Bishop Kukah Advocates on New Political Ideology for Nigeria

By Abubakar Yusuf.

The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and Convener, National Peace Committee and global public speaker, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah said the perennial and similar political ideologies has been the problems of the country’s democracy in the current dispensation.

Kukah who bare his mind during the “Public Presentation of the Needs Assessment of Political Parties in Nigeria” held on Tuesday at Exclusive Serene Hotel, Abuja by The Kukah Centre and European union agreed that the influx and existence of uniform approach to political development, activities and disposition had been the bane of our political advancement.

He regretted the plight of political parties ideologies in Nigeria to that of a lizard lying down on its stomach, not knowing what the the stomach contains or had in stock.

“The missing links of history have left our people vulnerable to the rapacious attacks of raw politics which is leaving so much blood, pain, sweat and tears in its wake. The quality of actors suggests very clearly that there are no teachers, no guardians, no mentors in our political history. “

“The result is that we are witnessing an end to the age of innocence and the nobility of politics. This is not an inspiration to the younger generation who are likely to shun politics with the understanding that this is how things have been since the beginning.”

Kukah maintained that the need to present the assessment to the public was to develop an acceptable political ideologies both to the ruling and minority parties , rather than winners takes all as applicable in Nigeria.

“Without clear thinking about politics, we are simply playing a game with no goal posts, no referees nor linesmen. Even the Video Assisted Referee cannot function because there is no light.”

“In such a situation, the stadium will be full of confusion with the spectators calling out the fouls and the penalties. In this case, there will be a field of confusion, but definitely not a game of football.”

He said because of current practices and trend, it is difficult to see political actors with strong ideas just like we had in the early 70’s and 80’s in the likes of Mallam Aminu Kano of PRP, Obafemi Awolowo of UPN and Nnnamdi Azikiwe of NPP who occupied and were also major actors of our political corridors some decades away.

Political Parties are the platforms on which politicians are weaned, trained and deployed to serve the public good. We want to dredge up some of the good, the bad and the very ugly phases of our national history so that we can have an idea of where we have come from. In the process, we need to see if there are any good markers or signs that those who came before us left.

“Hopefully, from their experiences, we can begin to think more clearly about how to make politics noble.”

“Without a proper understanding of the role and place of Political Parties in a Democracy, we would be playing a game against the backdrop of what I have described above. We believe that no matter the energy of the youth, they will not be able to do anything different from their past and present set of politicians if they see politics a blood sport. Politics was not meant to be a Casino machine, nor a Betnaija parlour.”

“With a proper understanding of Political Party processes, young men and women with vision can have a clear idea of the imagination and the resources required to form Political Parties.”

Kukah who commended the European union for it’s synergy, said the best political culture is to move away from the current dispensation that had metamorphosed into socio-economic and by extension social security problems in the country.

He commended the large turn out of both the ruling party leadership and the opposition parties, stating that this was crucial to kickstart a new political movement for Nigeria.

He warned the political actors not to allow the country disintegrate into the horrible state of military interregnum, stating that a good political culture will guarantee a robust democratic practices against the experience of the past military leadership.

“To say that the Nigerian political scene is a forest of chaos is to be charitable. That we are watching the big fish consuming the small fish is not out of place. Today, we have no collective political memory, no thanks to the disruptive and corrosive years consumed by the military.”

The Speech reads..

Remarks by Bishop Matthew Hassan KUKAH, at the Public Presentation of the NEEDS ASSESSMENT OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN NIGERIA ON December 5, 2023 at Exclusive Serene
Hotel, Wuye, Abuja, FCT.

In the absence of a coherent narration of its history, Nigeria and Nigerians have often tried to find a series of alibis to plaster over the visible cracks on the walls of their memories. The result is that there is dissonance in our definition and expression of ourselves, our histories and our cultures.

Where did History fall off the cracks in the Academia? Why did History lose its allure and attraction to students and even teachers? What are the implications and consequences for our young generation of citizens today and the nation? In the absence of clear answers, Nigerians have often resorted to myths and fables as to how History became an ignored subject.

For example, one often hears that the government took history off the syllabi of Nigerian Universities because they were ashamed of the records they had left behind. Some argued that in reality, History ceased to have market value and as such, it fell victim to the law of supply and demand.

Either way, there isn’t much pride in History and my argument is that we are paying the price in terms of lack of a common solution to our problems.
The appetite to study history ended when it seemed clear that if you studied History, you would end up teaching in a Secondary school and not in the Bank or the NNPC, unless of course you were the son of a somebody. At a time when the Banks became the paths to the great rush, young women in skimpy skirts and young men in bow ties stepped and pounded the streets in search of deposits.

In the 90s, if you were a young graduate, all everyone wanted to do was to go to the Bank. While the banks made their money, young women would sooner than later began to feel the moral pressures of being Bankers and the cost of finding deposits.

