The Authority Icon: Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah
For having amazing humility, deep contentment, being a penetrative liberal thinker and a shepherd of Christ who fearlessly speaks truth to power; for his consistent espousal of the basic truth that society can find no answers except it knows what the questions are, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah is The AUTHORITY on SUNDAY Icon.
Serving a highly conservative organization which brooks no doctrinal or behavioral deviance, the Roman Catholic Church, it surprises many that he has never been reprimanded by the Vatican for his candid views on troubling issues. This gives an indication of his power as a deep, disciplined thinker. He speaks with alarming frankness, a trait which stems from his passion in philosophy as a basis for intellectual inquiry. He is a navigator with an old school discipline forged in the stern furnace of ecclesiastical training.
Meet Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, the current Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto. He was born in August 31, 1952, to Pa Vincent Kukah and Mama Hauwa Kukah, in Anchuna, Ikulu Chiefdom in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Kukah received his primary education at St. Fidelis Primary School, Zagom, then St. Joseph Minor Seminary, Zaria, before proceeding to St. Augustine Major Seminary Jos, Plateau State, where he studied Philosophy and Theology. He was ordained a Catholic Priest on December 19, 1976. He also attended the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a diploma in Religious Studies.
Later, he received the Bachelor of Divinity at the Urban University Rome in 1976, followed by a Master’s degree in Peace Studies, at the University of Bradford, United Kingdom in 1980. Kukah's academic pursuits culminated with a PhD from University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 1990.
Between 1999 and 2001 he served as a member of the Nigerian Investigation Commission of Human Rights Violations - The Oputa Panel. In addition to his work as a parish priest of Saint Andrews's parish in Kakuri, Kaduna from 2004 until his nomination as bishop, he was secretary of the National Political Reform Conference (2005) and also served as the chairman of the Ogoni-Shell Reconciliation. Additionally, between 2007 and 2009 he worked also in the committee for electoral reform set up by the federal government.
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Bishop of Sokoto on the 10th June 2011. The diocese was built in 1964, a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Kaduna, which covers a vast territory of 109,507 sq. km, with 14,133,000 inhabitants, of whom about 44,366 are Catholics – as at four years ago - with 17 Parishes, 32 Diocesan Priests and 7 religious priests, 7 religious brothers and 28 religious sisters and 39 major seminarians. Kukah remains one of the most fearless and prolific writers and commentators on a wide range of critical national issues in the country today.
For his amazing humility and deep contentment; for being a liberal thinker, a shepherd of Christ who fearlessly speaks to power in the face of national danger when many chose the diplomatic path; for his consistent espousal of the basic truth that we can find no answers except we know what the questions are, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah is The AUTHORITY on SUNDAY Icon.