The trial of Bishop Kukah

Poor Mathew Hassan Kukah! He has had it up to the nape of his cassocks. The torrents of abuse have now transformed into a tsunami of vilification. It was just as well that the week ended with the congregation of Catholic Bishops removing the ground from under Bishop Kukah by wholeheartedly supporting President Buhari’s anti-corruption hurricane.

Never in Nigeria’s public history has a hitherto respected man of god tumbled so fast in public esteem. Never has a man so widely admired for his cutting intellect become a master of pompous equivocation and fatuous obfuscation. Never has the implacable Nigerian intellectual lynch mob been so fast and furious in dismembering and devouring its victim.

It is a sad spectacle, and a consuming Nigerian tragedy to boot. Many of us who consider ourselves friends and admirers of the gutsy and cerebral Bishop of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese can only watch in pained silence as the man of god appears to unravel in a drama of self-demystification. But in revolutionary situations, everybody must answer their fathers’ name and one must be ready to drop a friend because of principles rather than drop principles because of a friend.

These must be revolutionary times in Nigeria indeed. It is only in revolutionary times that people lose total respect for priestly cassocks and other symbols of traditional authority. It is only in revolutionary times that the sacred become desacralized in bitter profanity and people move from hero to zero. The man of the people becomes the enemy of the populace. The dark night does not recognize sacerdotal distinction. As the mob brays in implacable distemper, the expiring ruling class that has held Nigeria hostage must note this development.

Bishop Kukah’s superiors in the Nigerian Catholic nomenklatura must be clicking their tongue in sagely relish. A child can have as many new clothes as an elder, but he can never have as many rags. Many of the superiors of the Sokoto Bishop must be rubbing their palms in smirking satisfaction. Only the barely discerning would not have noticed a certain froideur, a chilly discomfort among the Catholic hierarchs as Kukah rose to secular apotheosis as a liberating theologist and friend of the rich and powerful at the same time. As the Yoruba will put it, nobody must stop a youngster from climbing the hill of Langbodo.

In retrospect, perhaps it will be said that the Sokoto bishop chose the wrong time to cross the Homeric frontline between the Nigerian powerful and the teeming powerless; and between whistle blowing against the powerful or becoming a loud and brash megaphone of its rearguard rally. Not even the most gifted and proficient trickster knows when the trick will fail, and in revolutionary situations one cannot be too careless in his choice of enemies.

The last straw, it seems, is Kukah’s stirring at the behest of the controversial Peace Committee. Let it be bluntly and baldly stated that this committee is not about peace at all. It materialized as a last ditch ruling class initiative to force General Buhari to accept dishonorable defeat and hence to stave off the revolutionary turmoil and anarchy that would have accompanied electoral miscarriage. It is a wearisomely familiar Nigerian ploy to impose “peace” in the absence of social and political justice. But they misjudged the mood of the nation and the fact that Nigerians have had it with their ilk.

Bar a few misguided ones who are glad to be dredged up from peat bog of political oblivion and the odd naïve do-gooders, most of our newly minted peaceniks are compromised scoundrels working for the old regime and traditional mischief-makers on a typical pay day. Available reports indicate that some of them were already privately gloating about the inevitability of a Jonathan victory. They came to bury Buhari and not to praise him. But it bombed spectacularly. Perhaps this is one of the “spectacular” things that Jonathan did which Kukah referred to with deliberately oblique disingenuity.

Having failed in their core mission, they have now transformed into a “peace” council to disturb the peace of the nation, and to stalemate the inevitable sanitization of the polity. They have gone about endlessly chattering about due process and the fact that this is a democracy and not a military order. One wonders how democracy and due process would have fared had they succeeded in suborning the sovereign electoral will of Nigerians. Let this be the last time President Buhari will give them a decent hearing.

Kukah’s attempt to defend the motive of the peace council has brought a gale of angry denunciations on the internet and social media with many of them charging the Catholic supremo with perfidy and betrayal. This columnist read about three hundred of these angry rebuttals and only a few were willing to stake their integrity on the integrity and honesty of the bishop. It was redolent of pent up fury and misgivings, as if they have been waiting for Kukah to cross the line.

Kukah’s attempt to correct a purportedly mischievous slant that gave the impression that the council went up to President Buhari to bargain for a soft landing for the disgraced and discredited Jonathan drew even more tempestuous tirades. And then in the unkindest cut of all, a shadowy and hitherto unknown organization going by the name of CUPS came out to directly impugn Kukah’s integrity and claims to probity in a well-detailed allegation of sleaze and corruption.

