Bishop Matthew Kukah explains decline of democracy in Nigeria

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Lagos, June 12, 2024 – The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has addressed the ongoing recession of democracy in Nigeria, attributing it to a lack of foundation in the country’s historical, cultural, and anthropological experiences.

Speaking at The Platform Nigeria, an event organized by Covenant Nation to mark Democracy Day, Bishop Kukah compared the development of democracy in Nigeria to its evolution in Europe.

“Unlike Europe, where principles of democracy were founded on the thinking of philosophers like Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, our democracy has paid very little attention to such intellectual underpinnings,” Kukah remarked. He noted that modern liberal democracy has benefited extensively from the works of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, whose philosophies laid the groundwork for today’s democratic principles.

Kukah highlighted a significant point by referencing U.S. President Joe Biden’s inaugural address, where Biden quoted St. Augustine, underscoring the importance of these historical philosophies in shaping democracy.

“Unfortunately, our democracy is in decline, in recession, because it is evident that what we are working with does not stem from our own historical, cultural, or anthropological experiences,” Kukah asserted.

He further commented on Nigerians’ preoccupation with short-term political goals. “Nigerians are fixated on the politics of 2027, showing little interest in long-term plans or what will happen in 2040,” Kukah stated.

While acknowledging the global economic recession, Kukah emphasized that its impact in Nigeria is exacerbated by mismanagement. He criticized Nigerian legislators for neglecting their responsibilities, focusing instead on their salaries, fringe benefits, and unnecessary foreign travels.

“Our inability to cultivate financial discipline and prudent economic management has led to a dependence on internal and external borrowing to execute projects,” Kukah said.

Bishop Kukah’s address serves as a call to action for Nigerian leaders and citizens alike to rethink their approach to democracy and governance, grounding it in the country’s unique experiences and ensuring responsible economic management.

 

 

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