Stop using religion for political gain, Presidency warns religious leaders and politicians


Shehu noted that, from his pulpit, Kukah devoted his Easter message not to the death and rebirth of Christ so that man could be saved — but to the damnation of government in the most anti-Christian terms.

According to him, Kukah neglects the teachings of the Bible in James 1:26:If someone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, that person’s religion is worthless.”.

“Easter should be a time of renewal and hope. For those who hold authority – both temporal and spiritual – to unite in word and deed so that those who look to them, for example, may be inspired by their grace,” he said.

Kukah’s Easter message was delivered at a Sunday mass service in Sokoto.

In the message, Kukah lamented the increase in cases of kidnapping, banditry and other crimes and stressed the need for collective efforts against the threat.

He advised the President to admit that it was within his powers to decide how we are going to end the war that had engulfed and was destroying our nation.

Shehu, however, said, “Now is not the time for religious leaders to play politics, or for politicians to play religion. It is a time, as in Titus 3:9 for “Avoid polemics, genealogies, dissensions and senseless quarrels of law, for they are useless and worthless”.

“Yet Bishop Kukah used his sermon purposely to make dissensions and quarrels about the law. His accusing list against the government only revealed his hatred for them.

Yet, when he accused them of division, he gave no example: merely assertions from his own mouth. His allegation of ethnic and regional division was an insinuation without proof, and he gave none.

“His list of things he claims are broken – from churches to mosques to schools to highways – belies all that were built and others rebuilt during this government’s tenure.

“If he should feel compelled, for whatever reason, to criticize the government for what he considers to be its errors, the Bible clearly indicates how to proceed:Brethren, if anyone is caught in a transgression, you who are spiritual must restore him in a spirit of meekness”, Galatians 6:1-2.

If bishops or religious leaders believe they have a sympathetic audience for stories of government error or fragility, they are doing their flock an injustice by filling their ears with divisive talk and hateful thoughts.

“Nigeria knows too well Bishop Kukah’s views on government. He has made it very clear how much he has disliked them since the day they were elected.

“Whether expressing one’s political opinions is a good use or an abuse of religious office is for others to decide. But the Nigerian people have spoken – twice: they support this government at the ballot box. They weren’t swayed by hate speech from a bullying desk.

According to the presidential aide, Kukah should focus on his spiritual missions and leave the government to voters and politicians.

“We respectfully ask Bishop Kukah to leave government to the voters and politicians they elect, while he concentrates on his work, as expressed in James 1:27:”The religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and keep oneself undefiled from the world.

“Or else he should put away his clerical garb, join partisan politics and see how far he can go.”


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