Good intentions are sufficient but they are not enough — Kukah
“Good intentions are sufficient, but they are not enough,” were the words of the revered Roman Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, who was responding to questions about the enormity and sincerity of most Nigerian politicians when seeking the mandate of Nigerians in an election year.
During his quest appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday, the convener of the national peace committee aired his view on his relationship with the Federal Government, the criticism he has faced from some senior members of the Federal Government, and his expectations for the incoming government.
Bishop Kukah chastised the deceptive nature of most Nigerian politicians, who fail to grasp the enormity of the challenges that await them when seeking the mandate of the people to occupy government, only to duck out and make excuses afterwards.
“The point is that when politicians claim that they want to solve problem XYZ, the most important thing is that they provide critical analysis and appreciation of the complexity of the problem in this country. So, for example, this country is terribly broke. If you are going to fix this country, it takes more than just having good intentions. Good intentions are sufficient, but they are not enough. Governance in Nigeria is a criminal enterprise,” Kukah said.
Read also: Kukah says Nigerians are having a bad time under Buhari
He contended that, as is often the case, most Nigerian political leaders find it difficult to accept criticism, viewing those who oppose their government as enemies.
“I always tell people that I don’t worry about criticism because I consider myself an academician, and to that extent, intellectual striving, debate, discussions, and processes are normal. So I never take offence when somebody does not agree with me,” he added.
The bishop was responding to a question about the frosty public relationship between him and Femi Adesina, the special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity. Femi had on several occasions accused the Bishop of being partisan and unfair to the current administration. He admitted that he couldn’t fault him for his hard stance and doggedness in defending his boss, as he was paid to do so and couldn’t do anything less.
“Femi has got a job to do. He’s been paid for the job,” he said. “I have got my own job to do, and I am not being paid for it. But he knows that there is nothing personal about what I have to say, and I have read a lot of the criticism, and it doesn’t bother me because some of the criticism takes people away from the things I have said,” he explained, defending his position about the current perceived lack of performance.
He joked about his last meeting with Adesina at the presidential villa, saying they threw casual jabs at each other and accepted that criticism was part of the job.
He said, “Femi said to me jokingly, “Bishop, you are always criticising our government, so you have come here.” So I said, “Well, I was criticising the government before you came, and I will be criticising the government after you are gone. So, as I previously stated, you have a job, and I have a job as well. I hope that very soon we will all meet down the line and continue in our process of building our nation—for me, it is always nothing personal.”
He did, however, admit that after the president leaves office in four months, it will be easier for him to conduct an unbiased assessment of his governance and agree with most Nigerians that his performance was less than satisfactory.
“But I know that I speak for millions of people, including millions of Nigerians, who believe that we are nowhere close to where we ought to have been. I think that the president, in the silence of his home, will properly look back and say that he knows he could have done better.
Meanwhile, the Bishop reaffirms his call to the current administration to ensure that the February 25 election is free and fair.
“As to position to what he had to say—the president has only four months to go, the best we can probably do is probably just keep pushing until the months are over and then we see what the system will deliver to us,” he noted.