Ironically, in the 80s and the 90s, the Universities of Ahmadu Bello, University of Calabar, Jos, Ife, Port Harcourt among others were Centres of academic excitement and excellence as a generation of scholars turned History into one of the most exciting subjects in the Social Science Faculties. We all have memories of the robust ideological engagement between state and citizens fired by reputable professors and their Student underlings.

Professors and Students filled the air with robust analysis of the contradictions of society, the class conflicts between the bourgeoisie and the masses, the challenge to primitive capitalism and the urge for a revolution. Those were times of illusion and delusion over a new world that would come about after all the workers of the world have united.

Today, times have changed. The young Lecturers of yesterday and their Student activist underlings have all matured and become largely incorporated into the social fabric of the much-hated bourgeoisie of yesterday. The shouts of aluta continua have since been replaced by aluta finita.

The Marxist tools of analysis of yesterday had their time and uses because they generated class consciousness to use the phrases then. I wonder if, today, it would be safe to say that they these tools of analysis have been consigned to the dust bin of History or if they will ever be sharpened. All of this has consequences for our society today.

Had the progression continued into political party formations, perhaps, politics would have been different, more engaging in Nigeria.

To say that the Nigerian political scene is a forest of chaos is to be charitable. That we are watching the big fish consuming the small fish is not out of place. Today, we have no collective political memory, no thanks to the disruptive and corrosive years consumed by the military.

The missing links of history have left our people vulnerable to the rapacious attacks of raw politics which is leaving so much blood, pain, sweat and tears in its wake. The quality of actors suggests very clearly that there are no teachers, no guardians, no mentors in our political history.

The result is that we are witnessing an end to the age of innocence and the nobility of politics. This is not an inspiration to the younger generation who are likely to shun politics with the understanding that this is how things have been since the beginning.

Our gathering here is quite significant. It is not a gathering of politicians. It is a gathering to think about politics so as to help inspire confidence in politics.

Without clear thinking about politics, we are simply playing a game with no goal posts, no referees nor linesmen. Even the Video Assisted Referee cannot function because there is no light.

In such a situation, the stadium will be full of confusion with the spectators calling out the fouls and the penalties. In this case, there will be a field of confusion, but definitely not a game of football.

We at the Kukah Centre are poised to help create confidence in politics because we believe in the state as a vehicle for delivery of public goods.

Political Parties are the platforms on which politicians are weaned, trained and deployed to serve the public good. We want to dredge up some of the good, the bad and the very ugly phases of our national history so that we can have an idea of where we have come from. In the process, we need to see if there are any good markers or signs that those who came before us left.

Hopefully, from their experiences, we can begin to think more clearly about how to make politics noble.

Without a proper understanding of the role and place of Political Parties in a Democracy, we would be playing a game against the backdrop of what I have described above. We believe that no matter the energy of the youth, they will not be able to do anything different from their past and present set of politicians if they see politics a blood sport. Politics was not meant to be a Casino machine, nor a Betnaija parlour.

With a proper understanding of Political Party processes, young men and women with vision can have a clear idea of the imagination and the resources required to form Political Parties.

When the European Union challenged us by opening up this opportunity for us at the Kukah Centre, we seized it with both hands because of its significance because I was thrilled.

The Staff at the Centre are largely young people with drive and ambition. This project is very important to us because it is my hope that it will be part of our learning curve, a testing ground.

To this end, this project will benefit both our researchers, those engaged in the project and those of us who will consume the products of this hard work.
Finally, I want to thank in a very special way, our dear friend, the ever cheerful Ambassador Samuella Isopi for her enthusiasm over the work that we do, her belief in our work at the Centre and her unrelenting support. I thank Laolu Olawumi, the Kukah Centre’s Ambassador kekere to the EU. We thank the EU for seconding Ezrom Ajanya to the Kukah Centre to oversee this project. In course of his work, he has become a key member of the Centre’s family. He has brought enthusiasm and added a sense of professional urgency to our work.
He is the pilot of this project.

You will see from the Recommendations in this Assessment that we have presented many options for parties to consider if they are really to become the ideological engine rooms for driving our political processes and Democracy. The Report has drawn from not just academic analysis but a range of interviews across a wide spectrum of our society, listening to the views of ordinary citizens.

The Report has recommended a constant review of the Electoral Act, the need to incorporate the Opposition as part of the political process, the need to create more innovative ways of financing political parties, re-examining the place of Party Financing and
so on.

To Fr. Atta Barkindo and his team at the Centre, I thank you for being such a safe pair of hands and the leadership you have offered in sharing our vision. Finally, to all of you who have graced this occasion with your presence, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, INEC Chairman, Engr.
Yusuf Yabagi, IPAC Chairman, and other distinguished Members of Civil Society, other professional groups, our deep appreciation.

To all who worked on this project, Staff and Consultants, we are most grateful. It is our hope that this Briefing should serve only as a mere paragraph in a volume of work on Political Parties that lies ahead. We are using this medium to say that we at the Centre wish to partner with all actors and platforms for the advancement of our Democracy. God bless you all and a merry Christmas ahead.

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