The Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, says there is a need for President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministers to publicly declare their assets just as Buhari did last month.
He said, “Buhari has an opportunity now. I don’t think many of you have been to Buhari’s house in Kaduna but I have been there and I know what it looks like. You heard about his declaration of assets. He must, therefore, make minimum demands of moral conduct and probity from his ministers. As Nigerians, we must ask ourselves what drives corruption. Corrupt people are not necessarily bad people. A lot of them are not bad people because they do a lot of good things. But we live in a country where too many good people are doing too many bad things.”
The cleric said Buhari must set standards for his ministers on the kind of lifestyles they and their families must live.
He said for instance, it would be good if the President demands that all the children of his ministers must school in Nigeria.
Kukah added, “For me, if you are a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, your children must have their education in Nigeria. That will be good.”
While delivering his lecture titled, “Hysteria, euphoria and amnesia: Nigeria’s long walk to freedom,” Kukah said Nigeria had failed to develop because the country had continued to make the same mistakes.
Defending his stance that ruling Nigeria should not be only about jailing corrupt people, Kukah said all coups including the first one of 1966 were perpetrated under the pretext of fighting corruption.
He, therefore, argued that restructuring the system and plugging all loopholes remains the best way to fight corruption.
He said, “If you take the worst Nigerian President and Americans are patient enough to vote for him and he rules America for 20 years, he will not be able to steal up to $50,000 no matter how long he rules because of the kind of system that operates there.
“But if you take a British Prime Minister or American President and make him the President of Nigeria, the moment he wants to set up an anti-corruption agency, he will have to bribe the National Assembly.”
Kukah said the proliferation of churches or mosques in a country did not necessary imply that the nation would have a high moral standard or development. He said unlike Nigerian leaders, former South African President, Nelson Mandela, was never seen in a church.
While comparing former President Olusegun Obasanjo with Mandela, Kukah said the circumstances in the nation prevented Obasanjo from being like Mandela.
He said, “Both of them went to prison and became Presidents when they were released but we know that if Mandela had gone to a Nigerian prison, he would have died there.
“When Mandela came out of prison, there was a structure in place. His party had been in existence since 1912. It had a doctrine, discipline. When Mandela came out of prison on February 11, 1990 and when he was approached, he said he would have to consult with Oliver Thambo. Mandela was already a party man.
“Compare this with President Obasanjo who came into power through the PDP. Look at the circumstances of the formation of the party. Mandela was also fortunate to inherit an economic and bureaucratic system that had been in place for long. Obasanjo inherited a system that was severely weakened.”