By Lady Aite-Ehiemua
On Monday, 18th June, 2017, many national dailies published reports culled from a press conference addressed by Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly Church.
The reports quoted the Pastor, as saying that the current political tension in the country, which was caused by hate speeches, is the aftermath of the choice of an elderly person President Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s President in the 2015 elections.
According to the reports, Bakare compared President Muhammadu Buhari and President Emmanuel Macron of France, saying that the election of the former was indicative of a global paradigm shift.
Not done, he wondered why Nigeria which once produced a 30-year-old leader in the person of Gen. Yakubu Gowon would prefer people in their 60s and 70s in the 2015 elections. It appears that he forgot that Gowon was a military Head of State and not an elected President.
The preacher also said that leadership vacuum often allowed the likes of Adonijah and Absalom in biblical mythology to overthrow their father, King David, in order to achieve their inordinate ambition, as nature abhors a vacuum.
Pastor Bakare enthused that if President Buhari is ‘very healthy’ then there would be no room for the likes of Absalom and Ahitophel to exercise their ambition. Here he is insinuating that President Buhari’s health challenge may create room for military takeover.
A critical analysis of the contents of Pastor Bakare’s address at the press conference portrays him as a man who indulges in double-speak considering the fact that the same Pastor casting aspersion on President Buhari volunteered to serve as his vice president in the 2011 Presidential election.
It is shocking that few years after that outing, Pastor Bakare is blaming the so called current political quagmire on the choice of an elderly president. This is totally uncalled for when viewed against the backdrop that President Buhari, despite his age, has done more than his predecessors going by the socio-political and economic state of the country at the time he assumed office in 2015.
Despite the old age excuse, it is on record that the Federal Government under the watch of President Buhari is focused on getting rid of the old order of doing things, which provided the platform for corruption to be the order of the day for public officials who looted the nation’s treasury with ignominy.
Can Pastor Bakare say so of the USA, the bastion of democracy, where 70-year-old Donald Trump was elected as President in 2016? In all seriousness, how has age affected the performance of President Buhari?
It is the same Buhari who travelled widely on diplomatic shuttles in his first year in office to boost Nigeria’s battered image. Prior to his diplomatic maneuverings, Nigeria and Nigerians were shabbily treated outside the shores of their country. There was little or no respect for the green passport and its holder just as there was no foreign investors’ confidence in the nation’s economy and Nigeria’s business environment.
The dividends of the foreign trips by the 74-year-old man are beginning to pay off as evidenced in Morocco’s bilateral agreement with Nigeria on fertilizer importation. By the agreement, Nigeria becomes the highest exporter of fertilizer in the West Africa.
Apart from fertilizer, Nigeria is witnessing an increase in foreign investments because of the confidence President Buhari has built at the international fora since 2015. The Diaspora Bond has already been oversubscribed and the benefits therein is abound.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is test running the export of yams to USA and UK. This is in line with President Buhari’s vision to diversify Nigeria’s economy as he promised during his campaign.
The submission and presumption of Pastor Bakare that President Buhari’s health challenge created a vacuum in governance is most undeserving as evidence has shown that Presidency is still intact with Yemi Osibanjo in charge as the Acting President. Sickness can afflict anybody, as there is no total immunity over all sorts of ailments.
The adjective ‘very healthy’ as Bakare was quoted as having mentioned during the press conference as the only condition to avoid the uprising of Absalom and Ahitopel (the military) is in bad taste.
Pastor Bakare is hereby reminded that military takeover is no longer fashionable globally and this has been confirmed by the Nigerian military which has already re-affirmed total loyalty to the Commander-in-Chief.
President Buhari from his campaign days has not shown himself as a weakling and this behooves on all Nigerians, including Pastor Bakare to pray for him so that he gets well soonest.
There is need for a new Nigeria where issues of inequality and injustice are redressed for the greater good of all citizens. There is no point to heat up the polity for any reason as depicted by the utterances of Pastor Bakare at the media parley.
Lady Aite-Ehiemua is a public affairs analyst and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org