– Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has thrown his weight behind Bishop Matthew Kukah
– The 1986 Nobel prize winner for Literature said he found nothing denigrating Islam in the cleric’s message
– Soyinka described the warning given to the Catholic bishop to leave Sokoto state as unwholesome
Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka has responded to critics that reacted to the New Year address of Matthew Kukah, the Catholic bishop of Sokoto Diocese.
In a report by Premium Times, the professor on Monday, January 18, said the controversial reactions to the cleric’s message were diversionary and nationally unhealthy.
The Nobel laureate who made his position known in a statement also warned that Nigerians must not give in to the demands of irrational religionists who would demand a mile after getting an inch.
Soyinka went on to note that after studying Kukah’s message he found nothing denigrating Islam in the address.
He added that the bishop’s New Year homily is a demonstration of a nation’s badge of maturity and should be read as a continuation of the provocative discourse.
Describing the warning given to Kukah to vacate Sokoto state as unwholesome, Soyinka stated that it must be rejected by any pluralistic society.
While wondering why religion is being echoed as a legitimate extract from the address, the playwright added that it is a “deliberate, emotive displacement of a central concern.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the presidency released a statement in reaction to a group, Muslim Solidarity Forum (MSF), giving Bishop Kukah an ultimatum to leave the northern state.
Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in a statement issued on Wednesday, January 13, and shared on Facebook said that the ultimatum by the group is wrong because it is not in line with Nigeria’s Constitution.
Shehu further said the right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in the Constitution, adding that it is the duty of the government to ensure it is respected.
In a related development, Chief Frank Kokori has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Aminu Tambuwal to step in amid the face-off between Kukah and JNI.
The Delta state All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain made the appeal in an interview with Tribune Online on Tuesday night, January 12.
The elder statesman urged the Nigerian leader and governor to stop Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, the secretary-general of JNI from inciting Muslims against Kukah so as to prevent a religious war.
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