Mixed reactions have continued to trail the statement of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Dr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, that President Muhammadu Buhari is more hated than Jonathan.
Speaking in Lagos at the Third Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) with the theme, “Economy, Security and National Development: The Way forward”, he observed that Nigerians have progressively hated their successive leaders.
Buhari was represented by presidential spokesman Mr. Femi Adesina.
Father Kukah who delivered the keynote address, said: “I have met people passionately committed to changing this country in their own way but I find it difficult to understand that from Buhari, it gets progressively worse the sense of contempt that Nigerians have.
“We hate Buhari now more than we hated Jonathan. We hated Jonathan more than we hated Yar’Adua. We hated Yar’Adua more than we hated Obasanjo. We keep going down at that direction.”
But the presidential adviser said the assertion that Buhari was more hated than previous leaders was not supported by “empirical evidence.”
He however said the fact of Nigerians hating their leaders showed something fundamental was wrong with their psyche, stressing that the leaders need the followers to succeed.
“There are countries that never lived as dangerously as Nigeria has always lived and which are worse off than we are. The fact that Nigeria remains a united country in itself is a success. And I pray that we continue to stay together and get it right.
“Therefore why do we have so much cynicism in our country? Everything you say, a Nigerian is cynical about it. If we want our country to work, we need to believe more and we need to cooperate more, we need to pray more whether some people say we are not spiritual or not. We need to be grateful to God where we are,” he said.
Also responding to Kukah, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos faulted the claim that Nigerians have hated their leaders. He said what happened was that they usually engaged them critically.
“That (Father Kukah’s statement) sounds to me more like a revelation than discussion and it is understandable because it is coming from a reverend.
“What appears more discursive is that leaders all over the world are criticised by their citizens and criticism can be very hot without necessarily becoming hatred except by pastoral revelation. Therefore Nigerians have never hated any of their leaders but have critically engaged them and their policies,” the don noted.
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