The psych of this nation has been badly bruised – Bakare

Tunde Bakare, serving overseer, Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC), in this interview with Channels TV that Gbemi Faminu monitored, the pastor spoke about Nigeria’s precarious situation and his relationship with President Buhari’s administration. He also gave some insights into the future according to what God has revealed to him. Excerpts:

It’s a very interesting moment we are in as a country and I know you’re someone who is passionate about this country, you speak about it, and you breathe it. Let me first and foremost begin by asking your view on the state of the nation as it is right now. I know 2023 is around the corner, people are talking about it. It might look far from some people’s point of view, but it does look like there is a Nigeria that those who love Nigeria are yet to see what they want, what is your view on the state of the nation?

Other than trusting God and keeping up with life, this is not the Nigeria we envisioned, not only as young people but in the recent past. it’s as if again we are at the precipice, but Nigeria has a way of bouncing back so we are full of hope that God Almighty will help us but we are in a very perplexing situation as a nation.

Many things that we did not see before are happening now, and even the President himself said so, he said nothing worries him or bothers him like what is happening in the Northwest, especially the banditry and kidnapping.

That might have been a sporadic occurrence in the past but now you’re not sure of your own personal security or safety and travelling now, thank God for COVID, though we don’t want it to stay but COVID kind of kept people in their homes, it’s horrible.

Are you surprised by what is happening, considering your insight into how this government came into being and what we’re seeing today, are you surprised in any way that this kind of thing is happening?

I’m not surprised. I’m terribly, terribly shocked by the things that are happening I never envisaged it, we are full of hope and we put everything by the grace of God that we had to ensure that APC will win this election with a promise of change.

Nigerians were very hopeful, I was but you see God alone knows tomorrow and we can put our hands in his hands and ask him to help us out of our present dilemma.

So, for some reason, you hope for a better Nigeria, but it is not the hope that you had that you are seeing right now, How does that make you feel?

Well, it’s very straightforward, I talk straight from scripture, and it says hope deferred makes the heart sick but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

But this hope has been so deferred that it makes one’s heart sick, but we still believe that Jesus is the healer the nation also has a soul that has been traumatised, and dented in so many ways.

The psych of this nation has been badly bruised by the occurrences all around us, East, West, North and South of our country and God forbid, that we will become a pariah nation again.

You had trust in President Buhari for example, is that trust still there as we speak?

The Bible says we should not trust the arms of flesh or put our trust in princes, the only person you can trust, absolutely is God Almighty, because the arms of flesh will fail, the best of men are still men at the very best and from his own utterance when he granted the last interview the few occasions he had spoken to this nation, he himself was overwhelmed by the things happening.

And so, a tree does not make a forest and if I were in his shoes, I will try other things if what I have been doing does not work it might be a time to look for those who can really deliver, instead of this.

We have been going around about this for eight years, and something needs to be done, if he is mindful of his legacy and that’s been my cry, that’s all.

If there’s going to be an outstanding enduring legacy that cannot easily be erased or rubbished some things need to be done very soon. Whatever it is, they must sit down and put on their thinking cap and say we cannot let it continue this way.

In terms of assessment right now. How would you describe the situation in the last six years?

A six-year-old child that is still crawling has problems, you want to examine or call the doctors to come in and examine the child so something is wrong.

And so if we are going to assess, we need serious political medicare. There is no problem that is devoid of a solution, human beings are given authority and dominion. We’re supposed to be the answers to problems and solutions to crises that we are in and if you get the right team and the right people who are doing the right things at the right time, we will get results.

Would you say it’s been a failure in the last six years?

Using my own words, failure will look like something you try again and you can still do something with it. I once failed an exam mathematics 1973, I sat for an exam, and I got a nine, but I met a friend of mine was late now, Ahmed Abebefe, he was a genius in mathematics, but his English was terrible and I was very good in English.

I called him aside and proposed we engage and help each other, we both got C5 in the subjects so we can help ourselves. Yes, there’s a gross failure and it is apparent to everyone, but you can fail forward.

Is it the same Buhari that you had hand in hand run with, that you have right now?

I don’t understand your question because I sat with the president almost every month or every other month since he became the president of this country, and I’ve not seen any change in his mental capacity.

I’ve said that to people who believe he is another person, he is the same person.

