‘Nigerian governors are richer than their states’ – Bakare

Published 6 years ago by: OIL PRINCE
at 19-03-2013 09:23AM (6 years ago)

(998 | Upcoming) (m)

Pastor Tunde Bakare was the vice presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 elections. The presiding pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly and the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) speaks on the merger of opposition parties, the Goodluck Jonathan administration, corruption and other national issues in this interview with AYODELE OJO. Excerpts:

I went through a book, Accidental Public Servant written by Nasir El-rufai which you wrote the foreword; what actually struck you in the book?

The reason why Nigeria has been in the woods up till now is what struck me; that we have so many quack doctors, trying to fix the nation’s health. They are only there for themselves; with very little regards for the rest of us. If your doctor is quack; you don’t get well.

Because of your condition, he will take advantage of your trust in him to enrich himself at the expense of your health. So, whether you get well or not is not their business as far as they make their money. Nigeria’s leaders hate the people of this nation.

Are you not surprised with the conduct of the leaders going by the revelations in the book?

It doesn’t come as a surprise because we have to figure out who they are from the beginning; many of them have been like that from independence till now, only fewer exceptions could be called statesmen or those who truly set out for service and not for self.

But how do you see the denials; those who came out to say what El Rufai wrote were fictions?

If you want to do justice, attack the issues in the book; issues were raised and such issues were being highlighted. It is a good development. The denial means nothing; anybody can deny. When you put a hardened criminal in the duck and ask him if he is guilty or not guilty, the first thing he/she will tell you is not guilty because he/she is an accused person; according to our law until the contrary is proved.

If Atiku is not guilty, he will have the opportunity now to address the issue raised not what El Rufai said before the Senate or what he didn’t say before the Senate; that is not the issue. He listed areas that proved to him that the man is corrupt; let him now bring out facts and figures on what it is not. The denial means nothing.

Former US President Bill Clinton was in the country recently, and he spoke about poverty fueling insecurity and that Nigeria lacks good leadership which was responsible for the frittering away of the nation’s resources. What is your take on this?

Clinton can fly in and fly out of Nigeria, but don’t we know these things ourselves. And do we have to wait for the opinion of Clinton to know what to do with the deep poverty in the country. He cannot diagnose the problem of Nigeria more than us and he should not cry more than the bereaved. We know the situation ourselves more than Clinton.

The South is poor, the North is poor, all the geographical zones, you find extreme poverty with exception of Abuja, because Abuja doesn’t produce but consumes everything that comes into the country. It was not Clinton that told us to go out to street, to protest when the need arose or in January 2012 when we went out to protest against government’s bad policy.

I respect Clinton as United States of America’s statesman. The truth is that the leadership of this country hates the people. That was the language of the Bible; that those who rule over you hate you.

Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, a former Education Minister, recently accused the government of spending the reserves…

Rather the present Federal Government is planning to use ICPC to harass her, to look at her records when she was the Minister of Education. I wish them well if they will find anything against the woman; they can’t. Rather than facing the issue, they are distracting in different area to deal with side issues.

Why is that when Nigerians come out with fact and figures about how the system is been run, government always send the anti- corruption agencies after them?

They continue to do that in order to silence those that they know have skeleton in their cupboards, as I am speaking; others are speaking, why have they not sent their agencies against us? I have never had anything to do with the government of this country, not even a contract. They only do that to harass them to keep quite. And indeed, those who live in glass houses do not throw stones, but if you have nothing to fear, you face them head on.

How do you see the stealing of the pension funds and the trial of the accused?

I don’t want to get angry over all these things. It is a betrayal, because the years of labour of others rather being rewarded and compensated in their time of need after their retirement, they are now being deprived of their rights and entitlements.

In Nigeria, if you steal small you have yourself blamed, but if you steal big time, you join the league of big fish. That is what is happening in our country. There is no serious trial, but mockery and I don’t believe anything will come out of it.

What about a man accused of stealing billions of pension fund being given N750, 000 as fine?

What did they do to Mrs. Cecilia Ibru?

Her assets were saized.

And then, she has nothing to live on any more? Look, if I come to your public treasures, steal N40 billion and paid N20 billion back and you say I should go home, I will go and retire on the N20 billion balance. All of them that were sentenced for imprisonment term spent it in five-star hospitals. I say, there is no justice in this country.

Is this how it will continue?

Well, I am not sure; that depends on Nigerians, because it doesn’t look like Nigerians want to do something about it and those who are benefiting from it still want the show to continue. But there is a God who has purpose for this nation, a time is coming, when the oppressed cannot take it anymore; they will be able to stand up and say enough is enough.

