Speaker: Bishop Matthew Kukah
Topic: We Need To Exhale
The Platform May 1st, 2021
The Bishop started by explaining why he was dressing differently and not in his usual priestly habit. He stated that in 1955, the Catholic church also dedicated this day to workers as proof that labour is of God.
The Bishop stated that he would be approaching the discourse from a different perspective because the toxicity around our environment shows that we have inhaled so much that it is time for Nigeria to exhale.
The dividends of democracy can only be realized when we get good leaders who will govern us. He illustrated his title from the movie titled “Waiting To Exhale” and he said most women would identify with the characters in the movie and that is the place where Nigeria is at the moment.
He stated that he was happy when he saw a video of the president in 2015 where he stated that he would make sure that he gives his best to this nation once he gets into power as it showed us that memory is very important. This goes to show that politicians will always make promises but the question remains that from time to time, we need to go back to the drawing board and ask ourselves, “where are we in the promises we made?”
If these questions are not asked , the distrust will keep being propagated and you have more and more people not trusting anything the politicians are sharing.
The topic is not about devolving power, it is about devolving responsibilities. This is what citizens should be interrogating because just as Dr. Charles Omole said earlier, changing the system without changing the players will make little or no impact in the polity.
Our country is at a point where we need to ask questions and not just pray. This is not about paddling blames but someone needs to take responsibility and answer the questions being asked. The truth remains that no one foresaw a nation like what we are seeing today, therefore, it is important that we ask ourselves, “how did we get here?”
The problem in Nigeria is that our cultural tendencies taint our commitment to democracy. We believe that young people cannot ask older people questions, so politicians feel that whenever you are asking questions, you are there to cause problems.
He referenced the book titled “Dude, Where Is My Country?” by Michael Moore. He said he is at ap point where he wants to ask the president the same question.
The fine ingredient of democracy is to claim the loyalty of your citizens not commissioning contracts. This is where we are missing it in Nigeria at the moment. The reason everybody wants to break out on their own is because there’s nothing making the citizens feel like the nation is worth fighting for or standing up for so everyone wants to go home. In any government, instability is inevitable but there should be systems put in place to make people feel as included as possible.
He shared the story of Patricia Etteh and how the North grumbled about having a Southern President, a Southern Senate President and a Southern Speaker. The politicians were smart enough to give the Speaker some corruption charges to push her away and replace her with a Northerner so that the North would be appeased. However, what do we have in these sectors today?
The government needs to understand that we all have a responsibility to make our contributions but that contribution must be treated with the respect it deserves. But citizens should not be made to feel that they should lie prostrate and not talk.
He summarised by sharing what he learned on the subject of identity. He stated that everyone wants to be recognised and when they don’t feel recognised, they begin to revolt. People need to feel the empathy of their leaders. It will not heal the hurt but it would make them feel better.
Nigerians are dying but the leadership is not saying anything to soothe these hurts or make them feel better. It is important that the government becomes a lot more sensitive to the plight of the citizens.
The Bishop ended his session by saying that it behoves on the government to send out specific instructions to different constituencies and what they are expected to do or else we would have a group of directionless people.