This column will refrain from publicizing the salacious and insalubrious details, but they go to show how far Bishop Kukah’s stock has fallen. It is a remarkable development and no matter his public grandstanding and defiance of the gravitational pull of seamy scandals, the plucky priest must be having some anxious private moments. Even if they remain at the level of mere allegations, that they are ever broached at all shows how public perception can be influenced by the power and putrescence of offensive associations. The bishop’s cup is full and it overflows indeed.

It may well be too late to ask the august catholic prelate to return to base. For a man of such calm and deliberate mien, such choices are not lightly made in the first instance. As we have said, everybody must answer to his patronymic in these perilous times. Like a savage hawk remarkable for its hunting prowess and ferocious precision, the Nigerian ruling class knows the particular moment to home in on its intended prey and which foibles and personal peccadilloes to zero in upon.

In a postcolonial society infamous for its political dysfunctionality , the transition from civil society activist to state actor is a very precarious affair indeed. In Nigeria, only few people, if any at all, have been able to manage the transition without major scars. This is because inchoate and disadvantaged civil society feels abandoned and neglected by one of its own. Like vultures waiting for the ethically deceased, they bid their time waiting to take their pound of flesh or carrion and the quiet hysteria of private abandonment soon gives way to the public hullabaloo of angry and messy divorce.

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese seems to have had it coming for quite some time. There might have come a time when a practical patriot like Kukah might have come to the conclusion that it might be better and more nation-rewarding to remonstrate with the Nigerian powers that be at close proximity than to demonstrate against them from a far distance.

As a minority scion of the most minority of ethnic formations, Kukah might have concluded that he stood no chance raising hell among the hell-bound majority monsters—as he himself once memorably dismissed Nigeria’s major ethnic formations. It may well turn out to be a bridge too far, but in the brutal power calculus of Nigeria’s political coliseum, innocence is not a virtue but a symptom of suicidal naivety.

Who will then speak and speak up for the Nigerian minority ethnic subaltern? As a devoted watcher of Nigeria’s volatile and explosive political gymnasium, this columnist entered into a private correspondence with the father who art in Kaduna then over his seemingly seamless transition from civil society activist to state actor. Yours sincerely wanted to know whether the transition was conscious or seemingly unconscious. It was a particularly illuminating exchange whose details must remain private and confidential.

What did it for this columnist was Kukah’s out of proportion reaction to a Soyinka piece detailing the ills and ailments of the Nigerian postcolonial state. As usual with the implacably agonistic Nobel avatar, it was a merciless and astringent critique dripping with venom and vitriol. The old literary lion does not take hostages in these matters. But anybody who has watched Nigeria’s descent into political infamy over the decades would side with Soyinka’s angst about the fate of his beloved country.

What seemed to have drawn Bishop Kukah’s particular ire was Soyinka’s damning conclusion that nothing good could come out of the Nigerian state as it was constituted. It is interesting and intriguing that Soyinka’s response to Kukah was a mixture of puckish humour and elderly irritation. Subsequent events seem to have proved the Nobel laureate right.

Thereafter, certain changes in Kukah’s public personae became noticeable as he moved closer and closer to the sanctuary of state power. An imperious swagger seems to have been added to the bouncy gait even as a pompous and pomaded puffery became the order of the day. A moody irascible brio and prickly condescension became the sine qua non of Kukah’s public engagements. The bishop’s secular beatitude was in full progress.

But such beatitudes do not beautify, and neither do they ennoble in the tumultuous and turbulent context of a postcolonial nation roiling in crisis and contradictions. In such circumstances and situations, it is the bounden duty of all men of god to speak truth to secular power and not to become carpetbaggers and reactionary rearguard rallying points for the retrogressive and anti-progress rump of a failed ruling class.

The current pope is an outstanding exemplar of this sacred moral responsibility to the powerless of the earth; and so was the old much admired and revered Polish pope, the illustrious Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. We dare say that in the last decade and a half beginning with the Oputa Panel, Bishop Kukah has been rather remiss in that historic and sacred duty. If it is not too late, this gifted priest should find his route back to public restitution and redemption.




Buhari to Abdulsalami committee: No mercy for looters

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the prosecution of those who have stolen national resources will begin in a matter of weeks.

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina quoted Buhari as saying this yesterday during a meeting with members of the National Peace Committee headed by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Buhari told the committee that his government was “irrevocably” committed to doing all within its powers to break the vicious cycle of corruption, unemployment and insecurity in Nigeria.

