Matthew Kukah’s letter to Sardauna: A letter from undesirable quarters

By Aliyu Ahmed


In the last few weeks, I have, like many Nigerians, read a letter widely circulating in the media purportedly written by Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah to the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello. The article itself was written long ago, but is now being deliberately re-circulated by Kukah in his effort to assuage the Muslim North, having insulted Islam that has pitched him against Northern Muslims.

Ordinarily, I found the idea of Kukah writing to Sir Ahmadu Bello, our eternally revered premier, very curious and quite amusing for a number of reasons. First of all, the bishop does not share any common value with the late premier. The Sardauna, throughout his life and times, fought tirelessly and ceaselessly to forge unity within the North, under a well-articulated programme of One North, One People.

By sharp contrast, Bishop Matthew Kukah, a Christian clergyman, has spent a greater proportion of his pulpit time, not preaching Christianity but rather, focusing on areas outside core Christian teachings, areas that emphasise hatred and division, employing words that are poisonous, irritating and offensive. In the process, he has evolved into a monstrous agent of Northern destabilisation.

Therefore, comparing the values for which Sardauna is known and remembered with the ones Kukah has come to be identified is like comparing night and day.

Secondly, in the annals of Nigeria’s history,  Sardauna will go down as the foremost administrator and visionary leader, who foresaw the need to focus on putting the North on a sound developmental footing, soon after he had successfully cemented unity across the whole fabric of the region. He actualised this vision by erecting solid and enduring socio-economic structures covering diverse sectors relevant to the well-being of the region from education to commerce and industry, hospitality, medical, communication and media as well as road infrastructure to open the arteries of Northern commerce.

Whatever the situation of the North today, the memorable works of Sardauna still adorn the region 54 years later, daily reminding us that once upon a time, the North had a genuine patriot and visionary personality of conscience as its political leader, who stopped at nothing to bring about its unity and used its unity as a foundation for launching it to economic prosperity. Five decades later, Sir Ahmadu Bello still stands far apart from any leader that subsequently visited our political landscape.

Unfortunately, Matthew Kukah, by comparison, is a person who is completely lacking and totally deficient of experience in administration and governance, with no record of ever being tested with leadership position either of public institutions or even corporate organisations, but who consistently parades himself as an expert in governance,  criticising others in areas where he possesses no expertise. All his life, he has lived and operated in a very narrow world of the Christian pulpit. As such, to talk of his contributions to the development of the North, or anywhere else for that matter, does not even arise.

His shortcomings notwithstanding, he has made a living abusing the Muslim North, oftentimes acting as the front and poster boy of some other political and regional interests who are also forces of disunity. This time around, he has bitten more than he can chew, when he unjustly accused the Muslim community that “if any non-Muslim Northerner had done what President Muhammadu Buhari had done, he would have been toppled in a military coup.” Now the bishop is in need of damage control for self-survival and is trying to clutch at every possible straw, which is the reason why he decided to recirculate an old article he had written on the Sardauna as a way to placate and soften the Muslim North, and hopefully kill the matter.

Even as he proceeds with his tricks of writing praises on Sardauna, he has also used the opportunity to sing the praises of Sardauna’s grandson, Magajin Garin Sokoto, Alhaji Hassan Danbaba. Even without Kukah’s praisesinging, it is too well known that the Magajin Gari is a figure of high national standing not just in the traditional environment, but also a successful businessman and administrator. His efforts at praising “young Northern governors” were also along the same lines of desperately getting them on his side so as to rescue the drowning man.

Unfortunately, his efforts at assuaging the North and its leading light will fall flat on his face, because even as he desperately tries to woo back the North through the recycled article, it has been found that Kukah’s letter to the Sardauna is full of contradictions. In one breath, he appeared to be praising the premier, where he admitted to all the developmental achievements of the Sardauna, while in another, his inner hatred for our revered leader became exposed, where he referred to the good and indelible works of the premier as “an extension of the feudal system”, and stated that “the ideals that guided him had their shortcomings.” These statements are to say the least, very insulting. Nonetheless, these double dealings have become trademarks of Kukah and are all too familiar of him.

As I reviewed the letter more deeply, which exposed the insincerity of our so-called clergy, I shuddered to wonder how Sardauna would feel, were he to be alive today, to witness that the North, he so painstakingly laboured to build, now prides the likes of Bishop Kukah, as a bishop of Sokoto Diocese. Certainly, the premier will be saddened with this unfortunate development. He will also be pained at how his good intentions and works are now being manipulated by people of questionable leadership and religious credentials.

Matthew Kukah is duly advised to keep Sardauna, Sir Ahmadu Bello, and his good legacies far away from his rhetoric and to henceforth desist from using this revered personality’s name as a shield against the personal atrocities he has personally committed. He should stand up alone to face the consequences of his actions.

Aliyu Ahmed wrote from Sokoto

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