Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Kukah, Tuesday said President Goodluck Jonathan celebration of the country’s independence at the Presidential Villa, is an admission of weakness.
Speaking during an interview with THISDAY in Sokoto Tuesday, Kukah described as unacceptable the inability of the President to stand publicly and address Nigerians. He noted with dismay that the President had succumbed to the terror streak of Boko Haram by choosing not to celebrate the nation’s independence publicly.
The cleric, who also pointed out that the state, has the legitimate monopoly of the instruments of power to deter aggression from any group, said: “The notion that the president cannot stand publicly and address Nigerians on the day of independence is unacceptable and an indication that he is not in charge.”
“Today we are celebrating independence in the Presidential Villa, who knows next time if it is threatened, we move into the council chambers and subsequently there would be no celebration.
“And this is not the kind of wrong message Nigerians want to receive because anytime the president gives an inch to such insurgent groups, he surrenders his legitimacy,” he said.
He emphasised that Jonathan would have utilised the opportunity to spread the message of hope and courage to Nigerians.
“Jonathan should have used the independence anniversary to inspire Nigerians. He should have urged the people to laugh in the face of Boko Haram because if we show that we cannot celebrate independence because of the insurgents, then we are sharing power and territory with them.”
Kukah pointed out that the president ought to have shown Nigerians that government was capable of protecting them. He maintained that the president’s quest for foreign investments will not amount to anything, if nothing much is done to build confidence.
“This is a psychological war game, the president must demonstrate to foreign investors that he is open for business. But this celebration of independence in Aso Rock is not building any confidence on the part of citizens and foreigners alike,” Kukah added.
He averred that the country has made appreciable progress in its 52 years of nation hood but lamented that the 30 years of military rule had caused untold harm to the nation’s economy.
Kukah, therefore, called on Northern leaders to put more efforts in order to restore peace in the region.