Matthew Kukah, bishop of the Catholic diocese in Sokoto, says President Muhammadu Buhari is making it difficult for Nigerians to celebrate diversity.
The cleric spoke at The Platform, an annual conference organised by Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos.
The virtual event hosted by Poju Oyemade, its convener, was to commemorate the nation’s 60th independence anniversary.
Kukah faulted the current composition of the Nigerian leadership with Muslims occupying leading positions across various political institutions.
He said the current arrangement where the president, those in charge of affairs at the senate and house of representatives, as well as the chief justice are from the same religion, hinders celebration of diversity and betrays the principle of federal character.
“I think even the most optimistic Nigerian must conceive that we are nowhere near coming to define the real sense of democracy. Beyond just going through the process of cycles of election, we have a very serious problem with recruitment methods,” he said.
“Reflecting federal character should be like viewing ourselves in the mirror and celebrating our diversity because the table is big enough to occupy everyone.
“But when you don’t have that and you put all your apples in one basket, naturally you cannot make headway, because you’re violating the constitution and thinking that we are in a democracy.
“This president (Buhari) in my view in the last few years has made it very difficult for us to celebrate diversity. And Nigerians will concede that a reward system that is so skewed, whether in favour of men, women, Christians or Muslims is unacceptable because when it was time to vote, all of us came out to vote.
“We need to very quickly reset the template if we are to take our place after 60 years of independence. If we are unable to provide our people with water, food, light, security, then it is a tough call. I am not a happy Nigerian but I remain a hopeful Nigerian.”