregate based on identity and use it to mobilize for their cause, so people then tend to act in anger, they become defensive, they identify an enemy who could be from the East, West, North, it could be Igbo, Yoruba, Christian, Muslim and as we saw with Hitler, it could be the Jews,” he said.

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He cited the recent coups witnessed in some West African countries, praying that “this contagion does not spread.”

“The temptation of a military coup is largely because, if African leaders do not deal with the practical issues of elections, electoral outcomes, the wishes of ordinary people, we will continue to make ourselves vulnerable to these temptations,” he maintained.

The cleric said Nigeria will be united and on the right track if good governance is entrenched.

“Ordinarily, I agree with Chinua Achebe, that there is nothing wrong with Nigeria but we have continued to play the ostrich refusing to face squarely the reasons for the inability of politics to deliver on good governance.

“We can still gather the debris of our broken bones and continue this very difficult, challenging journey to national greatness. We cannot outsource this obligation, either to God or to anybody for that matter.

“Can you imagine that after 60 years of independence, despite the trillions and trillions that have been spent, we still cannot provide ourselves with electricity, adequate housing, roads; we are still romanticizing about the past.”

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