By Williams Anuku, Abuja
Amidst criticism trailing comments credited to the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto State, Bishop Hassan Kukah by the Federal Government, the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN and the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria have thrown their weight behind the cleric, insisting that his Christmas day homily was not entirely out of place.
Rising in defence of Kukah, CAN said the government was raising unnecessary sentiments to cover the obvious truth.
Recall that Kukah had while preaching on the theme: “A Nation In Search of Vindication” accused the government of nepotism and insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians and said it couldn’t have been condoned if Buhari was not the President in power.
He had stated that a coup would have been inevitable, going by level of lopsidedness in appointment of key officials of government.
His comment had elicited diverse reactions, especially from government officials, who claimed that Kukah was inciting an overthrow of power.
But CAN reacted saying it is quite aware of the dust raised by Kukah’s remarks and has concluded that the agents of evil are gathering to attack the Bishop and to discredit the simple truth.
According to the umbrella body for Christians in Nigeria, the situation in the country no longer allows anyone to sit on the fence, arguing that indifference is now a greater form of sin. Everyone must choose and stand up for what he/she believes in.
“Dear brothers and sisters, men and women of good will irrespective of creed, status and tribe. We are quite aware of the 2020 Christmas Message by our revered Bishop Hassan Kukah and the enormous space it has enjoyed on social media and in public sphere. As expected, the agents of evil have gathered to attack the person of the Bishop and to discredit the simple obvious truth of the message. This is the stock in trade of evil people. However, they often succeed when good people Christians, choose to do nothing.
“I am therefore calling our attention to this new development so that we can all rise in unison and stand for truth.
“The truth about our nation is also that there are only two parties now existing: the good and the evil, the oppressed and the oppressor, the suffering people and the benefiting government officers and their families. Please stop allowing anyone fool you with these cards: religion and tribe”, CAN had stated.
Kukah while equally speaking on the topic, Another Christmas with Dark Clouds of Death:, said “Let me paraphrase the holy prophet Isaiah who said: “For Jerusalem (Nigeria’s sake), I will not be silent until her vindication shines forth like the dawn…..No more shall people call you forsaken, or your land desolate, but you shall be called my delight and your land espoused.” (Is. 62:1,4).
“Against the backdrop of our endless woes, ours has become a nation wrapped in desolation. The prospects of a failed state stare us in the face: endless bloodletting, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and community violence, kidnappings, armed robberies etc. Ours has become a house of horror with fear stalking our homes, highways, cities, hamlets and entire communities. The middle grounds of optimism have continued to shift and many genuinely ask, what have we done to the gods? Does Nigeria have a future? Where can we find hope? Like the Psalmist, we ask; from where shall come our help? (Ps.121:1).
“Whatever the temptations to despair, we cannot to give up. When the Psalmist asked where help shall come from, he answered that it will come from the Lord. Therefore, like Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, we Priests must stand before the mercy seat of God and plead the cause of our great country (Lk. 1:8). Like Abraham, we must plead for the Lord to save our nation because we have more than ten righteous men (Gen. 18: 16ff). Like Moses, we believe that as long as our hands are held up in prayer, the Lord will be on our side ( Ex. 17:11). These are trying but life changing moments in the history of our nation. Politics and Economics alone will not resolve our problems. There is enough hate and bitterness to go around. We need to pause, reflect, pray, be honest and courageous in facing tomorrow.
“Yes, our dreams have been aborted. Yes, our commonwealth has been stolen. Yes, our cancer of corruption has metastasized. Yes, we have been guilty of patricide, fratricide and attempted even suicide. Yes, we are hungry, angry, thirsty and starving. Yet, we stand firmly with the unshaken belief that no matter the temptations, the world has known worst times. These may be the worst of times, but for men and women of faith, they could be the best of times. We must stand firm and resolute because, our redeemer liveth (Job 19:25)”.