SEQUEL TO THE STATE OF THE NATION BROADCAST OF SUNDAY, JANUARY 4, 2015
BY PASTOR ‘TUNDE BAKARE
VENUE: THE LATTER RAIN ASSEMBLY, END-TIME CHURCH,
4, AKILO ROAD, OFF OBA AKRAN AVENUE,
OGBA, IKEJA, LAGOS.
DATE: SUNDAY, JANUARY 11, 2015
THEME: THE GATHERING STORM AND AVOIDABLE SHIPWRECK: HOW TO AVOID CATASTROPHIC EUROCLYDON II
Since last Sunday,social, print and electronic media have been awash with our State of the Nation broadcast. I thank everyone for their feedback – those who deemed our analysis and propositions reasonable, those who lumped us with so-called supporters of President Jonathan and the PDP, those who vehemently opposed or simply disagreed with our contributions, and those who are torn between opinions.
Regardless of the tide of public opinion, my primary concern is to remain a conscientious servant of God and to deliver His message to my nation regardless of whose ox is gored,even at the risk of being misunderstood.
The character of those who may dwell with the Lord is spelt out in His Word and it is in their company I opt to remain. Turn your Bibles with me to Psalm 15:1–5 (NKJV):
1 Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;3 He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbour, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; 4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
Similarly useful words of instruction are recorded in Psalm 24:1–10 (NKJV):
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.
With this scriptural foundation, let mestate here and now that I am a hardcore loyalist. But my loyalty is not blind.It has two eyes focused primarily on God’s honour. As I said last Sunday:
“It is clear except to the mischief makers where my loyalties lie but this broadcast is not about political endorsements; it is about alerting the nation of the storms ahead. If you must know, my political loyalty lies with General Buhari and I cannot claim not to know the issues surrounding the APC Primary and the processes that led to the selection of his current running mate. Nevertheless, this broadcast is about the counsel of the Most High who rules in the affairs of men and gives rulership to whoever He wills”.
Therefore, it is God and God alone I look up to for my vindication even as friends become suspicious of my motives and enemies themselves pretend to be friends. I find strong solace in the words of Apostle Paul as recorded in Galatians1:10:
Galatians 1:10 (NKJV):
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bond servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10 (NLT):
10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
To be candid, last Sunday’s broadcast, though abruptly truncated by Channels Television, has yielded some positive results especially from government officials perhaps due to widespread media publicity and The Guardian newspaper’s gracious five-paged reproduction of the speech this past week.
The positive developments include:
1. Professor Jerry Gana’s explanation for the humongous campaign donations we declared illegal in the speech. He has now explained the donations will be primarily expended on the PDP’s main secretariat in Abuja and the balance would be devoted to “other PDP projects”. (“N21bn appeal fund not for Jonathan’s campaign”,Daily Trust, January 6, 2015)
2. The DSS’s sudden explanation on prime time TV for their invasion of the APC secretariat. We await the prosecution of culprits if they want us to take them seriously.
3. The Federal Government’s meeting with the service chiefs and governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States where they discussed “the security situation”ostensibly with a view to determining the feasibility of holding February elections in their Boko Haram infested states. (“Jonathan meets North-eastgovs, service chiefs”, Daily Trust,January 7, 2015)
4. The pressure on INEC by all and sundry, including the government, for the hopefully effective last-minute distribution of PVCs which was scheduled to commence in “two of the 27 local government areas” in Borno between yesterday, January 10, and Thursday, January 15, 2015. (“INEC won’t distribute PVC in 25 Borno LGs -REC”, Punch, January 9, 2015)
These efforts are duly noted. However, having read some of the comments generated so far by our State of the Nation speech, and having heard the comments of those I imagined would know better, I cannot but agree that ”the mind is like the stomach. It is not how much you put into it that counts, but how much it digests”. (Albert J. Nock)
Anyone who in the past week did not listen to or read the speech in its entirety may have come to the conclusion that the whole address was about election postponement and a transitional government without any justification whatsoever.
