Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, has said that certain fundamental things must be put in place before Nigerians can appreciate democracy.
Bishop Kukah, a tireless advocate for justice, democracy and human development, said that it was not as if democracy cannot work in Nigeria but that deliberate effort has to be made to resolve and address the problems.
Delivering the keynote of the 3rd annual national public lecture of the First News on Friday in Yenagoa, Kukah said even those who are responsible for Nigeria’s problems are not safe. The theme of the lecture was: “The Nigerian Question: Survival of the Federation in The Throes of Increasing Economic Challenges.”
The cleric disclosed that every country in the world had their own problems adding that it takes the citizens and purposeful leaders to address such problems and urged Nigerians to find their own navigational truth for proper development as done in other nations.
Bishop Kukah said, “The good thing about Nigeria is that everybody knows what the problems are and the people who are responsible for the problems are not also safe, they too do not know peace.
“Nigerians talk about other countries. I feel sorry for many Nigerians who because of many troubles couldn’t travel out of their immediate environments, not to talk about traveling to other parts of Africa or other parts of the world.
“Though, every country has its own problems. But the challenge before us in Nigeria is that, what do we want? Obviously, can we democratise and develop our nation? It is a very difficult question to answer because what we call the civilized world today is the last 200 years of exploitation of Africa that helped to build these nations.
“So we are imagining it ourselves, why are we not like other people? We are not like others because every nation has to find its own navigational truth for development. It is not as if we cannot use democracy to develop Nigeria. But there are certain fundamental things that must be on ground before people can appreciate democracy.
“Unless Nigeria settles the issue of ‘bread and butter mentality’ , democracy can actually look like a lottery.”
Bayelsa State Governor, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Gideon Ekeuwei, urged Bayelsa people to develop themselves in order to cope with the economic situation.
He said, “Let us move from the intellectual level to the practical level adding that development is all about moving from one level to another.”
And to the youths he advised, “Students now are not reading outside the box. You should use your phone to make the future worthwhile. Nigeria has a future which is in the hands of the youths.
The publisher of the First News, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said that the essence of the lecture was to brainstorm on Nigeria’s challenging economy and proffer possible solutions, adding that the nation’s economic problems are very glaring.
According to him, Nigeria’s situation has defied visible solutions, explaining that it was why the lecture was arranged to find solutions to the economic challenges.
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