Tobi Soniyi in Lagos
The race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, who is yet to commence his second term, has begun in earnest.
The Senior Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare Saturday said he would contest for the presidency after the expiration of Buhari’s second term in 2023.
Bakare made his interest known at a session with journalists in Lagos after casting his vote at the Opebi Grammar School polling unit, noting that he had made up his mind to join the race.
He said, “I am going to throw my hat into the fray. I am just waiting for President Buhari to finish his tenure (in 2023). We cannot continue this way because we have something to offer this country, and we will by the grace of God.”
Bakare, who said he was desirous of making Nigeria one of the greatest countries, said he looked forward to a future where every Nigerian vote would count.
The pastor who was Buhari’s vice-presidential candidate in the 2011 presidential elections, said he would continue to pray for the day when every Nigerian would come out and make their votes count.
He urged Nigerians not to allow themselves to be deceived by ‘stomach infrastructure’ when the needed infrastructure in their communities had decayed.
In an interview published earlier this year at Calgary, Canada, Bakare predicted he would succeed Buhari as Nigeria’s 16th president or head of state.
Bakare said President Buhari is the 15th president or Head of State of the country and claimed that he (Bakare) would be the next.
Bakare explained then that he was currently building a political family from across the world, which would be deployed for future political aspirations.
“As far as politics is concerned, it is not over truly; you would find out that I shifted gear in the year 2018, I did what I have never done before.
“This would be the fourth or the fifth visit to the Nigerians in diaspora, letting them know that God sent them to different countries to learn, that their time is at hand.
“The time is at hand when many of them would have to come back and contribute their meaningful quota; they can speak to their governments on behalf of our people.”
Bakare’s declaration for the 2023 presidential contest would bring him in collision with the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State, has not hidden interest in the 2023 presidential contest. Tinubu’s presidential aspiration, it was alleged, the root cause of the rift in the APC chapters in Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Ondo and Osun, among others.
Beside Tinubu, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola have been among the presidential aspirants that will come from the South-west.