It appears that both sides of the divide, that is, those in power (the incumbents) and those who want to chase them out and take over power, have come to the conclusion that any call for caution or any other constitutional alternative to their rabid moves to retain or take over power must be resisted at all costs regardless of the attendant consequences. Indeed, “many are destined to reason wrongly; [some], not to reason at all, and others to persecute those who reason”. (Voltaire)
Let me for the sake of those who are yet to read the full text of last Sunday’s speech clearly state my unambiguous submission as regards election postponement as stated on page 23 of the speech:
”I submit that if the President considers that a part of the federation will be disenfranchised by reason of the Boko Haram plaque, a postponement of the election may not be out of place”.
I would have thought that common sense would see the fairness in that submission but those who think otherwise only see the unintended mandatory injunction in the sentence compelling the President to postpone the election.
Before we go any further today, let me point out the major difference between the prudent and the simpleton. The Bible states in Proverbs 22:3 (NKJV):
3 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished.
The New Living Translation throws more light on this. It reads:
3 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)
This brings me to the critical question intoday’s message:
WHO IS AFRAID OF A TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT?
INTRODUCTION: THE NATURE OF TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENTS
By way of introduction,transitional governments are temporary political arrangements set up to pilot the affairs of a state that is ridden with conflict, instability or constitutional crisis towards a stable consensually agreed constitutional order. In the course of the political history of Liberia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nepal, Iraq and Afghanistan, power-sharing transitional governments became veritable tools for post-conflict demobilization and integration. Hence, by their nature, most transitional governmental arrangements are post-conflict measures which attempt to find a compromise between or among opposing claimants to power. In some cases, they are necessitated by the existence of a power vacuum brought about by a constitutional lacuna after an unprecedented or unanticipated collapse of a legitimate government. Transitional governments were put in place after peoples’ uprisings toppled the dictatorships in North African countries including Egypt and Libya in the phenomenon known as the Arab Spring. This post-crisis nature of transitional governments explains the antagonism towards my call for a possible transitional government at this pre-storm stage of our current national voyage.The seeming calm, albeit uneasy, and the relative peace particularly in the South, render unwelcome any counsel to winter in “Fair Havens”, that is, to forestall a major disaster if need be by constitutionally suspending elections and seeking to address foundational flaws that constitute the hotbed of socio-political upheavals especially around election periods. Such an antagonistic response is further informed by an optimistic appraisal of the transition process especially by political parties and their supporters and sympathizers who are convinced of victory in the upcoming presidential polls. This disposition is no different from the views held by the majority, the ship-owner and the helmsman in the Alexandrian ship boarded by Paul in Acts 27. It is a disposition that was certainlyexpected. I will not belabor the need for a transitional government at this time as that was sufficiently elaborated on last week. As I stated then, “he who has ears, let him hear”. However, it is necessary to address the misconceptions surrounding my call for a transitional government and to further buttress the workability of same. I intend to do so on eight grounds:
1. Misconceptions about the proposal for interim government and the parallel with the so-called “Shonekan experiment“
In an article titled”Interim Government: A Blank Cheque to Anarchy” published in The Nation on Monday, January 5, 2015,my proposal for a transitional government was paralleled with the interim government hatched by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in 1993 when he decided to “step aside” after annulling the June 12, 1993 elections. Choosing to ignore the portions where the author attacked my person and not the argument, I appreciate the depth of intellect displayed in the said publication as well as the reference to history in that critical analysis of my proposal. Nevertheless, I must elucidate the baselessness of such comparisons as the author fails to take the following into consideration:
i. The interim government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan was contrived by a military government that was not guided by any constitutional framework. In its capricious tendencies, that regime created a transitional programme, allowed the people to express their mandate on the basis of that transitional programme and stole that mandate from the people. Even though the transitional programme had guidelines, they were subject to the caprices of the military. In contrast, the nation is currently governed under the framework of the 1999 constitution. When the letter and spirit of the constitution are considered without bias and the constitutional provision in section 135 is taken into consideration in view of the intentions of its framers and against the backdrop of the state of the nation, we will find a constitutional window for the proposals made for a postponement of the elections and the institution of a transitional arrangement. Details of this will be presented as and when needed.
ii. The “Shonekan experiment” took place after elections. The interim government of 1993 was set in place as an illegal substitute to the people’s mandate as expressed through election results. Conversely, the currently proposed transitional government is to be established before elections on constitutional foundations to help stir the ship of state to a harbour suitable for elections. It is noteworthy that in the afore mentioned article, the author states, “Anything that tampers with the People’s Mandate is a coup against the constitution and the Popular Will”. Whereas such post-election tampering with a mandate was exactly what happened in 1993, I am proposing a reasonable way to avert post-election turbulence that could threaten our very existence as a nation.
