The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has come under heavy fire for his shocking criticism of Catholic Bishops after their visit to President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
Among those hauling Bello over the coals are the Christian Association of Nigeria, prominent Catholic Bishops, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, the Centre for Anti-Corruption, among others.
The Catholic bishops had, during a visit to the Presidential Villa on Thursday, told the President that his goodwill had depleted by his glaring failures.
But Bello, in an interview with the State House correspondents on Friday, told the bishops that only those who were no more getting stolen money to pay tithes were angry with Buhari.
“And of course, those who have looted the country dry and normally go to the church and mosque to pay tithe, are no longer doing so. Of course, these are the category of people that are angry,” the governor had stated.
Reacting to Bello’s stinker, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, described the statement as “a tragedy of leadership in Nigeria,” Punch writes.
He said, “The statement of the governor is not worthy of my comment because I believe that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria stands for something higher than that. I won’t even dignify him with a response.”
When prodded to speak further on the issue, Kukah added, “This is a character (Bello) that nobody heard anything from until he suddenly accidentally found himself in power. What does he (Bello) know about what the bishops have said? So, I don’t even want to dignify him with any response. I don’t think it’s worth giving him a story.”
Also, CAN urged Bello to focus on rescuing his state from the grip of kidnappers instead of “trying to be the President’s errand boy.”
The media aide to CAN President, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, said: “Under his (Bello’s) watch, people are committing suicide and he has refused to pay workers. If he is the one that would be running to Abuja to defend the President, then something is wrong somewhere.”
The National Director, Caritas Nigeria and Justice Development and Peace Commission, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, said Bello was a disgrace to the Not-too-Young-to-Run Campaign, while the National Chairman of the PPA, Chief Peter Ameh, in a statement on Saturday, said Bello had shown he lacked God-fearing characteristics.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, has apologised to Catholics and Christians in general for what he termed Bello’s ‘verbal diarrhoea’.
“I apologise to the Catholic Church and the Christian community for the verbal diarrhoea of the Governor of Kogi State. It is more obvious than ever that he needs some ‘equational’ balances at his end. This affliction on Nigeria shall not arise a second time,” he said.