At a time Nigerians are complaining about immunity clause for some public office holders, the House of Representatives is seeking immunity for its members. What do you think of this?

The immunity clause in our constitution is to enable public servants to serve without undue harassment but I remember during the election, we did say that one of the things we will look into is immunity clause.

He who comes to equity must come with clear hands. The immunity clause should be expunged from the constitution because it is allowing rogues to steal for eight years, before we have opportunity to hold them accountable, although nobody is holding anybody accountable in Nigeria anyway.

The 2015 elections are two years away. Are you contemplating participating in active politics again?

I don’t pray we continue like this till 2015. My prayer is that there should be deliverance before that time, because if we continue like this, then there will be self-


fulfilling of the prophecy of disintegration.

Are you talking about change of government or revolution?

Whatever it is, this madness must not continue.

So, you are not sure if you will participate in the 2015 elections?

With who? The collection of rogues, right, left and central?

Even with the progressives?

Who are the progressives in Nigeria; mention their names? Are you persuaded that they are progressives, progressive where, taking you where?

The progressives who formed the All Progressive Congress (APC).

If the devil becomes a pastor, Nigerians will attend his church, because they don’t know the true church and they cannot distinguish it from the synagogue of satan. Some of these governors are far richer than their states, because they are looting their states dry.

I read in the newspaper that former of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu do not own Oriental Hotel, Shoprite and others.

Who is interested in this in a decent society? Something is wrong; do they say Obafemi Awolowo owns the Cocoa House in Ibadan?

Has anybody alleged that? Do they say that his wife owns the Premier Hotel in Ibadan? The reason why you have to deny this is that your hands are not clean.

In the build up to the 2011 presidential election, there were reports that the leaders of the ACN gave a condition to back General Buhari; that you should write your resignation letter as vice president even before the election. Would you now be comfortable with the same group of people in the merger arrangement?

My dear friend, anybody can ask you to do anything they considered in their own best interest and it is left for you to see whether it is in your own interest. It is true they asked me to sign a letter resigning the post of vice presidential candidate of CPC and Vice President of Nigeria. And I prepared my own letter and I said to General Buhari and the CPC, if you don’t want me to be your candidate any more, you are free any time.

But I am not going to resign as Vice President of Nigeria, because I have not occupied that office. And they said that is what they want. I said, look this man will not bend his rule; I don’t want to join the perjurers who are no longer electable in Nigeria but want to destroy the opportunity of other people.

Sitting on the table with these people means nothing to me. I am not part of the merger committee. If the merger is being put together for the development of our nation and our people, may God let it succeed, but if is to continue this foolish, crazy, greedy aggrandizement, God will overturn it.

If merger has been put together by good people, it will deepen our democracy, at least we will develop a two-party system in Nigeria. But I don’t see the difference between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors and the so-called progressive governors. You can ask question how much is the kilometers of road awarded as contract in Oyo State and who is doing the road. It is not Bayelsa where you will say there is too much water there.

Where are the progressive governors? These ones who are fruitful and everyone wants to buy his own private jet once he is out of office, how much were they worth before they came into power?

And how do they come by their massive wealth now that they are bragging all around?

I desire to see in my life time, a nation that works and I pray that God will give grace and opportunity to people who can make it work. I am not saying if a person like me is not there it won’t work. There are thousand others who are better than I am in this country, God will bring those ones into power.

Do you think Nigerians are prepared for a change?

It depends on what change we are thinking about. We can change for the worse. We are miles away. We are dancing into the lagoon and into the woods everyday. The blind is leading the seeing in Nigeria. But why will the seeing allow the blind to lead them? The moment they get there they change.

Even you now interviewing me, the moment they make you a Commissioner for Information, it is an opportunity for enjoyment. All the things you have written against me you will change. Ask Reuben Abati. Men have lost their honour because of temporary power. Must you sell your birthright because of a pot of porridge?

General Buhari recently foreclosed INEC under Attahiru Jega, conducting free and fair elections in 2015. Do you share the same sentiment?

Has Jega conducted a credible election? INEC had always been in the pocket of the sitting president. But a time is coming when people will say enough is enough. Mubarak was in power for more than 30 years in Egypt. He did not envisage that one day they would carry him on a stretcher to the court. Muammar Gaddafi thought he had conquered Libya and the rest of Africa was his next agenda. They found him inside a water tunnel where they shot him.

You have seen what happened to the Tunisian president when the citizens decided to say enough is enough. Anything will happen any moment from now that will let these people say it’s over. Unfortunately they cannot see the handwriting on the wall.

After the 2011 post-election violence, the Federal Government constituted a panel on the crisis. The panel had submitted its report, but nothing has been done on it.