“Nigeria has to break this vicious cycle before we can make progress”, President Buhari told Abdulsalami’s committee.

The president also disclosed that his government was diligently getting facts and figures pertaining to the nation’s stolen funds, before proceeding to the prosecution of identified culprits.

Buhari also told the committee that under his leadership, the Federal Government would ask for the return of stolen funds stashed in foreign banks and ensure that those who stole the funds are put on trial in Nigeria.

He also disclosed that his administration was reorganising the country’s revenue generating institutions as part of its actions to address the national problems it inherited.

He that a single treasury account had been established for all Federal revenue to ensure greater probity, transparency and accountability in the collection, disbursement and utilisation of national funds.

“We have really degenerated as a country. Our national institutions, including the military, which did wonderfully on foreign missions in the past, have been compromised. But we are doing something about it. The military is now retraining and morale has been resuscitated.

“As Petroleum Minister under Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1970s, I could not travel abroad until I had taken a memo to the Federal Executive Council asking for estacode. Now, everybody does what he wants.

“That is why security-wise and economically, we’re in trouble,” President Buhari told his guests, adding that those who have stolen the national wealth “will be in court in a matter of weeks and Nigerians will know those who have short-changed them”, Buhari said.

The presidential spokesman said Buhari granted the National Peace Committee, formed before the 2015 general elections, the permission to transform to National Peace Council.

He also quoted Abdulsalami and members of his committee as urging the Federal Government to be guided by the rule of law in its fight against corruption.

Members of the National Peace Committee who accompanied Gen Abubakar on the visit were Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Others were Justice Rose Ukeje (rtd), Prof Ameze Guobadia, Vanguard Newspaper Publisher, Sam Amuka, Dame Priscilla Kuye, Senator Ben Obi, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, and Dr Arthur-Martin Aginam.



1.For once as a Nigerian of over 41 years of age, a father of four kids (whose future hangs in the balance) with little hope on the leadership of their country, a catholic by faith, Ibo by tribe, I have now witnessed a catholic upright priest who has taken the bull by the horns and spoken the truth as it is with no fear or favor and devoid of sentiments. I am now beginning to have belief that God is still interested in the affairs of this country. To God I give the glory.

2.You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free thank you father Mbaka for saying the truth even if humans critize you God will lift you up

3.The man is speaking the minds of the downtrodden who did not have a voice in GEJ’s administration! change is the answer

4.Regardless of any past the Reverend has which is unproven as we all make mistake, this is the truth, Nigeria has turned a corner, this is the worst Government Nigeria have ever had, if Men where God, for certain a New government will be in power 2015.

5.I wish other Nigerian Pastors will say the TRUTH like this Reverend!! I simply say we need change in this 2015

6.Now it is clear to me that the Catholic Church is the truest church in Nigeria. Christians that do not read the bible: This is exactly the role of prophets. When Saul messed up, samuel spoke up: 1 Sam 15. The same prophet was there also to speak when David started misbehaving. This is honestly the missing element in our churches.

7.Hahahahahaha Father Mbaka too has had enough of this wicked government. Both the rich and the poor are feeling the pinch.The change we are aspiring for must come from the pulpit says Pastor Bakare

8.If Okupe See This Video He Go Cry ooo.Sure, this is how to preach salvation. It’s not politicking at all. Its speaking truth to Power like St Ezekiel did

9.Words like this will always hurt but that’s how you distill and distinguish truth from falsehood. Spiritual fathers have a moral call to watch over the nation and speak the truth. This simply is what i think the hurting father has done.

10.Only The Truth Can set you Free Which Reverend has in abundance. What he said is the Truth and It’s about time we set Tribalism and Religion Aside and Work for common Good. ·

11.Nigeria is in reverse. A president that is so weak that he can barely recognize that its military known for heroics in battles cannot rescue innocent girls several months after their capture from insurgents camped within the shores of a country he is the president of. It is a big shame.

12.This is very amazing, this reverrend father has said it all, i wish all the pastors will mobilise their members and tell them the blunt truth

13.@SIR REV MBAKA All you have said is indeed a truth .My God help us to make this change happen for the betterment of our great country ameen. I am afraid for you sir.

14.This is a must view by those who love NIGERIA.This is deep! It takes a strong and pure mind to receive it. Those hating this should check their conscience.