The question I’m asking is, you had a trust, and then you ran with him. You had a trust in helping his party and himself to win an election, and so something must have happened between the times that you had trust and now that you think that they’re not doing what they should do for Nigeria?

That’s your own connotation of what I said. I said, I have served, respected and loved, but I will not keep quiet. Do you understand me and let things fall apart.

You do not sacrifice truth, on the altar of friendship, any friendship that ends never started, so do not think that there’s a crisis or we’re not talking but I had to cry out in case he is not aware of the things happening around him.

But you also said that you are not afraid if he comes in your way, the manner in which you spoke it does look like there is a tendency that anybody who speaks out they will come after them?

Let me tell you what led to that particular statement. It was horrifying to me to live in a country where security men will invade the home of a private citizen who has not been charged for any crime, and they will kill people and drag the blood of those people on the floor, that can happen to any citizen.

And it’s not the President who went in to do that, I was talking to those people.

That is a civilized world except we are beast and are in an animal kingdom, you don’t do that, where is the place of the rule of law, if someone does something wrong, arrest the person and prosecute him but do not invade his privacy in the dead of the night and kill them, or damage their homes. I’m not in support of any secessionist move we are better off together but in a free and fair environment where citizens’ rights are protected.

Nobody’s above the law. Respectfully, I’m saying not even the president of a nation is above the law. And if they have immunity today how about tomorrow, how many presidents from Europe or elsewhere, and Africa, had ended up or the International Criminal Justice was my concern, and those who could do that in the dead of the night can do it to any citizen and I was addressing them directly.

So, your relationship with him is still intact?

You’re looking from outside, you are not seeing inside.

Even if best friends fight between themselves it doesn’t bring an end to the friendship. You can disagree in friendship you agree to disagree and you disagree to agree.

Is it possible that you have spoken to him afterwards?

He travelled, and he just came back. He travelled to the UK. I spoke on the 25th of July and he left on the 26th, and he came back on Friday I just returned from Abuja on Friday.

And if you want me to show you proof, I can show you an invitation card to his son’s wedding.

In all of these, It does look like you tried to explain what you meant in the first sermon and it looks like maybe you reviewed or you changed your mind just to be clear to Nigerians that maybe you have been approached or someone has spoken to you. Do you still maintain what you said?

In the second sermon you’re referring to, I just made clarification because one of the troubles that we have in this nation is social media, they will take a snapshot of what you’ve said and then throw it out as if is the whole thing.

The essence of that message is simple, let’s put on our thinking cap, ladies and gentlemen. Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was warned twice by God, not to go into idolatry.

He went into idolatry God took the kingdom away from him and gave to Jeroboam his servant to 10 tribes out of 12 and give the household of David only two tribes, Benjamin and Judah and now Jeroboam who benefited from the blunders of Solomon now, is erecting idols for Israel to worship.

So God took it away from Solomon because of idolatry and Jeroboam is perpetuating the same evil what do you think that God of justice will do? So if the basis of saying, we are tired of PDP are insecurity and corruption and right before our eyes it is getting worse. We need to cry out and say wait a minute, we are not getting our act together, and that’s all. I stand by that conviction; I meant every word of it and said it in private before it became a public thing.

Read also: Bakare laments gross governance failure in Nigeria

You spoke as far as you gave as many details as your conversation with him in the bedroom, and what God told you, what is God telling you now?

President Buhari stood in public and I was his running mate. He said this is the last time I will offer myself a public service in this country and we lost that election, but God visited me in a powerful vision and I realized he must come back.

So I went over to the UK and said, Mr President, or your Excellency. This is what the Lord has shown me. You need to come back but we must be some merger before the election, I took two people with me and they’re still alive, and he said no, I had given my word to the public not to ever offer myself for public service again, but I spoke with him and told him about the merger when it was too much, he said that okay, see what you can do.

And we ran here and there and called those who could influence those who held political parties especially in the Southwest, and we were able to influence that change.

It was my privilege to move the motion for the merger of AC, ACN, ANPP and CPC at eagle square. And after that, when three, four legacy parties came together, it was not reasonable for the same CPC, to produce both the other presidential candidate and the running mate.

And as I said look I’ll be in the background, and I’ll be supporting every way, and God knows I have given my best in this administration and I will continue to do so because there is no other country I can call my own.

Do we have the privilege today to hear what God has told you about the future, can you give us an idea of what an insight?

In the vision that I saw that led me to go and tell him you’re coming back, in that vision. We were in a vehicle going towards the Southwest to meet the elders of the Southwest the political juggernauts of the Southwest, in order to forge a merger, and we got a very, very steep slope, and he parked the vehicle that way, and came down and said, I would like to ease myself, and I will join you.

So, when he left. I spoke to the two people behind my back; one is late now Yinka Odumakin and the another person is Nasir El-Rufai in that vision. I said, where we are, is dangerous, let me re-park this vehicle as we wait for him and I went to the driver’s seat.

And behold, there was no steering, no ignition key. No gearbox, no pedals, no handbrake, he took everything down with him and I came to myself and said there’s still something for this man to do to move the vehicle of this nation forward.

And when all the things began and all we’re seeing and people talking about nepotism and all kinds of things being spoken by Nigerians those who could influence change, try their best. Let me tell you this. I have confidence in God that every part that was taken down, are replaceable because the engine is still intact. That’s my hope.

I mean, for those who are thinking that this is much like a proverb to them. Can you break it down for clarity of mind and focus, on what exactly the future holds for Nigeria?

Nigeria is bigger than any individual, eight years looks like a long time but it is coming to an end, Nigeria is bigger than all of us, you will do your part and I will do my part. Recent social polls that we did, in the past 10 or more years over 30 million Nigerians who are of voting age have not voted.

We need to break that and let Nigerians see a better future for ourselves and paint a picture that is actionable and reach put to them and say let us arise and rebuild that the nation even if we start from the ancient drawings.

I like to also get clarification, you said he turned against you; did he in any way do that?

Look when I’ll give you this example, and I say this privately and publicly, wherever there has been no understanding between us that you scratch my back, and I scratch your back or if I do this, you do that.

I will not deny my faith or my God, or my conscience in any shape or form. Now, every time you hear me. I want you to understand that it can be a nation, Goliath said to Israel gives me one man to fight with me, if I kill him you all become our servant if he kills me we all become your servant. There is we in I.

When God said, Israel is my son, my firstborn, and he said let Israel go, but in chapter five of Exodus, he said let my people go.

So in that statement, there are too many people that are anti the progress of this nation, that is acting contrary to what we all agreed upon as the template to move this nation forward.

And I will articulate that, by the grace of God on October 10th when I do my State of the Nation broadcast one more time. I’m not giving up on this nation; I’m not going to give up.

So there are cabals, there are hands behind the power?

I don’t care if you call them cabals because they mean nothing to me. They can do all the evil they’re doing against 200 million Nigerians who are losing hope, who are fleeing their country and going into other countries, and who are fleeing their farms because of those who are coming there to kill them.

There is a God of justice, who will not let him also lay down in peace, because he who kills by sword shall be killed by the sword and he who leads into captivity, shall be led into captivity, this is the faith and the patience of the saints of God.

We have confidence in God, the God of justice. There have been worse situations in time past, as long as you continue to learn from the past, you are better prepared according to Theodore Roosevelt to prepare yourself for the future that you didn’t know, and also those who do not learn from history, will ultimately become history,

You seem to be very irritated by the activities of these people whom I describe as cabal, have you warned the President about these sorts of people whom you’ve described like they are around him?

You just need one rotten apple to destroy a whole apple cart; it will be so deceiving even of Mr. President, to think that everyone around him is doing what is expected to do.

People don’t do what you expect they do what you inspect, the ball ends on his table, it stops there, tomorrow, they’re not going to blame anyone who does something wrong, they’re going to say Buhari’s administration.

So what are you telling president Buhari today?

Wake up and smell the coffee.

You spoke about a new movement, which you said you will lead, and what would that movement be called?

There are two sides of the same coin. The first time I spoke about it, I said Nigerians for Nigeria is an appeal to those in the diaspora to remember their country, like the Psalm said, by the rivers of Babylon where we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion, and if I forget who Jerusalem is let my tongue cling to the upper roof of my mouth.

I’ve gone to those in the diaspora in North America, in Australia, in Europe, to stir them up, that Nigeria needs you; you have come here to learn what works.

Let us begin to think about bringing it back home to fix our country because don’t expect the Western world to fix Nigeria, it will take Nigerians to fix Nigeria.

That’s the first time I spoke about it, the second that Nigeria for Nigerians is a different ballgame, the profit of the land is for all, and even the king is served from the field. So we are talking about those in the diaspora, and those at home to rise up and fix this nation for the benefit of generations that are losing hope now and for the benefit of those who are yet to be born because this is not the Nigeria that served and provided for us.

