Most Rev. Mathew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, has said democracy is not developing at the right pace in Nigeria because those making the laws are benefiting from the system.
Kukah, the Convener of the National Peace Committee, made this submission while speaking on Channels Tv’s Sunrise Daily.
He lamented that the job of developing policies that will drive democracy in the country had been left for the politicians, who, he said, are major beneficiaries of such policies.
The clergy said: “The problem with Nigeria’s situation is that the sinners are the ones trying to make the law. These are the consequences of where we find ourselves now.
“I speak to the fact that as long as the universities are the way they are, as long as we do not have privileged intellect and the diagnostic tools required to refine processes, as long as we are hoping that politicians are the ones to set their own rules, as long as we expect that almost all of these are politics, there would not be an improvement in the country.
“In my view, had it been we have a country that is working, a country that takes research seriously, it is the business of political scientists to equip the people in power with the required tools for analysis, to the options that are available to ensure things go the way they should go.
“But unfortunately, if you have a situation where the universities are not funded, the country itself behaves as if it wants to close the universities, what else do you expect?
“Unless and until this government and other government in Nigeria takes academic exercise very seriously, we can not expect the person who is sick to be the one to provide the medicine for his cure,” he stressed.
He said the National Assembly members who are supposed to focus on the problems of Nigeria were only concerned with their opportunities and privileges.
Speaking about his committee’s effort to entrench a peaceful electoral process, especially in Ekiti where a governorship election will hold at the weekend, Kukah said the committee was looking at all options to ensure that elections are free from violence.
He said: “As you can see from the enthusiasm of our people trying to get their PVCs, it seems that by the day, our people and our democracy are all maturing.
“The challenge really is for political actors to work the talk, for the political actors to become responsible and more responsive to the issues of ordinary Nigerians.
“Ordinary citizens are well ahead of the political actors in terms of what they want, how they see things and they understand the issues.”
He said the amendment in the electoral law would instil greater confidence in Nigeria’s democracy.
“Gradually, as the quality of people’s lives is increasing, people can become a little bit relaxed but for now, politics in Africa and Nigeria seems to be a bit tense because of the nature of the sharing of the political benefits.
“If people in power continue to practise nepotism when people feel that they have voted and the people who are benefiting are those who have just come out of the comfort of their rooms, they are bound to feel frustrated. These are ingredients for violence in Nigerian politics.”
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