The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and Convener of the National Peace Committee, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, has described Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State as a poor representation of the teeming Nigerian youths.
Speaking against the backdrop of the current disturbing violence in the North Central state ahead of the November 11 governorship election, Bishop Kukah believed, “Sadly, I think he’s been a very poor advertisement for what young people can do.”
He added, “I feel very sad because Kogi has been on the front burner, and Yahaya Bello, the governor, prided himself on being the youngest governor and being a representation of what the youths of this country can do if they are given the opportunity.”
Speaking during an interview on Channels TV Sunrise Daily Programme on Wednesday, Bishop Kukah observed that Governor Bello, 48, became the Kogi State Chief Executive in 2015 after the death of Abubakar Audu, who was initially the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and was elected for a second term in November 2019.
Bishop Kukah sued for peace on the current face-off between the labour movement leadership in the country and the Imo state government, saying that all parties and stakeholders concerned should sheath their swords and allow for peaceful elections in the State.
He urged organised labour to explore a peaceful resolution to the conflict, saying that Nigerians keep making the point that the people who are contesting elections are their sons and daughters and that whatever we do, in conscience, Nigerians must always think about the common good.
He advised that civil society organisations, unions, and churches with a bit of moral authority must always act in the common interest of everybody, pointing out that without a country, there will be no trade union, as all that is needed to be done is to look outside the window and see what is happening in the Middle East today, specifically in Israel and Gaza.
According to him, when elections go wrong, it is ordinary people who suffer and he hoped that the labour leaders in Imo would really be more circumspect and ask themselves, ‘Who stands to gain and who stands to lose what?’ believing that, at the end of the day, it is the people of Imo, who are not electing someone who is outside their state.
Bishop Kukah noted that Imo is a deeply Christian environment and hoped their religious leaders and others with moral authority could prevail on the union to defer whatever their grievance may be, saying that it can only be resolved in a peaceful environment.
He appealed to the police and other relevant agencies to ensure security during the governorship elections in the three states, saying that the people’s welfare and well-being cannot be sacrificed on the altar of personal or group interests.