BEING TEXT OF SPEECH BY PASTOR ‘TUNDE BAKARE AT THE STATE OF THE NATION BROADCAST ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2018.
VENUE: THE LATTER RAIN ASSEMBLY, END-TIME CHURCH, PLOT 4, AKILO ROAD, OFF OBA AKRAN AVENUE, OGBA, IKEJA, LAGOS, NIGERIA.
THEME: THE ROAD TO 2019: QUO VADIS, NIGERIA?
Let me begin by, once again, wishing our beloved country Happy 58th Independence Anniversary. Indeed, it has been almost six decades since our founding fathers received the constitutional instruments of independence from the British Crown and commenced the task of piloting our country’s journey into nationhood. Speaking fifty-eight years ago as he took the oath of office, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa said:
“…I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well-built upon firm foundations.”
However, since that address was given, the foundations of our nation have been tested by strong winds. Barely six years after independence, those foundations were shaken by the perils of a civil war that claimed the lives of millions of Nigerians. Through the decades, those foundations have been battered by waves of ethnic insurrections, militancy and religious crises. Again and again, those foundations have been pummelled on all sides by the storms of economic downturn raging through depression, recession, extreme poverty and appalling living standards. In more recent times, those foundations have been buffeted by the gale of terrorism, by the floods of mass kidnappings, and by the destructive hurricane of criminal herdsmen and cattle rustlers. In addition, over a period of nearly six decades and even before, those foundations have been compromised by the tsunami of corruption.
These turbulent episodes have left our dear country holding on for dear life through the innumerable twists and turns on our journey to nationhood. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously said of Nigeria in her book, The Downing Street Years, “…Nigeria…is a somewhat artificial creation.” Nigeria is now a long-term patient in the intensive care unit of the universe and is in need of round-the-clock care ahead of the journey into her great future.
However, we must also see the other side of our story so far. The fact that we have survived these upheavals as one nation is worth an outpouring of thanksgiving to God. To the amazement of the world, and perhaps even to our own amazement, we have managed to meander through the most dangerous junctures in our journey as a nation. We have survived situations that have ripped other nations apart; we have held on as one nation despite our challenges. These narrow escapes not only testify to the enduring strength of the divine purpose for our nation; they also attest to the tenacity of the Nigerian spirit – the never say die Nigerian spirit. We are survivors! We are optimists! We are go-getters! We are not quitters! We are Nigerians!
Fellow Nigerians, the survivals of yesterday can become the assurance of a greater tomorrow if we wisely manage the second chance that today offers us. As with our forebears, we, too, must now make choices that will shape the next phase of our national destiny. On January 1, 1901, the area that makes up present-day Nigeria became a British Protectorate. Thereafter, our country was subjected to colonial administration for fifty-nine years until our founding fathers made a critical choice for independent nationhood in 1960. By next year, 2019, it will be another fifty-nine years since independence. Incidentally, it is an election year; a year in which we will make critical choices. Almost fifty-nine years after independence, we have another chance to make destiny-determining choices; choices that will have significant effects on our nation for the vast remainder of the twenty-first century. How to manage this second chance at national rebirth and how to ensure that the right choices are made are the reasons for this address.
The Road to 2019: Quo Vadis, Nigeria?
Ahead of 2019, the political space is predictably charged. The pre-election euphoria began with the clarion call from concerned Nigerians across the nation to every Nigerian of voting age. “Get your PVC!” became the rallying cry, and many Nigerians have heeded the call and are ready to vote or be voted for. As a prelude to the general elections, we have seen tightly contested staggered elections in states such as Anambra, Edo, Ekiti and Osun. We have also seen the rise of new faces in the political space challenging the status quo and demanding a seat at the table. We have seen aspirants become candidates through hotly contested party primary elections. We have seen the adoption of direct primaries by some political parties to allow the people decide the candidates to be fielded. These are indications that Nigerians are bracing up for this once-in-a-national-lifetime opportunity to shape our future.
Intrigues, Poli-tricks and Electocracies
However, we are again in the season of political intrigues. As the Nigerian people are staking their claim in the political process, we have also witnessed deft moves by politicians. The political space is saturated with news of defections, alignments, realignments, impeachment threats, and battles between godfathers and godsons. The gladiators have stepped into the ring and the power blocs have assumed their positions by the ringside, poised to influence the outcome. Some of such puzzling moves have already yielded candidates for the political parties. History shows us that as the election season unfolds further, the waters will become even more muddied. Betrayals, character assassinations, politically-motivated crimes, multimillion-dollar patronage, consolidation of election rigging machinery – these are some of the sharks lying-in-wait in the deep and murky waters ahead as the political class perfect their plans to take the people on a joyride to nowhere.
