Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, says Nigerians are frustrated by the outcome of the 2023 election and also believe that justice has eluded them.
In a statement on Sunday, Kukah described Nigerians as men and women returning from a funeral with forlorn looks.
The cleric condemned the violence that trailed the elections, saying it cannot be accepted as the new ladder to power.
“Nigerians are so collectively frustrated that it is almost impossible to convince them that they can find justice,” Kukah said.
“Everywhere you turn today, Nigerians look forlorn, disconsolate, lugubrious, and despondent. Our swagger is gone. We look like men and women returning from a funeral, murmuring discontentment in hushed tones. It is therefore not surprising that even the victors are blowing a muted trumpet.
“Unpleasant as this may sound, this blood that they have shed could be seen as blood of the birth of a new Nigeria. It can become the blood of our new birth, our redemption. However, we cannot accept that violence and bloodshed are the normal route to power. Because like the blood of Abel, the blood of those who have been murdered continues to cry out to heaven seeking for justice ( Gen. 4:10).”
The bishop empathised with aggrieved citizens and asked them not to give up in the quest for justice but to align their hopes with the celebration of Easter.
“Though we are tempted with the drudgery of fatigue and despondency, unlike the apostles in the garden of Gethsemane, we should be ready to wait in patience for one hour or more (Mt. 26:40),” Kukah said.
“Our dream is merely in suspense, a punctuation mark in the book of our unfinished greatness. Let us see this as a detour, a diversion. We still have our roadmap in our hands. It is time to return to the highway so as to choose a road less travelled, a road of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and hope. The ugliness of yesterday must not define us. We must finish this journey together. We shall neither relent, slow down nor give up.
“The resurrection is a promise that despite the seeming hopelessness, God’s plans cannot be frustrated. Those who position themselves at night with stones to guard the entrance of the tomb will find themselves confounded at dawn by an empty tomb. A new Nigeria will emerge from the tombs of our seeming helplessness.”
Speaking to aggrieved Nigerians, Kukah asked them not to show their anger through violence but to transform it to a motivation to seek justice.
“Yes, we are all angry and we all want justice. Yes, we have the right to be angry and we should be angry. But, angry about what, angry with whom and justice for whom? St. Thomas Aquinas, known as the angelic doctor of the church, said: ‘He who is not angry when there is a just cause for anger is immoral because anger looks to the good of justice. If you can live with injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust’,”Kukah said.
“This is why the urgent task before us is to restore the dignity of the Nigerian nation and her citizens. Nigerians have for too long been beaten by the rain and the sun of injustice.”