Military appetite to rule destroyed democratic foundations, plunged Nigeria into woes- Kukah
Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto ,Mathew Hassan Kukah, has said that the Military helped to destroy the foundations of democratic ideals that were set in1960.
Kukah while speaking at “The Platform”, convened by Covenant Ministry on independence, said the singular act of the military’s intervention in January 1966, destroyed the foundation of Nigeria’s democracy, and wetted the appetite of the military by, taking them out of their constitutionally defined roles and threw them into politics.
This he said led to several years of military rule in the country through coups.
” The next thing were
years and years of democracy being suspended and the discovery of oil suddenly wetted the appetite and the gangan grip of the military resulting in coups and counter coups.
According to him, gradually,,state creation, local government creation became exercised in appeasement of particular political elites.”The result is that unnecessary fault lines were created. “
“Yesterday’s minorities became today’s majority, replicating the same contradictions of conflict, domination and so on
Bishop Kukah stated that nation building is not all about integrity or having a good heart but having the mental capacity to think about the future and the trajectories and open up spaces for people who have what it takes, to avoid nepotism.
“Increasingly,we have a very deficient severe leadership with the mental capacity and reflexes to be able to think about the future.
“When you look at the histories of nation, nation building is not something just based on a good heart.you may have integrity but can you read the roadmap,?Do you have an idea about where we are going? Where you are taking your people to? Even if you don’t have,you can have unless you are sufficiently elastic And this is where nepotism kills us because you don’t open up the system in a way and manner that people with competing narratives can find a seat at the table.
He said where things began to go wrong was that the military tricked itself by killing democracy and undermining the rule of law and “glorifying the rule of gun, increasingly it was difficult for the military to find the right morall voice to condemn armed robbery for example.because if an armed robber took something, they set up military tribunal when in reality ,they should be the ones facing the tribunal.
“If you are asking somebody to be tried because he stole with a gun,,you came to power with the barrel of a gun.
Kukah expressed regret that the politicians themselves have not developed enough reflexes to be able to accept outcomes because with “this military logic,you are either in or you are out.”he said.
He further explained that things began to go wrong in the country in the 70’s and 80’s , when the academia was ridiculed and terrorised by the military making it difficult to properly carry out its functions.
“Where things began to go wrong increasingly by the 70s and the early 80’s ,.we see the military gradually denigrating intellectualism,We see the military suspending and terrorising and intimidating the university community to the point that thinking became a problem in Nigeria and no nation in the world has ever grown without a robust intellectual culture.
“Processes for electing leaders were no longer clear.and when you talk about the Asian tigers ,we can correlate all these with the way that leaders were chosen.You cannot think about Singapore and South Korea without coming to terms with the nature of the intellectual equipment that these people had and brought to bear.
“Lee Kwan Yeu talks very seriously about how seriously he took the civil service .One of the most important institutions in any country is the quality of the civil service because it is the conveyor belt for offering services and so on.but what kind of people have ended up in our bureaucracy? what kind of people have ended up in the military and what kind of people have ended up in the security service? when you ask these questions you would realise that we have not invested in the right places and this is what nigerians need to suggest.We shouldn’t be surprised by the outcomes that we have had.
He stressed the need for adherence to democratic principles adding that democracy is better than any other rule
“So democracy offers us an opportunity but once we begin to imbibe the principles of democracy, and we are grateful to God that we have had 5 back to back elections,this is definitely the way to go.There is no alternative to democracy.
Bishop Kukah admonished the political class to make public service a vocation to earn its place.
“The political class in Nigeria must make politics a vocation with nobility,make public service something to be taken sufficiently seriously not the kind of skewed and criminal reward system that it has become today.”