Since the beginning of our electocracy, the strategy of the political class has been consistent. They spend three years impoverishing the people and cornering our common patrimony ahead of the next election cycle. As the election season unfolds, they then deploy their so-called war chests during massive shopping sprees for votes. Such banditry has become the synonym for politics in Nigeria. It is why across the nation, from Lagos to Abuja and from Ilorin to Yola, a few demagogues have continued to hold the country to ransom.
The recently concluded gubernatorial selection, sorry, election, in Osun State is a pointer to the ignoble intentions of this political class ahead of 2019. What a sham, and what a shame. By what constitutional provision or act of the National Assembly is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) empowered to cancel election results the way it did in Osun State? Section 53, subsection 2 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which empowers INEC to cancel results, states as follows:
Where the votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceed the number of registered voters in that polling unit, the result of the election for that polling unit shall be declared void by the Commission and another election may be conducted at a date to be fixed by the Commission where the result of that polling unit may affect the overall result in the Constituency.
Whether the law is adequate or not, its stance on this matter is clear. Overvoting is the only legal ground upon which INEC is empowered to cancel results. Ife North Local Government Area was the only constituency where overvoting was reported by INEC in Osun State and 353 votes were affected. Is it sheer coincidence that the difference in votes for the two leading candidates before the runoff was 353? Is this a case of daylight rigging as some have cried out? Did we have a rerun in Osun State or a test run? In the 2015 elections, widespread incidents of card reader malfunction did not warrant election cancellation; instead, INEC resorted to manual accreditation. What legal basis has therefore warranted the Commission’s decisions in Osun State? Ought not the reasons given by INEC for ordering a rerun in Osun State be matters for the courts? Or has the umpire become a judge empowered by incumbents to interpret laws?
Let me state categorically that I have no vested interest in the charade going on among the political class across the federation. As far as I am concerned, they are mostly birds of a feather, irrespective of their party affiliations. In approaching this company of questionable characters, I was well-taught by my mentor, Dr. Lester Sumrall, of blessed memory, who once said to me: “Out of two evils, choose none.” When I take on these matters, I do so as one mandated by a God who does not take sides but takes over when He steps into the scene. Is it not high time we stopped this unprecedented electocratic madness?
We go through this cycle every four years and seldom stop to ponder. Like a mob of zombies, we wander in circles, doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. We do not stop to ask if our wanderings have translated to the realisation of our national aspirations. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, INEC has spent N450 billion conducting five general elections and a number of by-elections. Meanwhile, N143 billion has been budgeted for the 2019 elections. Yet, we have not stopped to ask why our nation continues to suffer a staggering leadership deficit despite the cycle of expensive elections.
Unquestionably, in the last twenty years, we have experienced bouts of outstanding leadership, particularly by appointment. We have also seen good intentions and laudable development agendas. Yet, neither the five general elections nor the wonderful intentions have translated into improved living conditions for most Nigerians.
Five general elections, yet around 87 million of us are extremely poor, earning our country the title “Poverty Capital of the World”; five elections, yet more than 37,500 lives have been claimed by the Boko Haram menace, 2.4 million of us are internally displaced, more than 228,000 of us are refugees, thousands of us have been kidnapped by terrorists, and 7.7 million of us require urgent humanitarian assistance. Five elections, yet millions of us still go to bed hungry and over 6 million of our infants suffer malnutrition. Five elections, yet 2,300 children under the age of five, and 145 women of childbearing age, died yesterday and will die today due to little or no access to healthcare. Five elections, yet over 13 million of our children are still out of school, over 90 million of us, half of our entire population, have no access to electricity supply, and over 108 million of us are homeless. Five elections, yet our country has one of the worst infrastructural deficits in the world; needless to say, our roads are lavishly decorated with potholes and our airports are among the worst of the worst. Five elections, and most of our 36 states have remained economic vegetables relying on Abuja for life support, unable to generate sufficient internal revenue. Indeed, five elections and our paradoxical underdevelopment continues to confound the world.
