The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has revealed how he paid N30 million as ransom for securing the release of two of his priests from kidnappers.
He made this known at a one-day “High-level forum on political communication and issue-based campaign in the 2023 general elections,” organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), on Monday in Abuja.
Kukah said: “I am the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, I have spent about N30 million, the money I don’t have, because my priests were kidnapped and I have nowhere to turn to.
“I am not ashamed to say it because these are essential realities. Anyone who wants to become president of Nigeria cannot pretend to stand before me without giving me empirical evidence from his or her record about how they intend to deal with these issues because there is a collective feeling of alienation.
“Here in Abuja, just about a month or so, when the threats came that the bandits will enter into Abuja, everybody went undercover.”
He added that similar situation is at hand for him as his nephew and driver are in captivity, having been kidnapped three days earlier.
“Right now, as we speak, my nephew and the driver of the vehicle are currently in the hands of the kidnappers, how it is going to end I don’t know. They first said they wanted N50m, before reducing it to N20m and as at this morning, raising it to N30m”, he said.
For 2023 elections, the cleric said Nigerians do not need anyone who projects himself as a messiah as the nation doesn’t need such now.
Instead, someone who truly understands the situation of things is required, even as he declared that many times, politicians say what they do not mean the process of their campaigns.
Kukah noted that campaigns henceforth must be identity-based, getting the right identity for the country and not emphasizing the things that really do matter.
He said: “When we talk about 2023 elections, we need to talk about how we will get ourselves out of all of these.
“The questions that the ordinary Nigerians are asking are legitimate and it is the responsibility of those who govern to deal frontally with the issue.
“We need to re-image and re-imagine Nigeria because the Nigeria that we have today is not the Nigeria that many of us can recognise”.
Kukah also admonished that politicians must develop the skill to manage diversity in such a way that the people do not feel left out.