2. Jonathan’s incompetence and proposed leadership of a transitional government
It has been widely argued that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has, in the five years of his presidency, thus far proved incompetent at leading the Nigerian nation out of its myriad challenges and would therefore be unfit to lead a transitional government even if such were created. Though acknowledging that the proposal for a non-partisan coalition of competent statesmen is intended to lend capacity to an otherwise weak government, analysts have expressed doubts as to Jonathan’s ability to provide the needed leadership for such a coalition. However, I would like to remind you that even Pharaoh, the seemingly all-powerful Egyptian king, could not interpret his own dreams and needed a Joseph to manage alternating seasons of economic prosperity and austerity thereby preserving not just a nation but nations in the then known world. Need I also remind you that even the great Nebuchadnezzar was helpless in understanding the unfolding political realities in his kingdom and needed a Daniel and his company to administer that kingdom with such an excellent spirit that was attributable only to divinity? Perhaps I need to remind you that though Abraham Lincoln is known today as the greatest American president, he was at the beginning regarded by many in the political class as incapable of governance. He eventually succeeded not so much because of his competence but because of his genius at forming a coalition that brought together arguably more competent persons than he was in certain respects, a team that included his most bitter rivals.
Beyond this argument, I would like to emphasize that trustful give-and-take are the requisite dispositions for bridging gaps across political divides, balancing volatile competing interests and bringing diverse sub-national entities within an integrated national framework. In essence, given the bellicose political climate in our nation with looming inter-ethnic tensions,the proposal for a Jonathan-led coalition as a transitional arrangement is apolitical solution (rather than a policy or management one) – the kind that power-sharing provisional governments are made of. The aversion to this approach across the political climate is understandable. As I pointed outearlier, such arrangements are usually post-conflict structures intended tostabilize a conflict-ridden polity. However, in the Nigerian case, because the south wind is blowing softly and the entire nation is not yet engulfed in the storm, we see no need to deploy such measures preemptively. Instead, led by politicians, some of whom are hungry for power and blind to the warning signs,while others, sincerely compelled to stir the ship of state to a desired end,choose to ignore or downplay the risks, we are operating from sight rather than foresight; when the storm is over, we might find ourselves reviewing events with hindsight. Mark my words.
3. Undue tenure elongation
If we take Nigeria’s realities into consideration, we would understand that the proposal for a transitional government has nothing to do with any elongation agenda of the present government, if indeed the government is nursing such. It is an expedient measure to stabilize and rebuild the foundations of a tottering nation. And any attempt to hijack the process for tenure elongation should be resisted by civil society organisations and all men of good will as was done during the fuel subsidy saga, forcing the president to step down from the high horse of price hikes.
4. The political quagmire and the need for political solutions is limited to the Boko Haram crisis
I have observed that several of the responses to my proposal stem from a narrow assessment of the tensions in our nation. When I read statements such as those credited to the North-east governors who said,”…if elections could hold in troubled countries like Iraq…then the north east shouldn’t be an exception” as reported in the Leadership newspaper on January 6, 2015, I see that stakeholders are failing to take a holistic look at the Nigerian socio-political climate with a view to assessing the balance of tensions across sections of the country; tensions that could snowball into civil conflict if the fundamental causes are not addressed before power is authoritatively allocated or re-allocated.
