Bishop Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, is a man who is well known as one who does not speak lightly or play to the gallery on any matter especially as it concerns, faith, politics and governance. He is one of those who speak truth to power without batting an eyelid. Having been called to an austere life as a priest, Kukah is one of those very few men in our clime who court no favours and welcome disdain without any qualms even from the high and mighty as long as it is for the cause of truth. He is a man generally known for his candour and fearlessness.
His avowed integrity and forthrightness qualified him to serve as secretary to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission popularly called the Oputa Panel at the dawn of our current democratic dispensation wherein he discharged his duties passionately and to the satisfaction of not only those who appointed him but also of all Nigerians.
He is among the very few Nigerians who have told Buhari that blaming the past administration for every ill of Nigeria while abdicating his own responsibility to act was only going to drive the country southwards. He also had at different times warned the president about the way he was fighting corruption and making it the sole business of government as that could lead to the collapse of the polity. Today, those warnings not heeded have led us into recession.
So when such a man commends any one, then the person is worthy of commendation indeed; one does not need to look too far to know why.
During one of the activities of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Nigeria holding in Akure, Bishop Kukah, being overwhelmed by the developmental strides of Olusegun Mimiko, the governor of Ondo State, commended the governor on the strides and even went as far as asking other governors to emulate Mimiko.
“For us in Nigeria, we have always believed that solution to bad government is to hand over everything to the private sector. So, I am quite pleased with the fact that things are working here,” Kukah said.
This is by no small measure, a justification of all those who have been commending the Ondo State governor for a job well done. No one visits Ondo State without leaving with a positive impression as Mimiko has etched his signet of service through his ‘Caring Heart’ initiative in the hearts of the indigenes and residents alike.
One of the interventions of government which the bishop spoke particularly highly of is the Ondo Emergency Medical Services which dot strategic locations in the state. With this emergency services, rescue operations with sophisticated machines and medical aid are made available to accident victims in the state within a short period of between 12 to 15 minutes irrespective of location of incident, thereby saving lives of such victims and prevent deaths that usually occur from such accidents in our country.
In a country where fatality rate from accidents are only rivaled by that caused by malaria, this service is music to the ear especially when one considers that Ondo State is a major corridor for travelers from different parts of the country.
In addition, as at today, Ondo State has the lowest mortality rate in Nigeria. And the reason is not a mystery.
At the Mother & Child Hospital, another of governor Mimiko’s ‘Caring Heart’ initiative, women are offered childbirth services, whether natural delivery or caesarean section, absolutely free of charge as long as the patient has the state’s resident identification card, Kaadi Igbeayo. For those who may not have the card which is an all-encompassing card that caters to the socio-economic needs of its holders in the state.
With about 55 ‘Caring Heart’ mega schools dotting the tranquil landscape of the state, Governor Mimiko has taken education in Ondo to a new height. The new ambience, architectural aesthetics, learning facilities including ICT centres equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and well-motivated teachers all contribute to making the mega schools be in a class of their own.
In addition to this is the free shuttle bus for students that has been operating without any form of interruption for four years since 2012. This service takes school children to their respective schools irrespective of whether they are students of public or private schools. Consequently, the daily burden of additional expenses by parents for the transport fare of their children/wards is eliminated.
The good story from Ondo State under Mimiko can go on and on.
So, when a priest in the mould of Bishop Hassan Kukah commends the Ondo State governor, it is because he was convinced about the developmental strides he saw. No doubt, Bishop Kukah must have heard about the developmental strides in Ondo, but as a man who would not speak on any matter based on hearsay, he had not made any comment concerning the state lest he speaks amiss, as anyone could claim phantom feats in Nigeria.
However, having seen things himself, the clergyman could not hide his elation at what he saw and he commended governor Mimiko so highly for them, more like the ‘beatification’ of a worthy leader, while advising other leaders to emulate the Iroko.
Jude Ndukwe is a political analyst who lives and works in Abuja, Nigeria. He is a member of The Trent’s Elite Columnists. His column is published every Friday. He tweets from @stjudendukwe.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.