The Senior Pastor of Citadel Global Community Church (CGCG) in Ikeja, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, yesterday told President Muhammadu Buhari how he could tackle the country’s myriads of challenges.
Bakare argued that Nigeria is currently finding it difficult to make progress because it is resting on a faulty political structure.
The solution, he said, includes pragmatic restructuring, to be led by the President before the 2023 general polls and for Nigerians to shift their focus from zoning arrangements to the candidates’ competencies and character.
Bakare spoke during his ‘State of the Nation’ address titled: The Black Box of Nigeria’s Politics at his church headquarters in Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos State.
He urged the President to “tear down” the 1999 Constitution, describing it as the country’s “glorified death certificate”.
The fiery lawyer and cleric, who was President Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 presidential poll, warned that unless this is done, the President might not be regarded in history as a success.
He said: “I say to President Buhari: Mr. President, stop passing the buck to the National Assembly. Tear down this inhibiting concoction of a constitution. Tear it down so we can build a truly great nation!
“This is one enduring legacy your administration can still secure before your time in power draws to a close. If you do, present and unborn generations of Nigerians will remember you for it and write your name in gold when the history of this period is written.
“If you don’t, history will record that you failed to rise to the occasion and squandered a great opportunity.”
The popular preacher said the people around the President were fatigued and that there should be a “change of guard”.
“Everyone looks tired around the President and we need a change of guard to bring in competent people to handle critical issues. That’s what I mean by change of guard. I’m not advocating a coup d’etat. God forbid, because that would set us back many years again.
“Military coup landed us in trouble many years. Anyone thinking about changing our system, it is illegal. I didn’t say change of government. I said a change of guards,” Bakare emphasized.
He argued that the qualifications of the next President were more important than his region of origin.
“If you think election 2023 is our priority, then you’re putting the cart before the horse. I’m not saying there will be no election in 2023; I’m only saying certain things have to be put in place before that time. Look at how tense election is looking like in Anambra State. Look at the tension,” Bakare said.
The preacher dissociated himself from running in the next general election.
He explained that when a reporter recently asked if he was going to throw his hat in the ring for any election, his response was: “I said to him to look at my head very well, that I’m not wearing any cap. So, there’s nothing to throw anywhere.”
On rotational presidency, Bakare said: “If there is rotation, as accepted policy to make Nigeria peaceful, so be it. But shouldn’t we be much more concerned about who leads us, rather than where they come from? Is the person competent? Does he have character? Does he have capacity? What are the things he is bringing to the table? These should be the things we are concerned with.”
The cleric also announced the inauguration of Nigeria for Nigerians (aka N4N) Movement that will “shake Nigeria more than Save Nigeria Group did and involve Nigerians in the Diaspora”.
According to him, the launch is an indication that “it is time for Nigerians to take back Nigeria”.
In March 2018, Bakare announced his plan to form a political movement to champion the restructuring of Nigeria.
He said the new movement would be christened the New Nigeria Progressive Movement, which he said would “fight to entrench true federalism in the country”.