5. Parallels with conflict–ridden countries in which elections were held, e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan
The North-east governors, who have hitherto failed to secure their states and have been largely helpless before Boko Haram, and who ought to be the most vociferous advocates for fundamental changes, have compared the Nigerian situation to the cases of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, arguing that the fact that elections have been held in these climes in spite of their volatility is proof that elections can be held in Nigeria. However, these governors have failed to take certain facts into consideration:
(i) Elections were constitutionally due in Iraq in 2003 but were initially cancelled and postponed until 2005. The purpose of the 2005 elections in Iraq was to create a constituent assembly for the drafting of a new constitution. Even then, the North-east governors ignored the fact that Iraq eventually failed to address the fundamentals before going into presidential elections. The resultant government headed by Nouri al-Maliki formed a non-inclusive Shia dominated government thereby allowing feelings of exclusion to fester among the Sunnis. This sectional discontent has placed Iraq at the mercy of a Sunni-dominated rebel group – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL. Also, the Kurds have taken advantage of the situation to gain greater autonomy. As a result,Iraq is in disarray. Is that the kind of nation the North-east governors should be using as a reference point for Nigeria?
(ii) While referring to Afghanistan, the North-east governors ignored the fact that, following the American invasion, a transitional government was appointed in 2001 and presidential elections were put on hold under the 2001 arrangement until 2004 after a constitution was adopted by the Afghan people by consensus. Afghanistan has tottered all along with security challenges, violence, vote stuffing, and other vices in elections that have been managed by the United Nations. In 2014, elections were so heavily disputed that the country is now governed under a power-sharing arrangement which ought to be “unconstitutional” but is politically expedient to avert a vacuum in government and chaos in that country because they realize that a constitution that will not bend will break.
(iii) The governors also ignore the fact that there is a fundamental difference between the socio-political environment of Pakistan and that of Nigeria despite the existence of terror groups in both. As was earlier mentioned, the Nigerian case is a conglomeration of agitations and discontentment of a structural and constitutional nature. Pakistan arrived at consensual constitutionality in 1973 under the government of Ali Bhutto with input from opposition parties and ratification by the parliament. This has been the basis of the Pakistani government since then even though amendments have subsequently been made. The constitution was suspended during military coups but was restored with the exit of the military. The draconian amendments to the constitution by the military were subsequently repealed.
The Pakistani constitution is the Pakistani social contract and has survived not just military interregnum but the emergence of the Taliban terror group since 2001. By resisting the state, the Taliban is resisting the people’s document. Indeed, the Pakistani Taliban only emerged in protest against the support given by the Pakistani government to the US-led coalition forces that invaded Afghanistan. Nigeria, on the other hand, does not have such a foundational social contract. The 1999 constitution is full of fundamental structural flaws which are the basis of sectional agitations and dissonance from the Nigerian state, agitations that assume regional, ethnic and religious proportions. The 1999 constitution cannot stand the test of time and mere amendments without addressing those structural flaws and without the assent of the people will amount to repairing the roof of a dilapidated building that has serious foundational and structural problems. See Luke 6:46–49 (NKJV):
46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
Ladies and gentlemen, we need to address fundamental issues that have been referred to as the Nigeria question which include a plethora of sub-questions such as the Niger Delta Question and the Middle Belt Question which, together with many other agitations, constitute “the minority question”. These must be addressed while also addressing the Northern question, the Yoruba question, the South-Eastern question and so on.
6. The 2014 National conference was a diversionary tactic and its implementation cannot be the rationale for a transitional government
Considering the fact that the 2014 National Conference was a platform to address these questions that are subsumed in the Nigeria question, it is unfortunate that politicians who were part of the conference are showing no commitment to its report; a report that may turn out to be a lifesaver for the Nigerian nation. I am compelled to ask if they were at the conference as time-wasters with a view to collecting the allowances as their share of the national cake. In spite of the alleged diversionary interests of the government, the findings of that conference offer Nigerians a robust blueprint for development at this critical juncture.