Although our economy has grown significantly since 1999, what is the essence of economic growth if it does not reflect on the tables of Nigerians? What is economic growth if it only enriches a few and leaves the rest in abject poverty? In seventeen years, like prodigal sons, we earned N77 trillion and squandered it. We have incurred another $74.28 billion worth of debt, barely thirteen years after a debt burden of $18 billion was lifted off our shoulders. Yet, there is no commensurate development to show for the debts we are piling up for future generations of Nigerians. Five general elections, and ours is a tale of increasing poverty and indebtedness!
Fellow Nigerians, we are better than this! We are better than the retrogressive pace of one step forward, two steps back. We are better than this sorry state of national poverty. We are better than this beggarly nation that we have become. This is not who we are! This is not what God endowed us to be! We are not beggars, we are not failures, we are not a burden to the world; we are a blessed nation, we are the hope of Africa, we are destined to give the world a civilization that will astonish humanity. We are Nigerians!
Therefore, as we head towards another election, we must be ready to reject who we are not and reaffirm who we are. To do so, we must interrogate the process, ponder our progress so far, tell ourselves some home truths as to the defects in our system, and commence the work of correcting the defects. And so I ask, great Nigerian patriots: What time is it?
It is time to say no to a defective system that stifles our potential as a people; it is time to say no to a defective system that throws up the worst of us for leadership and brings out the worst in the best of us when they find themselves in leadership; it is time to say no to a defective system that only breeds defectors! It is time to build systems that serve the common good, structures that work for every Nigerian, and a nation that caters to all Nigerians. It is time to make the right choices.
Therefore, on this solemn occasion, on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Jewish ecclesiastical calendar, I present to Nigerians a seven-point framework to facilitate robust public discourse on the choices we must make in the 2019 elections. These seven points must not only become the yardstick for interrogating the polity at this time; they must also guide the reflections of those who are sticking their necks out in a bid to salvage our nation. In addition, these points must challenge incumbents as they attempt to seek re-election. These pivotal points are milestones on the journey to 2019.
Milestones on the Journey to 2019
The seven milestones are the Mood, the Man, the Method, the Medium, the Moment, the Mission, and the Mandate.
First, the mood. We must interrogate the polity in the context of the mood of the nation. By the mood of the nation, I mean the state of the nation. I mean the hopes, expectations and aspirations of Nigerians; the pains of many Nigerians who do not feel the pulse of government in spite of its self-acclaimed efforts; the anxieties of many Nigerians who do not know where their next meal will come from; the cries and agonies of Nigerians who are daily losing loved ones and property to criminality, terrorism, violence, and vicious killings.
I am talking about the worries of that family man whose children are about to be sent out of school because his minimum wage is not a living wage and can barely put food on the table, not to talk of meeting the demands of school fees. I am talking about the fears of that woman who is about to be retrenched because her company has been unable to survive the recession. I am talking about the conundrum of that entrepreneur who borrowed money to start a business but cannot break even because of the cost of running a diesel generator; now the loan is long overdue for repayment, and the creditors have come threatening. I am talking about the identity crisis of the PhD holder who, after enduring five years without a job, has opted to become a truck driver alongside thousands of others who did not have the opportunity to go to secondary school.
By the mood, I mean the questions on the minds of many Nigerians, who wonder whether there is truly religious freedom in Nigeria when 15-year-old Leah Sharibu is still being held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, while other girls captured along with her from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, were released six months ago following the intervention of the federal government. I mean the outbreak of violence in Jos and the evacuation of hundreds of university students; I mean the fear and shame on the face of that farmer in Benue who has since abandoned his farmland to marauding herdsmen; the despondency of the cattle owner in Zamfara whose livelihood has been stolen by rustlers; and the resentment of the father in an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Borno, who cannot tell if his family members are in Boko Haram’s custody or dead.
By the mood of the nation, I mean the apathy of the electorate who can neither relate to the self-proclaimed achievements of the governing party nor the self-interested agitations of the opposition parties. I mean the reservations of many Nigerians who now suffer from weariness and the latest epidemic in the country: Politics-induced Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I mean the restlessness of the majority of the youth population whose tolerance level regarding the deprivations they face is close to breaking point. We must interrogate the polity with these realities in mind. Any politicking that is blind and deaf to the mood of the nation is tantamount to the anomaly portrayed in Proverbs 25:20 (NKJV):
Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather,
And like vinegar on soda,
Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
To make empty campaign promises ahead of the 2019 elections is to be insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
Next, we must interrogate the man. I use the word ‘man’ in the gender-neutral sense to refer to both men and women. By ‘man,’ I mean the kind of persons we should select to lead us. To underscore the need to publicly interrogate those vying for leadership, I am reminded of the immortal words of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo:
But the competence and character of politicians must of a necessity be examined in the full glare of public limelight because what is at issue is the welfare of the community or nation. In the management of private affairs, a gross mistake would only affect the fortunes of one man or a family or a small group of persons. A serious error of judgement in the management of public affairs might adversely affect the lives and fortunes of millions of people.
