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June 12, 2024

Nigerian democracy in recession because it doesn’t reflect our cultural experiences — Kukah

Nigerian democracy in recession because it doesn’t reflect our cultural experiences — Kukah

Bishop Matthew Kukah

By Miftaudeen Raji

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah said the Nigerian democracy is in recession because it doesn’t reflect our cultural experiences as a diverse nation.

Kukah stated this on Wednesday at The Platform Nigeria, a programme by Lagos-based church, Covenant Nation, to mark the 2024 Democracy Day.

According to the cleric, Nigeria’s democracy was not founded on the country’s historical, cultural or anthropological experiences, unlike Europe where principles of democracy were founded on the thinking of several philosophers.

He said, “What is missing in our conversation is that unlike where the principles of democracy were founded on the thinking of several philosophers from Plato, Socrates, Aristotle etc, our democracy has paid very little attention.

“We have been involved in intellectual conversations about democracy but modern liberal democracy as we understand it today benefitted extensively from the work of people like St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.

“It is also quite significant that Joe Biden even in his presidential address had to quote St Augustine and it means therefore that it is the teachings and philosophies and theology of some of these scholars that led the foundation to what we call democracy today.

“Unfortunately, our democracy is in decline, and is in recession precisely because it is evident to us that what we are working with is not something that comes from our own historical, cultural or even anthropological experiences,” he said.

Kukah said because of Nigerians’ obsession with politics, they can’t seem to think beyond a particular period.

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

Kukah, while acknowledging the global economic recession, said its impact is aggravated in Nigeria because of mismanagement.

He said the situation could have been averted if Nigerian legislators were alert to their responsibilities. According to him, the legislators were instead preoccupied with their salary scales, fringe benefits and unnecessary foreign travels.

Kukah noted that, 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.