The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Hassan Kukah has faulted the misinterpretations in the media that he was trying to protect former president Goodluck Jonathan against a probe by the present administration.
He said in an exclusive interview that he had never, in any of his latent and manifest utterances, stood against probing Jonathan.
According to the respected cleric, he only offered very realistic advice to President Muhammadu Buhari, by saying he should not be carried away by probes, as the business of governance must go on.
Bishop Kukah, who spoke through the Secretary of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Father Sixtus Onuh, insisted that his simple standpoint remained that the probes should not be selective; rather they should cut across all former leaders and public servants.
Father Onuh noted that Kukah remained a very patriotic Nigerian who has served the country in diverse assignments without demanding any material reward, and maintained that the Bishop spent even personal resources for missionary work.
Father Onuh also described as unfortunate the extent to which mischief-makers can go in trying to blackmail the respected cleric by snapping Bishop Kukah’s building and uploading it on Facebook, alleging that it was built with money given to the Peace Committee by former president Jonathan.
“All he is saying is that governance can go on while President Buhari can carry on with his probes, because he was not just elected to only come and probe. All he said was that Nigerians are eager, Nigerians are anxious to see things taking shape.
“He made this comment on Channels TV. He made the comment in Sahara Reporters as well. He said that it was a Nigerian attitude. All this noise about probe, probe, probe, he said that you can go ahead with the probe, but don’t forget the governance.
“All he is saying is simple: If you really want to probe now that ordinary Nigerians are calling for probe, then the probe should be extended to former leaders – Yar’Adua, Olusegun Obasanjo, IBB and all others before them so that Nigerians will know that Buhari has done a great job rather than carry out selective probe.
“Bishop Kukah has served this country in diverse capacities. He served under Obasanjo, served under Yar’Adua, under Jonathan and even under Buhari. All I want Nigerians to note is that Bishop Kukah has served the Nigerian government, whether in the Political Reform Conference, Oputa Panel or whichever national assignment – to mention few – which he has found himself without receiving any gratification, because he had said it earlier that, that was his own contribution to the nation. But he has never taken anything from the government. All he tells them is, ‘one naira, don’t give me, all you do is arrange my travel and accommodation’. Period.
“Whatever people are saying about him, whether he was given bribe to defend Jonathan or not, I tell you with every sense of honour that if I should explain how much the Bishop spent on daily or monthly basis supporting us (Sokoto Diocese) since he became bishop of the diocese, you will appreciate God for him because I have the record as the secretary.
“It is people, friends – both local and foreign – that are supporting him to develop God’s work.”
Father Onuh added that the bishop was simply being sincere in addressing issues.
“Bishop Kukah does not join issues with anybody. If you like, insult him; he will simply say God should forgive you,” he noted.