For this reason, there is need for the competence and character of public men to be subjected to severer and stricter scrutiny — and that mainly in public — than those of persons engaged in private concerns.
Virtually every Nigerian can say a thing or two about the kinds of leaders Nigeria needs. In a moment, I will tell you my position on the kind of leaders we need, but let me start by telling you the kind of leaders we don’t need.
We don’t need leaders who make opportunistic promises before elections, especially at political rallies, knowing they have no intention to keep such promises; we don’t need leaders who peddle ‘stomach infrastructure’ so that they can ‘stomach’ the money that is meant for infrastructure – such so-called leaders don’t have the heart to lead. We don’t need leaders who cannot face the Nigerian people in debates among candidates, or have intelligent conversations on our national problems, or tell us precisely what they plan to do to solve such problems – such so-called leaders don’t have the mind to lead. We don’t need leaders who merely daydream or pontificate about a new nation but cannot do the hard work required to build that nation – such so-called leaders don’t have the hands to lead.
We need a new breed of leaders. We need leaders who tick the ‘Heart, Head and Hands’ boxes on the leadership checklist. We need leaders whose hearts are melted by the cries and agonies of Nigerians and are burdened by the state of the nation. We need leaders who are not distant from the people and who are “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15; NKJV). We need leaders who have the mental fortitude to navigate the complexities of our national realities and conceive appropriate solutions to our national dilemmas; we need leaders who possess the power of execution and the ability to see to it that solutions are effected and policies implemented – this is the breed of leaders we need in 2019 and beyond.
Thirdly, we must interrogate the method by which such leaders are produced. How effective is this electocracy masquerading as a democracy? Does our current system guarantee the emergence of the best and brightest leaders or does it constrain us to the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea? Have we helped ourselves by asking Nigerians to get their PVCs without paying attention to what happens at the primaries? What have we done at this time to ensure that after elections, a president or governor is not surrounded by people who will misadvise or incapacitate him or her? What safeguards have we put in place to ensure that an elected leader is surrounded by the right set of lieutenants, including ministers and advisers? How much consideration have we given to leadership succession? Beyond 2019, who are those trusted hands in whose care we must place our beloved nation? How can we begin to position such leaders in the current dispensation? Every serious political party must place these issues at the front burner. Any party that is unable to spell out its leadership selection criteria, as well as its long-term succession plan, should be rejected by Nigerians.
Fourthly, we must also interrogate the medium, that is, the platforms from which leadership emerges in our nation. What is the difference between the major political parties? Does the mess going on during party primaries not remind us of Abacha’s infamous “five fingers of a leprous hand”? What informs political alignment and what is responsible for the endless cross-carpeting? Is it not because the same corrupt blood flows through the veins of these parties? What kind of leaders can such a system throw up other than leaders who are mainly motivated by an unbridled lust for power? How can we midwife political party formation to ensure the emergence of platforms built on integrity, unmistaken ideologies and uncompromising commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians? This takes me to the concept of The Political Family, which I have spoken about extensively in the past. In essence, a political family is a group of stakeholders transcending ethnic, religious and political affiliations. It is a group of patriots bound by a common DNA, which is the shared commitment to a Distinct Nationhood Agenda. I call on Nigerians to take a stand with me in the coming days as I pioneer one of such families in 2019 and beyond with the sole aim of taking our nation back to her pride of place in the community of nations.
