By Emmanuel Ndouka
The Catholic Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Msgr. Hassan Kukah, spoke very passionately about former President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday, promising that he “can take a bullet” for him.
Kukah made the strong vow during a speech at a panel discussion at the 2022 Peace Conference hosted by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation.
While describing Jonathan as the face of democracy in Africa, he recalled how the former president canceled a very important trip to meet President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the peace accord ahead of the 2015 elections.
“I was at the center of the negotiations to get Buhari and Jonathan to sign the peace accord,” he said.
The revered cleric who is a staunch critic of President Buhari’s administration, again disapproved of the ethnic inequality in the appointment of senior government officials in Buhari’s cabinet, but expressed satisfaction that the current administration is soon leaving its seats. functions.
Kukah also informed that the first part of the preparatory peace agreement for next year’s elections would be signed soon, probably after the start of the campaigns scheduled for September 28.
In his closing remarks, Jonathan called for an end to hate speech against fake news and propaganda ahead of the 2023 election. He noted that the biggest task for whoever eventually becomes president in 2023 would be to protect the country of internal aggressions.
“Before, we were afraid of the gun. But now we are afraid of fake news and propaganda. If we are destroying our country, then why do we need a president? We have to have a nation first before those vying for governors and president can run,” he noted.
On the need to continue the conversation around credible elections, he said: “Advocacy is essential. We have to keep talking. Because dictators harass people who talk, it means people listen. So we will not stop talking until our country is better”.
In his opening speech, the conference chairperson, Dr. Mohamad Ibn Chambas, a member of the West African Alumni Forum, emphasized that the federal government and all other stakeholders must play their part to ensure credible elections.
Speaking on the central theme of the conference – “Nation building: the role of elections in a multi-ethnic context”, he called on the media, including social media, to be responsible in covering elections.
Also speaking in a goodwill message, Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri who was represented by his Deputy Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo recalled that Nigeria would have been in “pieces” not “peace”. in 2015, if Jonathan hadn’t done what he did. .
Reiterating Jonathan’s popular phrase which implies that his political ambition is not worth the life of any Nigerian, he said “until our ambitions are buried under the ambitions of others, we will not have peaceful elections “.