The Association of Ikulu Professionals (AIP) has described as “unjustifiable” the attacks and varied responses on the Christmas homily delivered by Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, the Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah.
Some critics of cleric’s state-of-the-nation comment interpreted the Bishop’s sermon as calling for a military coup.
In a press statement issued by its secretary, Dr Paul H. Mamman made available to Blueprint Monday, AIP said; “For those who are acquainted with the footprints of Bishop Kukah, the spurious attempts at linking his message to military coup is not only laughable but also a deliberate act of misinterpreting his Christmas homily.”
The statement said this would not be the first time the erudite Catholic Bishop would be calling out against the failings of government and appealing to citizens to embrace hope amidst the dark clouds of frightening despair as speaking truth to power has always been a consistent trait in his character.
“During the military era when the sword of Damocles threatened the rights of Nigerians to express their opinions on national discourse, Father Kukah, as he was then called, stood up for truth and justice. His participation in various national panels set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo portrays him as a patriot dedicated to the enthronement of democracy and development of citizens.
“Initially, the AIP did not find it expedient to issue a statement on the snide responses from certain mischievous quarters, however, we found it auspicious to state that the path upon which Bishop Kukah has trodden upon for over 44 years is enough to absolve him of all the trappings foisted by his traducers. We are pleased that, considering responses of patriotic organisations that cut across ethnic and religious divides, overwhelming Nigerians still see our Bishop as a patriotic Nigerian whose indelible footprints on the sands of time cannot be obliterated by those who disagree with his homily.
“In view of the Bishop’s sermon, we are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to see the cleric’s homily as a wake-up call on the federal government to tackle the manifold problems threatening our nation. We further call on President Buhari to inject a sense of urgency in the bid to tackle challenges confronting our country,” AIP added.