This brings me to the next critical point – the moment. Every nation has what, in the biblical lexicon, is referred to as its “time of visitation.” It is that point in history when our great God beams His attention on a particular nation and transits it from obscurity to prominence in order to accomplish His purpose for humanity at that time. It is why kingdoms have risen, and kingdoms have fallen, empires have emerged, and empires have collapsed; we have seen nations deplete their resources and others transit “from Third World to First.” At the heart of the transitions of these nations were men and women whose time of manifestation coincided with the time of visitation of their nation. I am convinced that this is the moment for Africa, and that Nigeria is at the pivot of this turning point in history. I believe that our heart-breaking national challenges, including the violence threatening our national foundations, and the confusion among the political class, are birth pangs heralding a new nation. It is the cry for the emergence of the men and women of the moment – men and women who can step in at this moment to begin the process of transitioning our nation from the status quo to greatness. Therefore, the politics of 2019 must be about galvanising such men and women of the moment around an idea whose time has come. Anything short of this is unacceptable.
This takes me to the mission. The mission is the idea around which the men and women of the moment must galvanise towards the birth of a new nation. It is more than a manifesto; it is the developmental model founded upon a great vision that must propel our nation to prominence. I am convinced that for Nigeria, the idea whose time has come is the restructuring of our nation. Restructuring must be the overarching mission around which the social, economic and political development agenda is constructed. It must be the wheels on which Nigeria is propelled for strategic relevance.
Among the political class, there have been diverse responses to the call to restructure. There are those who once championed restructuring but have now restructured their opinions because they have become part of the system. They have forgotten that the position they currently occupy is not permanent. There are those now promising restructuring who did nothing in that regard while they were in the system. Such politicians face the tall order of convincing the Nigerian people that restructuring is not a mere front for their inordinate political ambitions. Then there are those incumbents who are diametrically opposed to restructuring because they cannot imagine a Nigeria that is not dependent on petrodollars. I do not have a moment to spare for such sceptics. Their political extinction is inevitable because there is no force strong enough to stop an idea whose time has come.
Instead, let me spare a moment for those who genuinely desire to know how to restructure; for those influential Nigerians together with whom we must join forces to wrest our nation from the self-serving political class; and for the Nigerian electorate who must demand allegiance to restructuring as a precondition for supporting any party or candidate in the next elections. For this set of Nigerians, let me, at this time, unveil the sixteen pragmatic steps towards restructuring Nigeria.
Sixteen Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria
- Phase 1: The First Two Years: 2019 – 2021
Step 1: The President, by an executive order and in full consultation with the National Assembly and the Council of State, shall establish a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring.
Step 2: To chair the Presidential Commission, the President shall appoint a wise and discerning Nigerian who must be incorruptible, of high moral standing, and of unquestionable integrity, highly respected among national influencers, able to build bridges among the diverse interest groups in the country, and willing to serve his/her fatherland without remuneration.
Step 3: The Chairperson shall devolve the Presidential Commission into six Zonal Commissions and shall appoint for each zone a Zonal Commissioner. The Zonal Commissioners shall be technocrats mandated to create and implement masterplans for their respective geo-economic zones and to coordinate the transition of the economies of the states within the zone into integrated zonal economies, working closely with the respective state governments.
Step 4: The Presidential Commission will launch a nationwide reconciliation and reintegration drive and shall creatively communicate the New Nigeria narrative with a compelling national vision and brand identity.
Step 5: The Commission shall institute a social impact bond for the implementation of the zonal economic masterplans; the financing scheme shall be structured into key sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and solid minerals development, as well as the creative, culture and innovation industries, based on zonal competitive advantage. Education and human capital development in each zone shall be designed to build capacity for the socioeconomic and industrial agendas of the respective zones.
- Phase 2: The Next 2 Years: 2021 – 2023
Step 6: Through policy harmonisation and coordination, the state governments will progressively integrate the state economies into zonal economies. The Zonal Commissions, at this point, will relate to the states as regional development consultants, midwifing the emergence of six geo-economic zones in line with the zonal masterplans.
Step 7: As internally generated revenue increases, the federal allocations disbursed to the states and local councils from the federation account will be progressively reduced. At the same time, the percentage derivation, which is the amount of revenue retained by the state from which it was generated, will be progressively increased by necessary constitutional alterations.
Step 8: A counterpart funding mechanism will be instituted as a competitive reward scheme for the zones based on their internal revenue generation efforts. Access to this counterpart funding will not depend only on the amount of internal revenue but also on the effort and creativity deployed in integrating the economies of the states in each zone, especially in areas of competitive advantage.
Step 9: A series of constitutional alterations will be championed as needed through the National and State Assemblies. These will progressively devolve powers to the states so they can have greater control of their economies. In turn, the states will confer greater powers of consultation on the Zonal Commissions, such that, on behalf of their client states, the Commissions can take further steps towards integrating the states in line with the respective zonal master plans.
