In writing this opinion, let me be clear that I have nothing personal against Pastor Tunde Bakare. He is someone I respect and hold dear to my heart. It was in his Church, Later Rain Assembly along Acme Road, Ogba that I answered the altar call in 1992 and gave my life to Christ.
Bakare is a fine preacher of the word and perhaps one of the finest around. When he sticks to the gospel which is his calling, I can only compare him to Late Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa. He is charismatic, fired hot, commands and eat the words.
But in politics, he is a gaffe-ball. I am certain God didn’t call him into politics, his human flesh just dabbled into the game, hence he fires and misses.
1999 he rattled the nation when he predicted that the newly elected president Obasanjo will die before his inauguration. Not only was Obasanjo sworn-in as president, we endured him for eight solid years and he is still very much around.
Again, he predicted that the Holy Spirit told him that President Buhari will hand over to him in 2019. Well, that didn’t happen. Buhari is still with us having his fun while Nigeria boils.
Very recently he turned his holy altar into a political cum PR rostrum in an effort to dress up Bola Tinubu in the finest robe ahead of 2023. Tinubu he said is the most suitable person to succeed President Buhari in 2023 because he has made himself worthy in spite of the challenges of his background.
I admire Tinubu , I like people with rough and humble beginning. There is nothing wrong with rising from grass to grace. Tinubu can be president. I can vouch he will be far much a better president than President Buhari.
However, in the interest of peace, justice and equity he should reconsider his ambition and concede 2023 to the South East. I know this will not be an easy decision for him but if he does, he will become a statesmen and posterity will remember fairly as the man who rendered justice to the Igbo.
2023, the South East will produce for Nigeria a president that will take her out of the wilderness and current state of despair. No one should pretend that all is well with Nigeria. President Buhari has woefully failed as a leader even in the area of security where he was supposed to have comparative advantage. His leadership is a huge embarrassment and Tinubu has a share of the blame. As a contributor to our present darkness he should be going through some ritual of penance and not aspiring to lead Nigeria.
Unfortunately, it is against the Igbo political aspiration in 2023 that Bakare fired his new salvo. Bakare loves the Igbo and will love Igbo president but in his consciousness the Igbo cannot produce president because they don’t have the numbers. He also wants the Igbo to join mainstream politics because APGA is not a national party.
Those were fine lines of argument except that underneath is the clear fact that Bakare psychological warfare against the Igbo is positioning his tribe and spinning for Bola Ahmed Tinubu ahead of 2023, and he was wrong in many ways: No tribe in Nigeria has the numbers to produce the president of Nigeria by itself without a coalition of forces. Not the Fulani, not the Hausa, not the Igbo and most definitely not the Yoruba.
Late Alhaji Shehu Shagari was not elected president because the Fulani had the numbers. Chief Obasanjo was not elected president because the Yoruba had the numbers. In Obasanjo’s case, the Yoruba rejected him. He lost in his ward.
Former President Jonathan didn’t become president because the Ijaw nation had the numbers and likewise President Buhari on account of the number of votes the Fulani gave to him.
In Nigeria, Presidents emerges by conspiracy/ coalition , concession or by default. Concession: This happened in the case of Olusegun Obasanjo versus Olu Falaye where the rest of Nigeria conceded power to the South West in the interest of peace and to compensate for the unjust annulment of June 12 election believed to have been won by Late Chief MKO Abiola. The two major political parties paraded an all Yoruba candidates, so that head or tail, the Yoruba wins. Such political harmonization is still possible and more desirable now.
Another way a President had emerged in Nigeria is by conspiracy or coalition. This is when at-least two or more major tribes conspire with themselves to combine force to produce a president. Example is the Buhari presidency which is a coalition between the North and the South West. A conspiracy or coalition between the South East , South -South and the North would have produced the same result.
Other presidents like President Yaradua and GoodLuck Jonathan came by default. Nigeria can voluntarily by political harmonization do to South East what it did to South West.
The South East does not aim to produce a Nigeria president all by herself. They are not about to produce an Igbo president but a Nigerian president of South East extraction elected by Nigerians. This can happen with political harmonisation.
Tunde Bakare was also wrong in his thinking that Igbo route to the presidency is APGA. The core Igbo states are five. APC which is the ruling party controls two states, Ebonyi and Imo. PDP which is the major opposition party controls Abia and Enugu State while APGA controls Anambra State. How more mainstream can the Igbo be?
If Tunde Bakare love for the Igbo isn’t just a mere platitude to keep them as his congregation, he should be championing the cause of justice for the Igbo. Ndi Igbo don’t want to be feared. They want to be respected and treated fairly. They don’t want any special privilege. They want a Nigeria that is fair to all. They want a nation that can manage her affairs and treat her citizens with dignity, not a dysfunctional society like we have today. There is nothing we the Igbo wish for ourselves that we do not wish for the Hausa, the Fulani and for the Yoruba. We want a prosperous and strong nation where people can be judged and assessed by the content of their character and on merit, and not by their tribal tongue and how they pray.
It’s a big disappointment to the average South Easterner that 51 years after a civil war fought primarily to stop the Igbo from seceding and to keep Nigeria one, the victor has refused political reconciliation and harmonization with the Igbo. Igbo people are told in different ways that they are not wanted as equal partners in the Nigeria project. Now they are told they cannot be president because they don’t have the numbers. Simply put, they cannot be president because they are Igbo. Which tribe in Nigeria ever effectuated the president because they have the numbers?
If Bakare wants to know if Igbo have the numbers, he should lead the battle cry for one man one vote in Lagos State. Let’s not rig the election by using thugs and security agencies to suppress Igbo votes. Let’s not confiscate and destroy Igbo voting cards. If in a free and fair contest the Igbo votes didn’t effectively determine the governor of Lagos State then I will accept they don’t have the numbers.
I will love Bakare to stick to his calling as a preacher of the gospel. Combining his works as a preacher of the gospel with that of political spinner doesn’t make him look his best. I wish he takes my very friendly advice in good faith which I know he will. I remain grateful to him for our memorable encounter of 1992 and that wonderful gift I received from him.
Clem Aguiyi can be reached via Email on : email@example.com