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Nigerian democracy in recession due to lack of cultural reflection —Bishop Kukah

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The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has criticized the state of Nigerian democracy, attributing its recession to a failure to reflect the country’s diverse cultural experiences.

Speaking at The Platform Nigeria, an event organized by Covenant Nation to commemorate the 2024 Democracy Day, Bishop Kukah emphasized the divergence between Nigeria’s democracy and its historical, cultural, and anthropological roots.

Kukah highlighted the foundational differences between Nigeria’s democracy and those of Europe, where democratic principles were shaped by the philosophies of renowned thinkers such as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.

He noted the influence of theologians like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas on modern liberal democracy, citing Joe Biden’s reference to St. Augustine in a presidential address as an example.

“The unfortunate reality is that what we are working with is not something that comes from our own historical, cultural, or even anthropological experiences,” Kukah lamented, pointing out the lack of alignment between Nigeria’s democracy and its indigenous context.

The Bishop criticized the country’s fixation on short-term political goals, arguing that Nigerians neglect long-term planning in favor of immediate political gains.

“Nigerians do not want to hear about what will happen in 2040 but all their attention is fixed on the politics of 2027,” he remarked.

Kukah also addressed the global economic recession, stating that Nigeria’s mismanagement exacerbated its impact.

He criticized legislators for prioritizing personal benefits over national interests, citing excessive salary demands, fringe benefits, and unnecessary foreign trips as examples.

“As a result of our inability to cultivate financial discipline and prudent management of the economy, Nigeria has come to depend largely on internal and external borrowing to execute projects,” Kukah observed, highlighting the detrimental effects of Nigeria’s borrowing culture on its economic stability.

In conclusion, Bishop Kukah urged for a reevaluation of Nigeria’s democratic framework to better align with the country’s cultural realities. He emphasized the need for financial discipline and prudent management to steer the nation away from its dependence on internal and external borrowing for development projects.

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