…says President has failed in security, job creation, anti-corruption
…Nigerians must instigate real, genuine change
“You either restructure the country or get out. Leadership is by hard work and not by wearing babanriga. The current edifice of state has become a deathtrap”
The Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has upbraided the Muhammadu Buhari administration for retrogressing in its policy thrust: security, job creation, and anti-corruption, saying that the wind of change should blow any non-performing government away. Speaking yesterday in Lagos during his state of the nation address titled, “It is time to renegotiate our union”, Bakare declared that the current administration has failed in what seems to be its area of strength – security, and has permitted genocide in some parts of the country.
Bakare said: “This administration anchored its policy outlook on three main thrusts, including security, job creation through diversification, and anticorruption, yet all around us are signs of retrogression. “Nothing indicts the current government greater than its failure in one key performance area that ought to be its strength: security.
“Despite recent setbacks, we acknowledge the gains in the war against Boko Haram, but highly disturbing is the mayhem being continually unleashed by herdsmen on communities in different states across the country, including Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Kaduna, Enugu, Edo and Ogun states, leaving trails of weeping and wailing. The recent killings in Benue State are akin to the last straw that is set to break the camel’s back.
“As was the case with previous administrations, the current government appears to be merely patching the cracks on the wall.” Lamenting the exponential growth in the unemployment rate, the clergyman, who was the running mate to President Buhari in the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), said the rise in the number of unemployed Nigerians from about 6 million in 2015 to almost 16 million in 2017, is a sign of retrogression.
“As at June 2015, the unemployment rate was 8.2% of a labour force of 74 million, meaning that about 6 million Nigerians were unemployed. By September 2017, despite such efforts as N-Power and a range of policies aimed at improving enterprise development and facilitating job creation, the unemployment rate had risen to 18.8% of a labour force of 85.1 million, indicating that between 2015 and 2017, the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from about 6 million to almost 16 million,” Bakare said. Describing the Buhari administration’s anti-graft war as ineffective, Bakare said several bizarre developments in the corruption war are responsible for the loss of crucial corruption cases by the anti-graft agencies. He said: “The ineffectiveness of the anti-corruption war is seen in the loss of crucial corruption cases.
“These losses are in addition to bizarre developments such as the failure of the government to confirm a substantive Chairman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite the fact that the same political party controls both the executive and the legislature.
“Not to mention the public showdown between EFCC and Department of State Services (DSS) officials or the opposition of the Director-General of the DSS to the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC.” Bakare, who is the Convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), identified the complicity of the Federal Government in the various herdsmen attacks across the country, stating that the administration has treated the menace with kid gloves despite repeated warnings from stakeholders.
His words: “Not only has the government failed to stop these killings across the country, it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks “an issue of communal misunderstanding”, as the Inspector- General of Police recently did in respect of the Benue attacks, it has treated the menace with kid gloves even after the Global Terrorism Index 2015 described “militant” herdsmen as “the fourth most deadly group of 2014”. Worse still, some of these killings have reportedly been carried out in collusion with the military.
“Recently, the Secretary to the Adamawa State Government, Umar Bindir, justified the bearing of arms by the herdsmen, but failed to tell where the herdsmen get their guns from and with which government agency these guns are registered.
“Who authorised them to bear arms? Who gave them immunity against section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act 1990, which prescribes punishment for illegal possession of arms? Who monitors the use of these guns? Why have the relevant government agencies failed to act? In particular, why has the name Department of State Services (DSS) become synonymous with the phrase “Deliberate Sinful Silence” (DSS)? Or is it now the Department of Sinful Silence?” Giving reasons for the alleged complicity of the Federal Government in the herdsmen killings, Bakare said the Buhari administration is culpable by not advancing and vigorously executing policies aimed at pre-empting or preventing the killings even with sufficient warnings.
He also pointed out the failure of the government in making the menace an issue of importance in the national discourse. “Mr. President, in his New Year address to the nation, did not consider the menace or the pain of victims of previous attacks worth a mention in his address,” he said. Proffering solution to the current impasse in the country, Bakare said what Nigeria requires now is not elections, but a renegotiation of her union through restructuring.
“The election of June 12, what did it produce? Is it election we need now or to restructure our country? If you don’t want to develop, no problem but let others develop. We need to restructure, an election every four years has become a colossal waste to Nigeria,” he noted. Calling to question the New Year address of President Buhari on restructuring, Bakare said the president’s position has further alienated his government from the voice of reason in relation to the call to restructure Nigeria. “I totally agree with Mr. President that we need process reforms; otherwise, we would not be appointing dead men to head parastatals, but can process reforms replace foundational structural reforms? Never.
“Therefore, I say to those who have the power to take the decisions and actions necessary to end these atrocities, especially by restructuring the nation, but have failed to do so for political gains, that they are attempting to establish a city by iniquity and there are dire consequences. “You either restructure the country or get out. Leadership is by hard work and not by wearing babanriga. The current edifice of state has become a deathtrap.
All around are cracks in the wall that originate from the structural foundations.” Asked whether he has parted ways with President Buhari, the clergyman said: “A friend speaks truth to his friend. What I have said in the open, I have said in the secret. I am not a coward.
Why would there be a parting of ways? None whatsoever.” On whether he has had an audience with Buhari over the herdsmen killings, he said: “I have advised him severally, last year alone, I advised him 18 times.” Bakare stated that in decent societies, the government would have been shown the way out on the Benue killings, explaining that: “Look at what happened to IPOB, they mobilized heavily, both military and air force to go because of a man that is not killing anybody, but just saying there will be no election and peace.
“This is where people are literally being murdered and nothing was done. That is not justice. What happened to those 70 people is a sad tale. In fact, in decent societies, such government will be shown the way out.” “The wind of change should blow any government that is not taking care of the welfare and security of the people away at anytime and anywhere.
The primary purpose of any government is to take care of the welfare and security of the people. Will I keep quiet and not talk?” Urging for a democratic revolution, Bakare said the season for complaints and complacency is over, adding that: “The current political class constitutes far less than one per cent of Nigeria’s voting population.
To avoid engagement with the powers that have hijacked our collective patrimony is to surrender our national destiny without a fight. “Our fight to reclaim and renew Nigeria begins now. Registering and obtaining a valid voter’s card must now be a national priority. If the 2015 elections were critical to our national survival, the 2019 polls are pivotal to our country’s future development. If power truly belongs to the people, it is time for the silent majority to instigate real and genuine change.”
Clarifying his recent statement where he was quoted during the watch night service on January 1st that God told him to contest in 2019, Bakare said the declaration was not a presidential campaign flag-off. “My priority is restructuring; I am not running for any election. The present political structure is even messing up the good people.” He said his declaration for presidency has triggered massive anxiety and speculations in the polity, noting that it “was an invitation to prayers sent out to fellow labourers initiated in our corporate destiny as nation builders.”
“To the uninitiated, that declaration was news, but to my partners in destiny, to whom indeed the request for prayers was extended, my journey and trajectory in the call to nation building are well known. “Nowhere in that declaration did I mention running for election.
It is, however, not surprising that politicians and the politically-minded have interpreted it as such,” he said. Bakare said if it is the wish of God for him to lead the country, he would accept it in good faith, declaring that he is running, but not for elections even as he can still lead the country without contesting for elections.