Anti-Corruption War; As Bishop Kukah goes to the Confessional By; Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir
Like President Muhammadu Buhari, former President Goodluck Jonathan, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, we are all Nigerians who have no any other country but Nigeria. And we need to stay here and salvage her. Especially after what she has gone through in the last six years in the hands of those entrusted with her care.
Nigeria was not only gang raped, but repeatedly stabbed, bleeding profusely and left to die. While she lay almost in coma, gasping for air, those entrusted with her well being were busy scheming for how to retain her in their possession, then sustain her abuse. But the Lord delivered us and we are on the path of salvation.
Talking salvation, what differentiate Bishop Kukah and President Jonathan from majority of Nigerians is that the two men are Christians. In fact, even at that, Kukah is a Catholic while Jonathan is Anglican. Nothing more. If they have more similarities, it is that they are both PhD holders. Even at that, their doctorates are in two varied fields. In fact, I cannot, will not and doubt not Kukah’s doctorate. His dissertation is a public knowledge.
So much has being written and said about the General Abdulsalami Abubakar led committee to the Villa and the subsequent media interview granted by Kukah purportedly speaking on behalf of the members. But no, Kukah spoke of, for, and by himself. May be a little opinion of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; the gadfly of ex President Jonathan. But definitely not all the committee members.
If you know Cardinal Onaiyekan very well. If you know the Sultan; Abubakar Sa’ad III well, you will know that “probing corruption is not governance” as postulated by Kukah is not and will never be associated with these two eminent Nigerians. Check Sultan’s speech at the National Security Summit and see the contradiction. Kukah was on a solo flight to help fight for a friend; Jonathan. But he forgot the compass as well as forgot that the weather has changed so much since May 29, 2015. So he nose-dived and he crash landed. All Kukah tried doing was a class solidarity. Nothing more.
But the times have changed. This Kukah did not know or deliberately refused to acknowledge. In the process, his kite was not only shut down, his hard earned reputation took a nose dive too for the worst.
Kukah must have received ex President Goodluck Jonathan on a confessional where Jonathan must have confessed all his past sins. To which Kukah; a Bishop of the whole Sultanate Diocese must have solicited the Good Lord on behalf of the former President believing that God Almighty is ever forgiven as long as His servants confess their sins and atone for it.
Bishop Kukah have “boys” within the media cycle who always often help him gauge public opinion in the media, trouble shoot as well give him feedback on his utterances and actions. This time, the feedback must have been “Father, this one is bad. Make amends quickly”.
Kukah more than most Nigerians know that Buhari promised, during his political campaign to make anti-corruption a cardinal issue of his administration. Kukah know that curbing corruption, bringing criminals to justice is a great weapons of governance; a mean to an end and not the end. Kukah only tried short circuting the system and it blew in his face.
And as a good Catholics, Kukah thought of penitence, made a U-turn and went for confessional. But instead of walking down the short, humble, quiet and religiously revered aisle of the Church and before a fellow clergy, Kukah walked up the long, rich, noisy, politically charged corridors of the Villa and before President Buhari without an interface between them for his confessional.
That is after examining his conscience and decided to tell Buhari of the sorrow his statement has caused him and to what extent the media and most Nigerians were ready to gore him, Kukah went into the confessional. But instead of kneeling at the screen or sit with a barrier to confess his sin and sorrow, he sat on a round table to talk, face-to-face with the President instead of a Priest.
Though the doors of Buhari’s office were shut after his photo-ops with Kukah, and we cannot say what transpired between the two, one expected that Kukah might have began his confession with the sign of the cross, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. My last confession was weeks, months, years ago”. But remember, Buhari is not a Priest but a President. Never mind both begin with “P”.
So, Kukah might have began instead with “Your Excellency. My last embarrassment and mis-quotation before this by the media was weeks, months, years ago”.
Buhari being a voracious reader like the Priest explores the Bible, might have read a quotation from what Kukah allegedly said on his anti-corruption and governance just like a Priest may read a passage from the Holy Scripture.
Kukah must have then gone ahead to state the sins, sorry, I mean the media mis-quotations that he could remember. Starting with the one(s) that was most difficult to say. ( I learn in the Catholic, in order to make a good confession the faithful must confess all mortal sins, according to kind and number.)
After confessing all the sins, I mean media mis-quotations that he remembered since his last good confession, the Bishop might have concluded by saying, “I am sorry for these and all the sins of my past life.” Or “I am sorry for the embarrassment my misunderstood explanations must have caused you, your government and the country at large” since he is before the President and not the Priest.
He then must have listened to the words of the President instead of the Priest who must have assigned him some penance. I also learn in the Catholic, doing the penance diminishes the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.
After Buhari was done, for he is a man of few words, Kukah must have expressed some words of contrivance such as “Your Excellency, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all my reported utterances which were misunderstood, because I dread the loss of your confidence and the pains of Nigerian’s anger. But most of all because I have offended you, my President, who is good and deserving of all my support. I firmly resolve with the help of your office, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my utterances. Amen”. The “amen” would have been said quietly without the President hearing because he is not a Priest.
Then he would have listened to the words of absolution, the sacramental forgiveness of the Aso Villa through the elected President. As he listen to the words of forgiveness, he might make the sign of the broom (symbol of the President’s party) with the President. Then President might have closed the visit by saying, “give thanks to the APC for the party is good,” to which Bishop must have answered, “for the party will surely endure in the Villa for four years fighting corruption.”
After this, Bishop must have thanked the President for forgiving him and resolved to do his penance. His penance must have been the resolve to return to the sacrament of reconciliation often, of talking less especially to the media, of supporting the government’s anti corruption drive and above all, atoning for past sins by telling truth to the guilty even if the guilty one succeeded for a decade and half plus a year with many sins to confess and ask for forgiveness.
As for Father Kukah and President Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, the Bishop has gone to confessional, so let others bear their cross before the lord of the manor. After all, a new Sherif is in town. The reason the Bishop kept a straight face, a sealed lips after walking out of his confessional with President Buhari in the Aso Villa. The Priest also confesses because he sins too.
Abdull-Azeez is a journalist and public affairs commentator based in Kaduna.
Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir