Founder of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government is yet to prove it has the courage and audacity needed to address the foundations of Nigeria’s problems.
While he appreciated that the government, which started sluggishly with several cases of policy somersaults, is now making improvements, he however warned that the success and failure of the present administration will be based on restructuring Nigeria, which according to him is the main factor to Nigeria’s problems.
“After a slow start characterized by series of policy somersaults, the current government has created laudable medium term plans for socioeconomic growth and recovery. However, it is yet to demonstrate the audacity and courage required to address the foundations of the Nigerian problem, a critical factor that will determine the success or failure of the government and its plans at the end of the day. That factor is the restructuring of our nation,” Bakare said.
According to him, “the notion that the Nigerian nation is non-negotiable will remain contested through agitations, until we summon enough courage to put it to the test, and prove, through the outcome, that we are indeed prepared to become a truly united nation.
“The hues and cries for restructuring in our nation appear not to have been well received by this present government.
“The inquisitive may ask: ‘Why must we restructure?’ We must restructure to correct the flaws in our federal system. A federated state is defined as ‘a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federal union.’
“In a true federal system, previously sovereign states agree to confer their individual sovereignties on a central government. In other words, the states create the federal government, as was the case with the original thirteen American colonies. This was also the case when the Nigerian federal system was originally conceived by our founding fathers.”
This was contained in a speech Pastor Bakare delivered during his State of the Nation broadcast on Sunday with the theme, “Looking into the Future with the Eyes of Faith.”
Bakare, contrary to critics of Buhari’s government, said that the government has a direction in terms of goals and objectives that are mid to short term as encapsulated in Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks and annual appropriation bills or budgets.
He however, pointed out that Nigeria still lacks a true national vision.
Bakare said, “The biggest indicator of the absence of a national vision or rallying point is the preponderance of sectional agitations – from the clamour for self-determination by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) and the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) in the South West, to the push for secession by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East, from the terror unleashed by Boko Haram in the North East, to the ugly developments involving the Shiites in the North West, from the violent attacks by herdsmen in parts of the North West, especially the wanton destruction of lives and properties in Southern Kaduna, and in the North Central from where it has spread down to the South, to the militant quest for resource control by the Niger Delta Avengers in the South South, there is no restraint to the degree of balkanization that awaits a nation that lacks a unifying national vision.
“Currently, we have a government that is led by a man who desires the best for Nigeria and is doing what he deems best, given the quality of his lieutenants, that is, the people surrounding him, and the reliability and accuracy of the information at his disposal.
“For a relatively long time, perhaps understandably due to the quagmire it met on ground, but also due to insufficient coordination of strategies, the government failed to effectively communicate its direction as encapsulated in the “Change” agenda. As I once said at an event last year, the word “Change” or one of its colloquial variants might as well have been adopted as a memorable acronym and rallying point for a true national vision2. Instead, due to the communication gaps, the word is now associated with unpleasant experiences by Nigerians,” he said.
Speaking on corruption, he noted that some progress has been made in the anti-corruption war with the relevant agencies extending the fight to elements within the judiciary, an arm of government suspected to have been major impediments to the successful prosecution of the war.
Despite this progress, the clergy man frowned that the government is not yet fighting corruption as expected, regretting that allegations of corruption still exist among key office holders in the present administration.
“It is my considered opinion that we are still fighting corruption, our nation’s perennial archenemy with kid gloves.
“During the 2012 subsidy protest at Ojota Park, the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) adopted the slogan ‘Kill Corruption, not Nigerians.’ It is very disheartening that allegations of corruption remain rife in our country, even against key office holders in the present government,” Bakare said.
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