Dike Onwuamaeze and Segun James
Founder, The Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to utilise his remaining years in office to provide strong leadership, strengthen national institutions and build a strong post-Buhari legacy political succession plan.
Bakare said these three tasks would enable Buhari to craft a legacy that would facilitate the emergence of Nigeria of our dreams and make history for himself in his service to the country.
He said: “Therefore, even as we build institutions of democratic governance, a key responsibility that history has bestowed on President Muhammadu Buhari at this turning point in our journey to nationhood is to institutionalise systems of accurate succession that will build and sustain the Nigeria we desire. This is a task that must be done.”
He urged Buhari to learn from the examples of two former world leaders in the persons of late Deng Xiaoping of China and late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who deliberately left political succession plans for their countries.
According to him, Xiaoping’s succession programme gave China a succession of leaders who piloted China’s economic transformation, including the current President, Xi Jinping and “without their foresight, we would not be running to China today to finance our short-sightedness.”
“We must also learn from Nelson Mandela who stepped aside after one term, but not without positioning the likes of Thabo Mbeki and Cyril Ramaphosa,” he added.
Bakare identified the provision of strong leadership as the “most pertinent objectives of nation-building and, like a laser beam, converging all the energies of state onto those critical areas.”
“It means results-oriented governance in which people, policies, programmes and processes are retained in government only to the extent that they contribute to productivity.
“It means now, more than ever, being not just the Commander-in-Chief but also the ‘Unifier-in-Chief’ of an increasingly fragmented and disillusioned populace; to offer hope, inspiration, compassion and pathways to new possibilities; to invoke the spirit of unity, faith, peace and progress codified in our Coat of Arms.
“Strong leadership also means accepting dissent and listening to contrarian views while making decisions in the best interest
of the Nigerian people,” he
Bakare added that in order to cultivate strong leadership, a “leader must surround himself or herself with the best, brightest and most competent, particularly those who are more intelligent than oneself. The leader must also be willing to take the blame for failure and share the credit for success.”
According to him, “Very importantly, providing strong leadership means that the Nigerian government must be ready to confront the true enemies of our nation headlong and to free the Nigerian people from the grip of her oppressors.
“We must stop calling treasury looters generous and noble. They are not. They are economic terrorists and the true enemies of Nigeria. “The second focal objective in these last three years of the Buhari administration should be to strengthen institutions.
“We must strengthen institutions of justice by adherence to the rule of law and respect for court judgements. Those who desecrate the courts must be brought to book to restore the sanctity and independence of the judiciary.“We must also strengthen institutions of accountability by enforcing transparency in government revenue and expenditure. Furthermore, we must strengthen institutions of human development by laying the groundwork for effective education and healthcare policies.
“Finally, we must strengthen institutions of economic growth through geo-economic re-organisation as well as pragmatic fiscal and monetary policies. To strengthen these institutions, we must codify best practices while embracing innovation. We must also run inclusive structures that bridge trans-generational and gender gaps to ensure that the baton of success is passed on from one generation to another.”
Bakare used the words of late Major Kaduna Nzogwu in the first coup broadcast in Nigeria to identified the true enemies of Nigeria as “political profiteers, swindlers, men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 per cent; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs at least; the tribalists, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles; those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds.”
These true enemies of Nigeria, according to Bakare, were found at every level of government, from the local to the state to the federal levels, and in every arm of government.
“They can also be found on the streets, in households and in the marketplace.
“The true enemies of Nigeria are those who, paraphrasing the words of George Washington, seek to build their greatness upon their country’s ruin.
“As it is with the leadership, so it is with the citizenry. Leaders and citizens have their citizenship in common; they are drawn from among us and are a reflection of our basest instincts or our highest ideals at every level of government.
“In Nigeria, the vast majority of our people regularly take turns perpetuating the cycle of corruption either as beneficiaries or benefactors. These enemies in citizens’ clothing are those who choose to be spectators while the nation goes down the drain on their watch; those perverts on the pulpit who hide under togas of godliness to manipulate the vulnerable; those economic behemoths who window dress their underhandedness with philanthropy; those who are perpetually ‘not on seat’ because they can’t ‘come and go and die;’ those who rob, rape, raze, pillage, abduct, murder, dismember in the name of hunger or misguided rage; those who sell their votes or connive with political bandits to short-change their children’s children; those who partake of loot and celebrate looters from the same ethnic group or religious organisation; those who say of the looters: ‘we know say na thief, but this thief na our thief.’ These are the true enemies of Nigeria,” he said.
He added that “at the local level of government, the true enemies of our nation are those agents of oppression who place excruciating multiple tax burdens on often defenceless Nigerians – the petty traders, okada riders, keke drivers, bricklayers, pepper grinders, carpenters, vulcanisers, mechanics and other artisans – not because they want to amass the proceeds for the benefit of the people, but because they must make remittances to their morally bankrupt political benefactors. These are the true enemies of Nigeria.”
“Fellow Nigerians, our founding fathers’ dreams must keep us awake to our responsibilities as co-builders. As they rose to the occasion one hundred years ago, we must rise from our slumber at the turn of a new decade to become architects of a new coalition that will facilitate the emergence of a New Nigeria. We must decide whether we belong to the camp of true enemies or true patriots; enemies who engage in counterproductive blame games; who succumb to the forces of division; who yield to the primordial sentiments of ethnicity, religion or even partisanship; or patriots, people ‘who love and support’ their native land; who, one hundred years since the first building blocks of a coalition for nationhood were laid, will take it upon themselves to salvage the vestiges of national unity and forge a common patriotic front against the enemies of Nigeria,” he noted.
Bakare also asked the National Assembly to drop the Hate Speech Bill because Nigerians who were active on the social media were using it to add their voices to national discourse.