Matthew Kukah, Catholic bishop of Sokoto diocese, says prayer is the only thing that has kept Nigeria going amid the challenges facing the country.
Speaking in an interview with Channels TV on Friday, he said though a lot of people laugh whenever divine intervention is sought during the country’s critical period, the renewal of hope that prayer represents is the best gift to citizens as Nigeria prepares to celebrate its 60th independence anniversary on October 1, 2020.
Kukah, who explained that there have been mistakes in the past, said he was confident that the youth have the potential to drive a better future for the country.
“The celebration calls for a renewal of hope in our country. We’ve not met our expectations but definitely this country has a lot of potentials. I see the future largely not necessarily in the mistakes of the past but in the fact that we have a lot of young people who are mentally, emotionally and intellectually pretty well-equipped to change the future of this country,” he said.
“I’m hopeful that young people will see politics from the point of not running for political office but from the point of rendering services and developing greater capacity that will help manage society. So, I have hope in this country.
“We’ve made mistakes but we must continue to renew our commitment to the democratic process because it’s the only system that can deliver the egalitarian society we so greatly need.
“So, the best bishops can do is pray, but that is not necessarily an excuse because people have tended to laugh about it as an expression of hopelessness. But in the final analysis, it’s about the only thing we have going for us.”
On the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo, the bishop noted that Nigeria’s political culture has not matured to the point where people can focus on issue-based campaigns.
“We must be fair. The maturity of our culture hasn’t even come to a point in which we can talk about issue-based campaign, but the fact that we are still dealing with very basic issues — issues of life and death; issues that the rest of the world that has embraced democracy are taking for granted; very, very basic issues of road, water, food, security and of sending kids to school,” Kukah said.
He also called on politicians to ensure that they guard against inciting utterances capable of affecting the smooth conduct of the elections.