7. The proposals are unconstitutional
First of all, I showed clearly in my earlier speech how the constitutional war powers of the president may be activated by taking into consideration the fact that the war against insurgency is a war involving the territory of the Nigerian state. I would like to remind you that since that broadcast, it made the news that a military base previously controlled by the Multi-National Joint Task Force in Baga, Borno State was attacked and dislodged by Boko Haram. If that is not war, let the government and the politicians tell Nigerians what it is. I further showed that in the provisions of section 135, the framers of the constitution would have been seeking to forestall the kind of catastrophe that could result from the volatile political environment if the fundamental flaws which elections are likely to aggravate are not addressed. I would state, however, that if we fail to find within the constitution a lifeboat out of the sinking ship, just like we did with the doctrine of necessity, then we must be reminded that a constitution that will not bend will break and that “no nation, no matter how enlightened, can endure criminal violence. If we cannot control it, we are admitting to the world and to ourselves that our laws are no more than a facade that crumbles when the winds of crisis rise”. (Alan Biole)
8. Prophetic antecedents and consistency
If I have any concerns today, it is the fact that we are a rebellious nation led by self-willed leaders who pay lip-service to God when it is convenient and who consistently resist His timely warnings thereby paving the way for avoidable blows.
a. For example, we were warned in 1993:”SDP will fail, NRC will lose, be cut off and swallowed up, the militarywill fall. Verdict ‘93: our God Reigns”. I remember the solo lamentation: “Arethere no elders in M.K.O Abiola’s house to warn him that he is embarking on ajourney of no return?” Where did it all end?
b. During the Abacha era, after he had takenover power from IBB’s interim contraption led by Shonekan, three timelywarnings came first in Kano and twice in Lagos:
i. In Kano, we said during a gathering under the auspices of the Conference of Prophetic and Apostolic Churches (COPAC): “Murtala Muhammed will not be the only Head of State from Kano that would return home dead. This present one is coming home dead, too”. Did Abacha escape this prophecy?
ii. After General Diya’s alleged coup, a word came from heaven: “When the killer wants to kill, the killer shall be killed. Expect the night before miracle”. Did it not happen?
iii. And, last but not the least, the prophetic message delivered during one of our Holy Communion services: “The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. Abacha, your time is up!” Did he survive it?
c. Also, in 1999, there were dual prophecies that shook the nation:
i. On March 7, 1999, in the course of the message titled “No More Walls”, we proclaimed, “Rejoice not yet o land or your joy will be temporary”. I am bringing your judges, your princes, prophets, priests, rulers and governors to my threshing floor and after I have threshed them, I will restore to you a permanent joy. Obasanjo is not your messiah, he is King Agag and the prophetic axe is coming upon his head before May 29″. In hindsight, how would you appraise the messianic intervention of Obasanjo in our ailing democracy?
ii. Subsequently, in the message titled “Nigeria:A Nation Given over to Lying Propaganda”, we declared: “If by an act of omission or commission Obasanjo is sworn in as President of Nigeria, three things will happen:
1) corruption will reach its peak;
2) the revival of the occult that willclaim many lives;
3) family life will disintegrate in Nigeria”. Be the judge of these prophetic declarations.
d. Here we go again as a nation not listening or heeding prophetic warnings to slow down a bit and put our heads together so as to put our right foot forward.
I can understand why some have concluded that ongoing campaigns signal a wind of change. They havebeen very colourful, energetic and continue to gain momentum. But will the February 2014 election usher in the New Nigeria of our dreams if the fundamental issues are not first addressed? Are we not putting the cart before the horse once again? These are questions begging for answers. I sincerely pray that our leaders will pause, think and act in divine wisdom available to those who truly seek God’s guidance and His timely intervention in our present situation. This is the only way we can avert disasters such as that which befell Prophet Jonah, who later learnt the hard way and confessed in the belly of the fish: “Those who observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy”. (Jonah 2:28; NKJV)
As I end this speech, let me reiterate that the modalities of a win-win transitional government are available and will be published at the appropriate time.
For now, here is the”call of wisdom”:
20 Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.21 She cries out in the chief concourses, At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words:22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge. 23 Turnat my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. 31 Thereforethey shall eat the fruit of their own way, And befilled to the full with their own fancies. 32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.”
My sincere prayer is that we listen to timely warnings, dwell safely within our nation and be secure without fear of evil, in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen and amen.
Thank you for listening. God bless you. God bless Nigeria.
Let us pray.