…Insists meeting with OBJ only on reconciliation
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah, has said that his meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was to serve as witness to the peaceful reconciliation of a prolonged dispute between the two leaders.
The Catbholic Bishop, who was reacting to concerns by members of the public over his presence at the meeting, said ina statement he issued on Monday in Sokoto that his meeting with the two leaders was not for political reasons, adding that it was strictly to support and witness their reconciliation which he has been trying for some years to achieve.
He noted that he had for several years made efforts to reconcile both leaders without success until recently when they both agreed to meet and make peace, stressing that he had no idea of the PDP leaders and other people he was going to meet at the residence of the former president until he got there.
Bishop Kukah, who noted that he had agreed to meet with Atiku on Thursday October 11, at the home of former President Obasanjo in Abeokuta along with some religious leaders; Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and Rev. David Oyedepo. Kukah said that on getting to the home of the former president, he saw that more people were invited and the meeting gradually started to have a political undertone.
“After the closed door meeting between the two leaders, I and Sheikh Gumi went and sat down with them. My advice to them was that it is imperative for them to maintain the peace. Ex-militants in Edo protest non-payment of stipends “I told them that I am a Catholic priest and bishop and the Catholic Church preaches against divorce or separation so there should be no room for that again.
“After our discussion which was done behind closed doors we prayed and we took a photograph and I left the home afterwards to attend to other spiritual duties. “I was earlier offered a sit in their aircraft and although it was the most convenient offer at the time I declined the offer because I saw it as necessary to ensure that I take no favours from any of the two parties.
“I was not in Abeokuta to endorse Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). I fully understand the feeling of some persons who believe I travelled with Alhaji Abubakar to witness his endorsement by former President Obasanjo, but this was not the case at all.”