- Phase 3: The Next 4 Years: 2023 – 2027
Step 10: A series of succession steps will be taken to consolidate the gains of the first four years. First, the Chairperson of the Presidential Commission, having been tested with the geo-economic development agenda, may opt to serve in an elective or appointive capacity. The Presidential Commission will then be transitioned to the Office of the Prime Minister dedicated to implementing the regional development agenda. The President, who will emerge from the 2023 elections, will then appoint a technocrat as Prime Minister with the ratification of the National Assembly.
Step 11: The federal government, through the office of the Prime Minister, will begin to reduce its involvement in socio-economic management to that of a policy standards regulator and facilitator ensuring global best practices.
Step 12: The states, through the Zonal Commissioners, will continue to manage socio-economic policies in line with the zonal masterplans, with the facilitation of the Prime Minister. At this point, the Nigerian economic map will have taken the shape of 6 geo-economic regions, 36 economic hubs, and 109 industrial clusters derived from the present senatorial districts.
Step 13: The President, focussing on defence, foreign affairs and national integration, will begin to geo-strategically position Nigeria in the international community as an African Great Power.
Phase 4: The Next 4 Years: 2027 – 2031
Step 14: By 2027, this geo-economic and geo-social model, which will have been in operation for eight years under the 1999 constitution (as amended), will be codified into a geopolitical framework. The framework will have geopolitical zones as federating units as well as a modified presidential system of government. The result will be a new draft constitution that will have for its preamble the Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Integration.
Step 15: Nigerians at home and in the diaspora will be accorded the opportunity to adopt this framework through a referendum, thereby giving the people a constitution that will be truly deserving of the introduction, “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”
Step 16: The succession plan will, once again, be activated to bring in a new generation of leaders. This new generation of leaders, who will have already been integrated into the leadership ecosystem, will continue the rapid socioeconomic advancement. They will ensure the consolidation and expansion of Nigeria’s positioning as a global power made up of six geopolitical zones, each of them more prosperous than Dubai. In due course, this generation of leaders will, in turn, pass the baton to the next generation.
I am Running
Fellow Nigerians, there are only two choices in the 2019 elections. Like our founding fathers, we can, once more, choose the path of nationhood or find ourselves and our children once again doomed to servitude. As a patriot and ardent believer in the destiny of our nation, I stand before you today to challenge you to choose nationhood. Choose nationhood and set Nigeria free from the shackles of wicked leaders who perpetuate terror with their errors; choose nationhood and break the chains of political banditry and economic bondage; choose nationhood and set this nation loose on the flight to greatness.
Some of you may be asking: How do we choose nationhood? Is nationhood going to be on the ballot box as we go to the polls in 2019? Is there a candidate that goes by the name ‘nationhood’? Is there a particular political party named ‘nationhood’?
A choice for nationhood has nothing to do with any of these. It has nothing to do with any political party or the political interest of any of the candidates. To choose nationhood is to put the interest of Nigeria at the heart of our actions and decisions in 2019 and beyond.
At the beginning of the year, I made known to you what God said to me. I told you that while waiting on God, the Spirit of God said to me:
“Politics is not over for you. There is still one thing left for you to do: Run for President…I will work it out Myself and make it happen in due course.” 
Since then, people have read diverse connotations to my declarations. A number have asked me to flag off my campaign. Politicians from the leading political parties have approached me with attractive offers. The gentlemen of the press have inquired as to whether I will run against the incumbent. My response has always been that I will not run against President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, fellow Nigerians, on this day, the 7th of October, 2018, I declare to you that I am running. Yes, I am running. I am running for a united Nigeria that will birth the New Nigeria. I am running to begin to stir conversations around the seven-point agenda. I am running to lead Nigerians in a movement to demand the adoption of the pragmatic steps towards restructuring Nigeria.
But don’t get it mixed up. I am not running with my name on the ballot paper; my name is in the Book of Life. I am not running for any office in the 2019 elections; the doctrine of my election stands sure. I am not running on the platform of any political party; I am building a political family.