But for free education that started in western region Nigeria just a year after I was born in 1955, I probably would not have gone to school, and then free education prepared me, Now we have ruined education and our children are going abroad, now look where is the manpower? Where are the people? I watched an interview of youth corpers recently that did not know the meaning of NYSC and I was just amazed at the level of deterioration that has taken place, because of those who are in charge of our affairs do not place any premium on human capital, it can’t continue this way,

This movement you’re talking about, it will be like the save Nigeria movement in like manner?

No, it’s totally different. I’m keeping my powder dry, we are not matching streets and it is not against government but the people of this country will rise, and they will demand what is theirs. We don’t have to march the streets, but you’ll see what will happen,

When are you rolling out?

I will let you know.

Will this lead into a political party?

It can lead to anything that will save Nigeria, we can use existing platforms, we can create our own, but a mighty army is about to rise from the valley of dry bones, if you have ever read Ezekiel 37 the hopeless are going to get hope and they are going to rise and demand for what is theirs and God is going to look for the best of the North and the best of the south, according to Ezekiel 37 to come and set the affairs of this nation. This boat was not sink.

Would you be running for President?

I am a free citizen, I can run for anything. When that time comes the whole world will know, I am a free citizen.

Nothing stops me and I respect other people’s right also to right and wrong, right now, that’s not my main focus. My main focus is if there is no nation to preside over. So what are you running except you want to run out of the country.

It’s an act of service, I mean, that’s what I believe it should be, perhaps, some politicians don’t think in that in that regard, that being in politics is an act of service, so the preparedness of mind is what I’m asking here, whether or not pastor Tunde Bakare might throw his hat in the ring in 2023, Is there a possibility of that?

You can see my head and there is no hat on my head today, to throw into a ring. I’m wearing my head straight and I’m focused on what I’m doing, but guess what, whether as pastor Tunde Bakare or president Tunde Bakare the initials will still remain PTB.

But let’s look at now and proffering solutions to the problems of this country. There are a lot of things that people have said to fix our economy, we need to diversify it I’ve had this conversation with you, but at this stage that we are in, as a people, what is the way out from your standpoint?

The first thing we need to do is to heal the cracks, the fault lines are too many, and this nation is so terribly divided. That’s why you’re having people talking about Oduduwa republic, IPOB and all kinds of things.

Religion that should be one like a primary sport is a common issue. I have friends across the length and breadth of this nation, East, North, West and South, I have good friends who are Muslims, and we are bosom friends, I was born in the south and raised in the North, I was a Muslim who became a Christian.

And I know that elites use all these things on citizens. There are Nigerians, who really don’t care about those things, and we need to reach those ones and give them hope before it is us against us, instead of us coming together to build, we need to fix the crack and the hurt and the pain in this nation.

You can’t force people to live together, except you do things that appear fair to all, this leader means business. And you major engage and talk to people, from time to time. You are a servant of the people not their lord, the office of the president is a chief servant of the nation.

How would you describe the kind of person you think should be Nigeria’s next president?

One who loves this nation truly and one who is not going in there for what he can eat and one who is not going there to corner resources for himself or his own people those who have the wherewithal and have proved it in their own capacity, the ones that will assemble and say it is time to build like Nehemiah did.

Anyone plunging into election in 2023 is just plunging a head like a turning stick and putting your head inside hot water therefore he must go with a team and not alone.

When that time comes you will see very shortly the formidable team that we are presenting to the nation like a shadow cabinet, these are the men that will do it we are meeting right now and they do not even understand what is about to hit the nation, it is going to hit it big time in a positive manner not walking about the streets damaging cars and burning what is left.

So you have a list of those you have in mind already?

Not people that I have in mind but people that I know.

Talking about fairness and the cleavages that have torn us apart as a people where do you think it is fair to have the president from in terms of rotation and zoning arrangement now?

I have heard all kinds of arguments about rotation, it has come from the north and the north has had it for these number of years I heard all kinds of permutations and I also peep into social media sometimes, some are saying Obasanjo plus Jonathan, that’s 14 years and Yar’Adua plus Buhari is 10 years and that the North still need four more years. At this moment, what is needed is a person who can do it.

