The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah has warned against the call for a military coup in some African countries, saying that he feels so sorry for such countries.
Kukah gave the warning in a recent interview with BusinessDay.
Responding to a specific question on what he thought should be the antidote for the spate of military coups spreading across Africa, the cleric said: “These so-called revolutions have often consumed their own children.”
He recalled that after the collapse of Communism in 1998, it was Francophone Africa that organised Sovereign National Conferences. Kukah noted that “the ink hardly dried when the dictators returned and some have remained.”
He explained that “the problems that the coupists are trying to deal with are totally different from our Nigerian situation. These are anti-France sentiments against local dictatorships sustained by France who have strangulated their people.
“But, remember these are soldiers who are taking advantage of the ignorance and frustration of their people who will be victims tomorrow. We in Nigeria have travelled this death road before. Its legacy lies in the broken dreams and the oceans of corruption that have engulfed us. It pushed democracy into an abyss from where we still struggle to climb.
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“I feel sorry for these countries but even sorrier for those Nigerians who wish to spare a thought for this coup situation. Just watch and see what the future will be for these countries by the time the French, Russians, Americans and other Europeans are done. These so-called revolutions have often consumed their own children.”
The cleric, who actively participated in the processes that led to the last general election in Nigeria early this year, also said: “Failed elections can only be corrected by new elections not the military rule.
“I tell my parishioners that the solution to a troubled marriage may not be a new marriage. It may require introspection, humility, prayer and the will of God. I am saddened that in their anger and naivete, many Nigerians are contemplating military rule in Nigeria not as a solution but as another way of saying what if I cannot have it, let us lose it,” he said.
He also noted that “the last elections threw up a lot of hope in the quality of mobilisation, fresh ideas and sacrifice especially by the youth. We heard alternative narratives and proposed solutions about our future. We all seem to think we see a country we can believe in again. The youth must be careful because they stand to lose more than any other group. I have no problem with japarism. The Asians have used it well.”
He said, “Military rule will be a nightmare not a dream. So, the youth must keep their hopes and dreams alive, hold their ends of the rope, stand together, build new bridges, seek new friendships and networks across the country. Hope is an immeasurable gift that has no finishing lines.”
At the last count, a total of seven countries in Africa are currently under military rule. They are Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad, Sudan, Niger and Gabon.