Kukah’s speech before US Congress is familiar overseas political tour — Presidency

Garba Shehu

The Presidency on Sunday released a heavily critical statement against bishop of the Catholic diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, over his comments during a virtual appearance before the United States’ Congress.

Kukah had among others accused Buhari of nepotism and also faulted the president’s approach to insecurity.

Responding to that, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu advised Kukah to “desist from lying and sowing discord” among Nigerians.

Mr Shehu described Kukah’s address to the US lawmakers as a familiar ”overseas political tours that opposition politicians take – visiting foreign leaders and legislators in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.”

“So, the argument goes, if they are heard seriously abroad, then Nigerian citizens back home should surely listen to them too.

“But in order to be heard at all, and to maximise media coverage back home for their activities, inevitably these visits involve painting the worst possible picture of our country before their chosen foreign audience.

“Soon enough we inescapably hear an identical list of racist tropes against northerners, how one religion dominates governance above all others, and how the government is doing nothing to address herder-farmer disturbances.

“And how the government spends money on infrastructure to benefit everyone but the group and religion of the speaker.

“Of course, in order not to disappoint their western audience, regardless of fact, the list is always the same-and always slanted for whoever wishes to cross-check,” he said.

He noted that it was only the Buhari regime that had so far put forward the first and singular plan in nearly a century to address herder-farmer challenges – a fact recognised by international NGOs, including the International Crisis Group.

The presidential spokesman also said Kukah’s allegation of nepotism makes light work of the vice president and some members of the cabinet being Christians.