Our Mission In Obasanjo’s House Not To Endorse Atiku — Kukah
BISHOP of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Mathew Hassan Kukah, has said he was not in Abeokuta, Ogun State, with former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to endorse Atiku, but to reconcile the former vice president with his former boss.
The clarification came following the noise that trailed his presence at what had been termed the endorsement of presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku, by Obasanjo.
Also at the meeting were the outspoken Islamic scholar and Grand Khadi of the Northern Region of Nigeria, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi; Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, among other political leaders.
In a four-page statement he released on Monday morning, Kukah said he had to make the long explanatory note so that people could make up their minds based on facts.
“I note that Sheikh Gumi has already told his own side of the story. I feel obliged to state my own side so that Nigerians can have a clearer picture of my own involvement.
“Sadly, I personally did not read President Obasanjo’s statement until two days later on the internet since I was not physically in the hall.
Although trying to reconcile President Obasanjo and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was something I had been working on intermittently in the last few years, nothing could have prepared me for the way things finally shaped up.
“My focus all along had been with President Obasanjo and I had never brought Alhaji Abubakar into what I was doing.
“Quite fortuitously, a chance meeting changed the tide in favour of reconciliation. Understandably, the pictures of the four of us (President Obasanjo, Alhaji Abubakar, Shaikh Gumi and I) literally lit up the social media and elicited divergent reactions from the general public.
“Although over 99 per cent of the reactions that have come to me have been largely those of commendation, with people focusing, rightly, on the reconciliation, there have been others whose focus has been on an isolated development that had absolutely nothing to do with what I had in mind all these years, namely, the endorsement.
“I must say that I am eternally grateful to God that this reconciliation finally happened. The focus of attention has been on the endorsement of Alhaji Abubakar by President Obasanjo, a development that I can call the third leg of the process which I initiated.
“I am not sure of President Obasanjo’s other interlocutors after we agreed to meet leading to the participation of other actors and so, I will only clear the air on what I can take full responsibility for,” he stated in the statement.
Kukah added that unlike Sheikh Gumi and Bishop Oyedepo who were invited to the event, he was a central actor, adding that as a priest of the Catholic Church and a Bishop, he had more than a passing knowledge of discipline and doctrine in matters relating to the role of a priest in political engagement.
“My doctoral thesis was on Religion and Politics in Nigeria. So, this is an area that I have written and spoken extensively about for over 30 years. I am, therefore, very clear about the boundaries, the slippery slopes and the contexts.
“Unlike Sheikh Gumi and Reverend Oyedepo who were invited to this event, I am a central actor. So let me explain what really happened.
“On Tuesday, October 9, 2018 I had the honour of being the guest speaker for the annual conference of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Alagomeji, Lagos. (The presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, a member of this church had first invited me some years back but I could not honour the invitation).
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