Catholic bishop of Sokoto diocese, Matthew Kukah, has said his criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari is not a personal attack on him.
He said this in response to the reaction from the Presidency concerning a sermon he delivered on Easter in which he said Nigeria needs to be rescued because the country is broken and divided.
His sermon was slammed by Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
“For a man who has been spreading hate for decades, nothing new in the homily, except for the fact that while millions of Christians were remembering the Lord’s crucifixion on Friday, His descent on Saturday, His resurrection on Sunday, and subsequent appearance to his disciples, Bishop Matthew Kukah was playing politics,” Shehu had said.
“From his pulpit, he devoted his Easter message not to Christ’s death and rebirth so Man might be saved – but to damning the government in the most un-Christian terms.”
Reacting to the claim in a chat with Arise TV on Tuesday, Kukah reiterated that Buhari has done “a bad job” as president, adding that “even his wife has also disagreed with his policies”.
He challenged the presidential spokesperson to point out “one thing about the message that I preached that you disagree with and let’s discuss”.
“All those saying I attacked the president, I have never attacked his person. All I have spoken about is his inability to manage diversities effectively and efficiently. I have studied diversity as a subject, and I know what I am talking about,” the bishop said.
“Those who think these things are personal would see that I have never talked about his person or character; I believe he is a gentleman, but as far as being the president is concerned, he has done a bad job. I’m not the first person to disagree with Buhari’s policies, even his wife has done so.
“So, those guys should not sit in their air-conditioned office drinking coffee and think everything is honky-donkey. Let them disagree with the text of my message.
“Let me set the record straight, I delivered my sermon to my congregation and the message. The bearers of the message are directed primarily to the good people of Sokoto diocese.
“The president knows that I have great respect for him, and he is a gentleman, but he has done a terribly bad job as the president of Nigeria.
“There is nothing I am saying that is new, all the pastors who preached yesterday during the Easter service said the same thing. Tell me one thing about the message that I preached that you disagree with, and let’s discuss.”