15.Speaking for truth. Rev Father Mbaka, I love this man from his music to his preachings. God bless you father. Change it is!GOD GOD GOD,shall surely bless u and protect ur family.Amen oo.NO MORE DECEPTIVE BADLUCK. CHANGE IS NECESSARY. THANK YOU SO MUCH REVEREND FATHER MBAKA

16.I could add to this message, but it is so perfect and on point. All I will say is thank you Father Ejike Mbaka, for having the fortitude to stand up and be counted as one of those willing to fight for Nigeria. We must stand to defend her.She is our beautiful mother. We are born of her womb. Many tribes one nation. We owe our existence to her.

17.God knows what we know not.Hard times are coming our way, and Mr. Jonathan did a below average job in good times. Do you think he will do better when the oil money is gone, because the oil money can no longer be counted on. Its price is falling and falling.

18.The next president of Nigeria must be a strong leader. Time will tell if the father was lying. When you are starving and running for your life in a few years because of war at your door step remember his words. We have a war going on within our boarders and this current administration has been below the challenge. Nigeria you are toying with disaster. Change course while you still can.

19.You live in a democracy if you like what’s going on vote for President Johnathan. If you want to save your life and your children’s lives vote for Mr. Buhari. Those who have ears let them hear. The truth has its own resonance.

20.Rev. Fr Mbaka has been a fearless man of God from d east.Mind you,this is not his first spiritual attacks on bad government,he also castigated OBJ and Chimaroke on “Wicked generation” therefore his life has been in danger but the God he serves never fails him.So,lets keep praying for God’s protection upon his life.

21.Do some Nigerians like the truth? I don’t think so…I really don’t know this Man..but listen to the message not the messenger! My little knowledge of my bible tells me God can use even a donkey to warn his people? Things are not right in my country!

22.Is it not hypocritical that some people will resort to destructive criticism when the Father’s sermon does not suit them? I can’t wait to hear what Ayo Oritsejafor, the arms dealer will have to say.

23.Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka’s new year message reminds me of Reverend Martin Luther king’s “I have a dream” message”… It brings so much inspiration and hope to discerning minds…

24.The Respected Reverend only confirmed what we all know already, just that some are still playing eye service. King Saul was equally anointed & rejected for failing God & the Israelite. GEJ has failed God & Nigerians. CHANGE MUST HAPPEN!
25.This is spiritual attack of the first order in the new year!.Don’t even know what to say…Rev Mbaka has dazed me.Hear him…”From Goodluck to Bad Luck”…”Our Leaders Failed us”…”Nigerians will not be calm in 2015″…” Hooligans have taken over the President”…” Gooluck is a Goodman”…”Gooluck met our Oil,our Oil experienced Badluck”…” Goodluck met out dollar,our dollar experienced Badluck”…”Goodluck cannot lead Nigeria”…”The destiny of Nigeria is bigger than Goodluck”…”Continuity of Jonathan is disaster to Nigeria””Anointing hss been merchandised in Aso-Rock”…I am taking cover o!It is a Bomb! A fatherly advice to the sitting president and the teaming electorate. God bless Nigeria!

26.Finally the truth has been said, at least from a voice that counts. Before you play this down and wanna continue with the bad luck take a deep thought and decide if Jonathan had done well. It’s obvious to the blind and sonorous to the deaf, Jonathan had failed.

27.Even the RCCG prayed for change yesterday at the monthly HolyGhost Night. The prayer was led by Mummy Adeboye.
Change in the air in Nigeria

28.Know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Change is inevitable. God will surely save us from this bad season. I love you Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka.
29.I am in love with this man of God for speaking his mind fearlessly and so on point! Please where is the part II?? The continuity of Goodluck is a disaster.Bad Luck has to go. We need Change

30.Jonathan is not strong enough to rule Nigeria. How can Jonathan say he knows sponsors of Boko Haram and yet do nothing? If he is afraid of certain people in Nigeria why does he want to continue?…Boko Haram will overrun the whole Northern Nigeria if Jonathan wins this election. We need a STRONGER figure as President!
31.I like your comment. Whoever that is distasteful of this should jump inside the well. Chikenah May God Bless You Sir Nigeria Need Change Jonathan And His Party PDP Are Evil. Call a spade a spade. No sentiments. The Reverend has spoken. All we need is CHANGE!

32.Listen to this fearless man of God.He never said people should support or vote for Buhari in this video, he said “total change in Nigeria however God will do it, Nigerians are calling for change. We need a change,” he repeated.”This is a preacher after my own heart!!!

33.If jonathan can’t stop his enemies let him go and let another take his office,if every other men of GOD can speak all the truth they know like this man if GOD,things will change in nigeria,,jonathan know his enemies but he is helpless,, what is the need of him in the office????