For those who care to listen, I am the nationhood candidate. I am stepping in to pitch the unyielding political class against God and His agenda for our nation. I am stepping in to execute the judgement that is written against perjurers – those politicians who make promises they have no intention to fulfil; those who swear oaths of deceit with their hands on the Bible or the Quran; those oppressors who feed fat on our common patrimony and return every four years to refill their tanks of deceit; those who think they have an entire region or state in the palm of their hands and can play God in the affairs of the nation. I am here to tell them: Your time is up! And for those who doubt if this will ever happen, hear the word of the Lord: Isaiah 49:22-26 (NKJV):
22 Thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;
23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”
24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty,
Or the captives of the righteous be delivered?
25 But thus says the Lord:
“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
And the prey of the terrible be delivered;
For I will contend with him who contends with you,
And I will save your children.
26 I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh,
And they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine. All flesh shall know
That I, the Lord, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
If you are on the side of the Lord, if you are on the side of truth, if you are on the side of justice, then take a stand with me for nationhood, as we march on to victory in 2019 and beyond, to take back our fatherland, to restore the broken foundations, and to build a great nation.
Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great in my lifetime!
Thank you for listening, God bless you, and may God bless our nation, Nigeria.
Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare
Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly (The LRA);
Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG)
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“Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette.” INEC Nigeria. August 24, 2010. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://www.inecnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/EA2010.pdf
Iriekpen, Davidson. “Lasun, Omisore Turn Brides as APC, PDP Dig in for Votes.” ThisDay Live. September 26, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2018/09/26/lasun-omisore-turn-brides-as-apc-pdp-dig-in-for-votes
“Timi Frank raises the alarm over manipulation of Osun election results.” Vanguard. September 23, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2108. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/09/timi-frank-raises-the-alarm-over-manipulation-of-osun-election-results
“After Initial Card Reader Failure: Nigerians persevere, vote in peaceful elections.” Vanguard. March 29, 2015. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/03/after-initial-card-reader-failure-nigerians-persevere-vote-in-peaceful-elections
“Press Statement From INEC On Osun Governorship Re-Run Election.” INEC Nigeria. September 25, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://www.inecnigeria.org/?inecnews=press-statement-from-inec-on-osun-governorship-re-run-election
Abdallah, Nuruddeen M. “2019 elections set to be Nigeria’s most expensive.” Daily Trust. August 3, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/2019-elections-set-to-be-nigeria-s-most-expensive-263938.html
“INEC adjusts 2019 Elections budget to N143bn.” Vanguard. August 28, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/08/inec-adjusts-2019-elections-budget-to-n143bn
Ugwu, Emmanuel. “Nigeria as new poverty capital of the world.” The Nation. July 9, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://thenationonlineng.net/nigeria-as-new-poverty-capital-of-the-world
“Boko Haram in Nigeria.” Council on Foreign Relations. Updated October 5, 2018. Accessed October 5, 2018. https://www.cfr.org/interactives/global-conflict-tracker?marker=26#!/conflict/boko-haram-in-nigeria
Onuoha, C. Freedom and Samuel Oyewole. “Anatomy of Boko Haram: The Rise and Decline of a Violent Group in Nigeria.” Aljazeera Centre for Studies. April 22, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://studies.aljazeera.net/en/reports/2018/04/anatomy-boko-haram-rise-decline-violent-group-nigeria-180422110920231.html
“Nigeria.” Action Against Hunger. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.actionagainsthunger.org/countries/africa/nigeria
Johnson, Dayo. “Over 17m Nigerian children malnourished – UNICEF.” Vanguard. February 28, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/02/17m-nigerian-children-malnourished-unicef
Nleweoha, Happiness and Njideka Agbo. “The Trouble With Maternal Healthcare In Nigeria.” The Guardian. August 19, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://guardian.ng/life/on-the-cover/the-trouble-with-maternal-healthcare-in-nigeria
Aluko, Olaleye. “13.2 million Nigerian children now out-of-school – UBEC.” Punch. October 5, 2018. Accessed October 5, 2018. https://punchng.com/13-2-million-nigerian-children-now-out-of-school-ubec
Adeyemi, Muyiwa. “90 million Nigerians lack electricity supply, says Fashola.” The Guardian. March 6, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://guardian.ng/news/90-million-nigerians-lack-electricity-supply-says-fashola
“Over 108m Nigerians are technically homeless.” The Guardian. February 10, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://guardian.ng/news/over-108m-nigerians-are-technically-homeless
Olatunji, Kehinde. “Why Nigeria is trapped in infrastructural deficit.” The Guardian. July 20, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://guardian.ng/news/why-nigeria-is-trapped-in-infrastructure-deficit
Nnabugwu, Favour. “Lagos, Port Harcourt Airports top 20 Worst in the World.” Vanguard. November 14, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/11/lagos-port-harcourt-airports-top-20-worst-world
“States’ overdependence on federal allocations.” The Sun. June 6, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://sunnewsonline.com/states-overdependence-on-federal-allocations
“GDP by Country, Statistics from the World Bank…” Open Data. Updated September 27, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://nigeria.opendataforafrica.org/mhrzolg/gdp-by-country-statistics-from-the-world-bank-1960-2017?country=Nigeria
Eboh, Michael. “Nigeria earned, squandered N77trn oil revenue in 17 years.” Vanguard. September 5, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/09/nigeria-earned-squandered-n77trn-oil-revenue-17-years
Popoola, Feyisayo. “Nigeria’s debt rises to N22.7tn – DMO.” Punch. June 21, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://punchng.com/nigerias-debt-rises-to-n22-7tn-dmo
“Treatment of Nigeria’s Debt.” Paris Club. October 20, 2005. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://www.clubdeparis.org/en/communications/press-release/treatment-of-nigeria-s-debt-20-10-2005
Iredia, Tonnie. “Nigeria’s minimum wage: Committees without end.” Vanguard. May 28, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018.
