During a keynote address at the 3rd annual national public lecture in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Bishop Matthew Kukah, the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese of the Catholic Church, voiced his concerns about the limited travel capacity of many Nigerians. The lecture was themed, “The Nigerian Question: Survival of the Federation in the Throes of Increasing Economic Challenges.”
Bishop Kukah empathized with Nigerians who face numerous challenges that restrict their ability to travel abroad. He emphasized the need for Nigerians to contemplate the nation’s path forward, acknowledging that despite the problems faced by every country, the unique challenges in Nigeria require its own tailored solutions for development.
Kukah pointed out that Nigeria’s current situation involves a fundamental question: Can the country democratize and achieve progress? He emphasized the complexity of this issue, noting that Nigeria is not the same as other nations because it has a distinct history and needs to find its own path to development. The bishop mentioned that certain foundational aspects need to be in place for democracy to thrive and benefit the people, particularly addressing the issues related to livelihood and basic needs.
While discussing the challenges facing Nigeria, Kukah stressed that it is vital to settle the pervasive “bread and butter mentality” before genuine democratic progress can occur. He cautioned that without addressing this fundamental issue, democracy in Nigeria may appear as a mere lottery.
In his remarks, Bishop Kukah also highlighted that those responsible for Nigeria’s problems are not immune to the consequences of their actions, emphasizing that even they do not experience peace.
Kukah concluded by stating that addressing a nation’s problems requires the collaborative effort of both citizens and purposeful leaders. He recognized that challenges exist in every country worldwide but that meaningful change can be achieved through collective action and visionary leadership.