The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has said the country is running a confusing electoral process that would not guarantee free, fair and credible elections.
Kukah, who stated this during the 60th birthday celebration of a renowned lawyer and human rights activist, Clement Nwankwo in Abuja, said Nigeria will never have free, fair or credible elections until it ensures a sense of common citizenship where everybody is on the same page.
He, however, regretted that the system Nigeria is running had foreclosed the possibility as there is a lack of conceptual clarity in its political process.
He said “Where we are now; if we continue and we are true to our tradition, it is after General President (Muhammadu) Buhari has gone; 2023 brings another president. By 2024 or by the end, we will be saying, ‘Oh! you know, General Buhari wasn’t so bad.
“You know, because Nigeria progresses from reverse, we are always nostalgic about the past. And if you run through, you will just discover we were saying all these people were being killed under (former President Goodluck) Jonathan and then suddenly, they say ‘no, no, no, bring back the corruption of Jonathan. We didn’t really mind the corruption because a bag of rice was not as expensive as it is now.’”
He said Nigerians really don’t understand the job of politics, adding, “I hear Nigerians say to me, you know we just pray this time that we get it right. And I say get it right as in what – that the elections were free, they were fair, they were credible; that’s fine, but what does that guarantee you?
“Many of us confuse electoral processes with outcomes. When we talk about political processes, we are never going to have free, fair or credible elections until you fix the sense of common citizenship, that is that all of us are aiming at the same goal. And of course, the system we are running has foreclosed the possibility because there is a lack of conceptual clarity.
“Right now, as we know and as we are talking, even to declare interest in participating in this process despite your qualifications – you went to Harvard, …that is not enough in Nigeria. This is what I have the ability to do, no, it is not accepted.
“So, if you cannot find N100 million, N50 million to buy a form or you don’t have the kind of friends who can, I mean it is such a joke that Nigerians are sitting and we are just watching.
“We have to pay the price for this; we will pay the price because we are complicit, because if somebody has erected this barricade, saying that poor people don’t need to apply; that is what he said, irrespective of your qualifications, then we should not pretend we are running a democracy.
“We should say we have opted for plutocracy which is, the only reach people can participate in the process,” he stated.