See, for instance, the agitations of already retrenched workers: Usim, Uche. “Recession: Women, youths protest in Abuja.” The Sun. October 12, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://sunnewsonline.com/recession-women-youths-protest-in-abuja
See, for instance, the challenges SME owners face: https://punchng.com/nigerian-small-businesses-on-death-row-smes-traders-losing-investments-to-power-shortage
See, for instance: “6 Ph.D, 704 Masters holders among applicants for drivers job in Dangote.” Vanguard. November 5, 2012. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/11/6-ph-d-704-masters-holders-among-applicants-for-drivers-job-in-dangote
“Why Leah Sharibu is Buhari’s responsibility.” Vanguard. September 10, 2018. October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/09/why-leah-sharibu-is-buharis-responsibility
Bolaji, Femi. “Missing Army General: Tension as govt evacuates Taraba students from UniJos.” Vanguard. October 6, 2018. Accessed October 6, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/10/missing-army-general-tension-as-govt-evacuates-383-taraba-students-from-unijos
Duru, Peter. “Herdsmen attacks: We’re still haunted by fear, cannot return to farms – Benue farmers.” Vanguard. June 6, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/06/herdsmen-attacks-still-haunted-fear-cannot-return-farms-benue-farmers
“Breaking: 13 killed as cattle rustlers attack Zamfara village.” Vanguard. May 13, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/05/13-killed-cattle-rustlers-attack-nigerian-village
Adebulu, Taiwo. “Haunting memories: How the fear of Boko Haram torments their victims in IDP camps.” The Cable. October 3, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.thecable.ng/haunting-memories-how-the-fear-of-boko-haram-torments-their-victims-in-idp-camps
Awolowo, Obafemi. “From the Archives – Politics and Religion (by Chief Obafemi Awolowo; January 1961).” Nigerian Muse. March 6, 2010. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.nigerianmuse.com/20100306133942zg/nm-projects/awoproject/from-the-achives-politics-and-religion-by-chief-obafemi-awolowo-january-1961
Oluwajuyitan, Jide. “What Nigerians expect of Buhari and Tinubu.” The Nation. January 31, 2013. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://thenationonlineng.net/what-nigerians-expect-of-buhari-and-tinubu
Bakare, Tunde. “Nigeria: What Next?” Tunde Bakare. March 6. 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://tundebakare.com/nigeria-what-next
Luke 19:44 (NKJV)
This is a reference to From Third World to First: The Singapore Story – 1965-2000 by Lee Kuan Yew.
This paraphrases a popular Victor Hugo quotation, “No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.”
Bakare, Tunde. “Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria.” Tunde Bakare. October 1, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018. http://tundebakare.com/pragmatic-steps-towards-restructuring-nigeria/
“Download: Nigeria 2014 National Conference Report #NGConfab.” Premium Times. August 14. 2014. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://www.premiumtimesng.com/national-conference/download-nigeria-2014-national-conference-report-ngconfab-2 (See pages 288-295)
Bakare, ‘Tunde. “2018 Our Year of Good Success.” YouTube Video, 59:47. December 31, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l91oFjXm5U
II Peter 1:10 (NKJV)