Look at other nations of the world political parties will bring their best forward and we just play my side your side, it’s our side now, may the best candidate emerge, may God heal our land from such sad comments that the best candidate many not win.

What we are faced with now is that the best of the best emerge and those who have made something out of their lives emerge. It can go to the South; it can go to the North. It is only one seat, it is who surrounds that seat and what they are able to do If it’s an Igbo man, so be it, if it’s a Yoruba man, so be it. If it is a Northerner, a Hausa or Fulani, so be it. And I am saying that passionately.

Fair is fair, if we had promised rotation, so let’s practice rotation, if it’s not part of our Constitution, let’s facing the reality. It is not really where the person comes from that matters, it is what he is able to do and deliver.

Are you concerned about age also?

Age is a constant factor in this world because the law of diminishing returns will make you be sleeping when you are in chambers but age is a function of the mind, how old is the current president of America age is there but the systems, the institutions, the people that support them will make their age turn into grace right in front of you, if you can get a young person in his 40s to do what Obama did, why not?

In his word he said I will pour my spirit upon all flesh, your old men will dream dreams your young men will see visions dreams are insight, visions are foresight it takes the insight of the old into the foresight of the young to have stability there’s no bird that can flap with one wing, there’s no man that can clap with one hand so we need both our old and young because of experience and things they’ve heard.

I am not going to sit on the seat of serving overseer all the days of my life, so in order to start disengaging myself from church and pastor for about 33 years now, I have raised new leaders who will do better than I have done because there is a nation to build and I am preparing myself for that.

So in conclusion now the kind of Nigeria you see is the kind of Nigeria that some people are hoping that it will be restructured do you still have that kind of this was that on the template that you agreed with President Buhari before he ran for office ?

In 2011, I sat with very brilliant minds for nights to carve out a manifesto for the CPC, and almost everything that we had in that manifesto you could find in APC manifesto also.

The first thing in that manifesto is that Nigeria restructures our own true federal system and secondly that the issue of state of origin will no longer be part of our vocabulary or our system of doing things in this country, it will be state of residence that a Nigerian can live anywhere he chooses.

A lopsided federal system where the central government is all powerful and the state government who are supposed to be federating units are so weak it is not going to help anybody.

We need strong centres and strong states that will remove their noose from the neck of the local government because that is where it is supposed to be happening because That’s where the dividends of democracy is meant to be taking place.

When we were young at the University of Lagos, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun State, I and a few others started what we call the diner club, this club became a huge win for UPN. I was a student union leader and contested for presidency of the Union, in my university days, and we will go to Park Lane in Apapa, to learn how the sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo was able to do what it did for Western Region.

Nothing had tampered with that, Western region was ahead of Singapore, but look where we are today.

All those things that were built up have been destroyed, but another generation a new breed without greed will arise, a radical opposition to corruption, men and women will hate corruption with passion, and who choose to live by righteous and by fair play, by equity and justice will rise and rebuild the ancient wins.

I believe this passionately and there’s a meeting of the mind, and a consensus among them that is going on now, amongst people in the North, in the south, in the east and the west of this country, and we will hit this country like a bang God helping us.

You believe that one person can drive change, one sincere and truthful person?

That is believed by the team, listen. The captain is just get the cup when you play football, but does that mean he is the only one that made it happen.

Now, that cup belongs to the team. A tree does not make a forest but there must be a meeting of minds for two cannot work together, except they agree, we cannot be dragging forward, and somebody else is pulling it backwards.

No, there must be agreement on what is to be done. And you must tell Nigeria to hold you accountable with timelines of deliverables.

On a final note, the kind of qualities that you have described, and the kind of team that you think you are working together with, that you said you’re going to build a shadow, kind of cabinet. Is there anyone in this present government that fits the bill, or that are in the in the picture?

A few of them, they are not necessarily at the centre, but there are a few of them, a few also are at the centre and some are in states.

So I can still call you a very good friend to President Muhammadu Buhari?

By the grace of God, from my side to his side.

But you don’t know what it is from his side to your side?

He doesn’t harbour malice he is a very straightforward simple person and if we disagree we will agree again, it has happened before and it will happen again.

You think he means well for this country?

I think so but he has found himself in overwhelming hot soup as I will say and it takes time to swallow hot Okro, God helping him, he will still have legacy because we are not going to keep quiet we want him to have a legacy and we will continue to cry, if need be on rooftop till that is done.

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