The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina and his Senior Special Assistant, Garba Shehu, of avoiding issues but engaging in what he called poor quality writings in the discharge of their duties.
This came after the duo’s recent attack on the clergyman following his Easter Homily to highlight government’s shortcomings.
Answering questions in a national television interview on Tuesday morning, Bishop Kukah challenged the presidential spokesmen and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to a debate on national issues at the time and place of their choice.
“I don’t know whether any of them has the ability or the capacity to speak about guilt or no guilt,” Bishop Kukah said.
“But let me first of all set that records straight. I delivered my sermon to my congregation in the cathedral. So, the bearer of the message are primarily the good people of the diocese of Sokoto.
“Of course, am not unaware of the state of mind of my two friends, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, when it comes to talking about Bishop Kukah. They seem to suspend reason and go into overdrive.
“Unless of course Garba Shehu has plans to convert to Christianity or he is a closet Christian or he is an anonymous Christian, I appreciate the fact that when it comes to talking, he has not quoted the Holy Quran. All he does is end up with some convoluted interpretations of the Bible and embarrassing in their contexts.
“And I’m surprised that Femi Adesina who I believe is a reverend of sort in the Foursquare Gospel Church, I’m surprised that he’s unable to help his friend who they sat together.
“But let me simply say that I have made an offer to them and still make the offer that they can choose the venue, choose the time and just let me know. I would like to sit down with the three of them beginning with their honorable minister and both of them. Let us sit down together and talk about Nigeria. I’m ready, I will pay my way, I still repeat that offer to them.
“These are the only spokesmen that have spent a lot of time buying, photocopying paper and simply typing away texts. They have been involved in all kinds of writing of the poorest quality, never talking to the issues.
“So, first thing is to show you their inefficiency. It is that they are used to writing statements as opposed to taking to Nigerians about policies.
“What this tells you is that 99.99% of what they write are imply second-guessing what the president’s mind is. They have no contact with the president, they have no contact with government policies and all they are doing is writing on behalf of the president.
“There is no where in the world where the job of this nature is being done an has been done so poorly.”
While noting that he has served under different governments, including in the Oputa Panel and getting both former President Goodluck Jonathan and then Mr Buhari to sign a peace accord over the 2015, elections, he added: “The reason I am saying so, I’m just saying that I’m no stranger to the process we are in.
“While we’re we’re doing all these things, Femi Adesina was being paid salary by Orji Kalu and he was doing a good job in the Sun as a journalist. Garba Shehu was working for Atiku. Lai Mohammed was working for Tinubu. So, I think everybody should be able to answer his father’s name.
“And I can say that the reason why I am emotional and passionate about the things of this country and about where we are today, I have paid my dues. Let each and every of my critic tell me where they were at the most critical moment in Nigeria’s history.
“It’s not that now people’s bank accounts are swollen that they an probably try to preach gospel to us that they themselves don’t believe.”
Following the critical homily, Shehu, had in a statement on Monday night, called on Bishop Kukah to leave the president alone or resign and join politics.
In the statement, Shehu, a Senior Special Assistant to the President alleged that the clergyman has been spreading hate for decades.
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