The Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, and former vice presidential candidate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday, weighed in on some roiling issues in Nigeria, identifying those he said were the real enemies of Nigeria.
He also advised President Muhammadu Buhari to get involved in identifying and grooming the man who would succeed him when his tenure expires on May 29, 2023.
Delivering his State of the Nation address in his church at Akilo Road, Lagos, on Sunday, with the theme: Unveiling the true enemies of Nigeria, the fearless preacher said that the various socio-political and pressure groups dotting the country were not Nigeria’s problems.
In a tone reminiscent the January 15, 1966 coup speech of Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, Pastor Bakare said the true enemies of Nigeria included, among others, rogue political office holders who betrayed the people’s trust and looted the treasury blind.
He said the socio-political groups should not be considered as threats to Nigeria’s survival so long their activities were within the ambit of the law and were not subversive. Since their activities were for the public good and within the ambit of the law, they should not be seen as the enemies of the country.
Pastor Bakare, also the Convener of Save Nigeria Group, SNG, listed the socio-political groups as including: Movement for the Actualisation for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Arewa People’s Congress (APC), Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Egbesu Boys, among others.
“Furthermore,” he continued in the special broadcast, “through the decades of our national existence, we have had agitations for self-determination from different tribes; we have seen the Movement for the Actualisation for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
“We have seen the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo; we have seen the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and Arewa People’s Congress (APC); we have seen the Egbesu Boys, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), and a host of other sectional agitators.
“As nationalists and patriots, the tendency is to describe sectional agitations as counterproductive to the nation-building imperative.
“In some cases, we have even gone ahead to proscribe some of these groups because of their methods, but sectional agitators, so long as their activities are for the public good and within the ambit of the law, are not enemies of our nation.
“They become threats to national stability only when they take to subversive tactics. Otherwise, those sectional groups calling for better representation in the context of true federalism, and for self-determination within the provisions of international law, are not the enemies of Nigeria.”
Although his administration still has over three years to expire, Pastor Bakare advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to sit on the fence on the matter of who succeeds him in 2023. This, he said was necessary in order to protect his legacies when he leaves office.
Point-blank, he told the President: “Build a strong post-Buhari legacy facilitated by accurate succession.”
In so doing, he added, President Buhari would be following the footsteps of some world leaders who played a role in choosing their successors as a way of sustaining their legacies after they are gone.
A key responsibility that history bestows on Buhari, Bakare continued, was “to institutionalise systems of accurate succession that will build and sustain the Nigeria that is desired.”
The fire-spitting preacher, however, frowned at the harassment of journalists and advocates of good governance and reforms, citing, in particular, the case of Omoyele Sowore, publisher of the Sahara Reporters who was recently released after spending over 200 days in custody over his #RevolutionNow campaign.
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