Religious fanatics twisting Kukah’s statement to divert attention – Soyinka

Published January 19, 2021

Gbenga Adeniji and Godwin Isenyo

NOBEL laureate , Prof. Wole Soyinka , has faulted critics of the Christmas speech of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah , saying they are religionists diverting attention from the cleric’ s central theme .
The playwright said he had studied the transcript as reported in the media and found nothing in the speech that denigrated Islam.
He , however, noted that he was not among the most religion besotted inhabitants of the globe , saying that alone, he was told , disqualified him from commenting on the subject .

Kukah in the speech summed up the country ’ s woes ranging from insecurity, poverty to citizens ’ frustration under the regime of the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd. ) .
A Sokoto -based Muslim Solidarity Forum had called on Kukah to “ quickly and quietly leave the seat of the Caliphate ” or immediately stop what it termed his malicious vituperations against Islam and Muslims and tender unreserved apology to the Muslim Ummah. The presidency has faulted the forum’ s position .
Soyinka spoke in a statement on Monday titled , ‘The Kukah offence and ongoing offensives . ’
He said, “ One of the ironic features of religionists is , one is forced to conclude, a need to be offended . It is as if religion cannot exist unless it is nourished with the broth of offence .
“ This may be due to an inbuilt insecurity, a fear that even the ascribed absolutes of faith may be founded on nothing more than idealistic human projections , not grounded in anything durable or immutable, hence the over prickliness , aggressiveness , sometimes even bullying tendencies and imperious posturing .
“ This leads to finding enemies where there are none. In certain social climates , it degenerates into inventing enmities in order to entrench theocratic power . In its own peculiar way, this is actually a rational proceeding. A perceived threat to a collectivity tends to rally even waverers round the flag .”
According to Soyinka , some of the most extreme of the violent forces that recently assaulted the governance citadel of the world ’s powerful nation sprung from religious and quasi -religious affirmations .
He said, “ On a personal note , I have studied the transcript as reported in the media and found nothing in it that denigrates Islam but then, I must confess , I am not among the most religion besotted inhabitants of the globe .

“ That , I have been told , disqualifies me from even commenting on the subject and , quite frankly , I wish that were indeed the case. ”
He recalled an instance when the now Kaduna State Governor , Mallam Nasir el- Rufai, came under attack by the Christian community “ for allegedly insulting the divine persona of Jesus Christ ? What did el Rufai say exactly ? Nothing new or startling . All he did was deploy a common, everyday figure of speech to describe an overwhelming challenge .”
SOKAPU demands arrest of people threatening Kukah
In a related development, Southern Kaduna people under the aegis of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union have reacted to the threat to life of Bishop Mathew Kukah by Nigerian Muslims .
They are kinsmen to Kukah , the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, who came under attack by Muslim faithful over his Christmas day homily .
The union demanded the arrest of those who threatened Kukah with eviction order over his Christmas homily .
SOKAPU National President , Jonathan Asake , at a world press conference in Kaduna on Monday , warned that nobody had monopoly of violence and that no harm must befall the Catholic bishop .

This was just as he criticised the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd. ) , over his alleged discriminatory postures towards other Nigerians apart from those from the “ core North .”
Asake said only the likes of the Sultan , Alhaji Sa’ ad Abubakar and emirs from the core north could criticise the current Buhari regime and go scot – free in the country today.
He recalled the treatment meted out on a former Minister of Defence , Gen . TY Danjuma ( retd .) , and the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria , Dr . Obadiah Mailafia , on their comments on the nation ’s insecurity.

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