Matthew Kukah, the bishop of Sokoto diocese of the Catholic Church, has advised advocates of secessionist struggle to sheath their swords saying the cost of staying together as a nation is cheaper than the cost of dividing Nigeria.
He, however, blamed the All Progressives Congress government led by Muhammadu Buhari for making people feel alienated from governance through inequality in power distribution at the highest levels.
Kukah spoke virtually at the 2021 edition of The Platform, an annual conference organised by Pastor Poju Oyemade of the Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos.
The programme was themed, ‘Is Devolution of Powers The Solution To Nigeria’s Problems’.
The fiery cleric said, “The challenge now is how do we connect back because all the things we are hearing now, nobody would have expected to hear them and now everybody wants to go home.
“Yes, it may be right for everybody to want to go. Yes, it may be right for people to want to feel so dissatisfied that they want an end to what we have today. But the cost of staying together is far cheaper than the cost than the cost of everybody going his way.
“The most important thing here is that the government must give us a reason – the body language – we need to be inspired as a country to inspire ourselves that this country is worth the psychological, the spiritual and the cultural engagements.”
Lately, secessionist calls have increased across the country especially in Southern Nigeria. From the Indigenous People of Biafra to agitators of Yoruba Nation, amongst others, the separatist calls rise, fueled by the unprecedented insecurity in the country as well as the supposed nepotism and unequal distribution of economic resources by the Buhari government.
“Anybody who loves this country would have to accept the fact that the APC as a government and the President must take responsibility for the fact that the way power has been distributed in Nigeria has created a sense of alienation and it is the underlining factor why people feel the way they feel, why people feel so disenchanted, why people don’t feel a sense of psychological, emotional, cultural or even economical involvement in their country and there is the need to reclaim all of those things back,” Kukah added.