By Okeoghene Akubuike
Most Rev. Matthew Kukah,Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, says one of the major problems facing the country was her inability to manage diversity.
Kukah stated this at the 2019 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) in Abuja on Thursday with the theme: “Optimizing Public Relations Strategies for National Cohesion’’ .
He said the quest for national cohesion remained an illusion and therefore, marketing Nigeria had become a frustrated exercise because too many issues had still not been resolved.
“The problems in Nigeria has very little to do with the things that we ascribe, but has everything to do with our inability and sheer incapacity to manage diversity.
“We do not have a sense of unity about direction amongst us. The Bible says if two people do not agree they cannot travel on the same road.
“The point I am making is when you live in country like Nigeria where people are safer with their nephews, brothers, cousins, sisters as Special Assistants and Personal Assistants and so on, then we are in trouble.
“So, managing the diversity in Nigeria becomes an issue. We have ended up with a situation in which this institute which is suppose to be the conveyor belt of the goodwill of government is severely malfunctioning just like other arms of government.
“ If we are talking about optimizing public relations or selling Nigeria where do you start, because we are practicing politics of a very poor quality, politics that has become so regionalised and factionalised,” he said.
The Bishop said the last elections showed that the country was divided into two; the North and South, with the two sides thinking and saying different things.
He, however, said those were not the realities but they were perceptions.
He said the situation in Nigeria had become frightening such as the insecurity, high crime rate, poverty, long relentless battle between government and the university community, amongst other things, which had affected the perception of Nigeria by the outside world.
Kukah said the youths in Nigeria, who were supposed to be driving change by their agitations, were rather sitting incorporated waiting for crumbs to be given to them from the national cake.
The cleric added that Nigeria had become adverse to expertise and intellectual contribution in spite of the quality of manpower she had.
“So, the quest for national cohesion remains an illusion this is why our assets, the incredible capacity of our people is suspended.
“A country has to come to a point where it can say No! This is no longer acceptable.
“ But our inability to say No is because those who have the voices to say No, like you and I are too comfortable.
“ This comfort is an illusion because it is derived from a fraud; it is totally not acceptable that we live with so much and so many of our people are objects of humiliation around the world.”
The bishop commended NIPR for the work they do and charged the institute to be in the forefront of changing the narrative for a better Nigeria.
“Nigeria has refused to develop the current reflex to take the road less travelled, we have always gone for the easy road, but it is obvious in the social conditions we are now in.
“ We have conducted free, fair and credible elections but still we are not happy.
“Where we are now we can do better and I believe those of you in the position and have the voices like all of us do have, will at least be able to say NO!
“ That it is necessary for us to do things differently because majority of our people and all our citizens created in the image and likeness of God, deserve a far better life than they have now,” he said.
Kukah said that the hypocrisy in the country had to end in order to create a just, fair and better society.(NAN)