Because they were targeting Buhari, Bakare and CPC, that was why the panel was constituted. They had to bury the report in shame because they didn’t find anything that indicted us. The people who reacted to the daylight robbery after the election were not CPC.

They were poor people who were angry and that was the only way they could vehemently release their anger. It was not good, we didn’t support it but you don’t expect anything good to come out of that panel other than they have been truthful and the government cannot publish it because of shame.

Let them publish it and take action. I have never sponsored violence in my life and I won’t because vengeance has no foresight. That was why we went to court to ensure that nobody takes the law into his own hand.

But you couldn’t get justice in the court.

The Nigerian judiciary is compromised. Justice Ayo Salami tried to do what sounds like justice but was immediately removed. His tribunal quickly packed up and the next panel said they were not bound by the order made by his court.

And they didn’t allow us to bring the ballot papers to the court for forensic investigation because they said there would be breach of security. Those who did these things in the past, we knew where they ended up. So, let them keep on dancing to the same tune. They will end up the same way.

You once led Nigerians to protest in Abuja that Jonathan should be made the acting president. Are you satisfied with what his government is doing?

I didn’t go to Abuja to make Jonathan acting president or president. We went to Abuja collectively to uphold constitutionality and we will do it again if a goat is there. You are to blame yourself for allowing a goat to sit on the seat of the president not the constitutionality; what we went to Abuja to do was to uphold constitutionality, it does not matter who the president had been.

And as for his government, at the appropriate time SNG went to meet him and we exposed, gave him a mirror-image of his government; what it was all about and we were saying goodbye and he thought we could be bought. He was trying to bribe us with $50,000. Shame!

The Sultan of Sokoto requested that amnesty should be granted Boko Haram but the President had turned down the request. Now foreign hostages had been killed by another sect. What is the way forward?

It is unfortunate, the killing of anyone not just the foreigners, the killing of citizens of our country regardless of any their religion. What Boko Haram is doing is evil. The environment is conducive to it, that is why it continued.

Now that the seven expatriates have been killed, the nations where they came from; Greece, Britain etc, they have all spoken that they are going to track those people to their roots.

But the Nigerian president has said nothing because he knows who and who are behind Boko Haram. I don’t know what he is afraid of. He had publicly said Boko Haram is in his cabinet. We should hold Jonathan responsible for Boko Haram.

He should expose them or deal with them. If Mr. President will be forthright since he said he knew them, we challenge him to mention their names. But he has not done that till now. He couldn’t expose them because he who pays the piper dictates the tune. He should expose them. Boko Haram should not be allowed to harass us as citizens and to take laws into their hands.

Who is safe in this country with the killing of a police commissioner?

Nobody. When Dimka killed Gen. Muritala Muhammed, Chief Obafemi Awolowo made a statement few days after. He said the society where the dog can kill the lion, nobody is saved. That is where we have found ourselves.

During the deliberation of the PIB, there was a revelation that 83 per cent of the oil blocs were owned by Northerners. How do you see the development?

I have not seen the document. I have learnt to take with a pinch of salt whatever this Senate says because they are supposed to be there to be making laws and when they see such inequalities are there laws to regulate that sector? Those 83 per cent who gave the allocation to the people? Did they go there to hijack it by themselves?

Are they holding it for people in power? Is it for them? Those are the questions intelligent people should ask? How many things have they uncovered that nothing came out of it? Before you finish, there will be another sting operation and lives of millions of people wasted on daily basis. They know how to do sting operations.

You can see the sting operation they are doing in respect of the merger now.

They have gone to register APC and they could backdate because they are in power thinking that the rest of us cannot think. They tried to do that for us also. They registered SNG to say that they were registered before us or that the name should not be used by us. We are waiting for them in court. But remember, everyday is for the thief, one day is for the owner.” The day they will be caught, they will vomit all.

So what is your advice for Nigerians?

Let Nigerians take their destiny in their hands and insist and demand on good governance and hold this government accountable or make the country ungovernable until they do so. They should take their destiny in their hands and demand for good governance once and for all, if they continue, they will be worse of.

When the government has the machinery to crunch its citizens!

Well, so did Mubarak have all the machinery, so did the Tunisian president and so did the Gaddafi of Libya, but the will of the people prevailed in the end.

Are you also considering buying a private jet?

For me that will be death sentence because they are looking for me to finish. So, I will not buy a private jet where they will put a bomb.

It is wicked for me to remain lavishly rich in the midst of poor people. We should divert those resources to help others. How many trips do I make in a year? Even if I go every month, what I will spend in a year is not up to a quarter of what I will use as aviation fuel.

I have done that business before. Let us run good airlines instead of having private jets, so that the lives of our citizens will be protected.

Let’s team up and have good airlines; let’s team up and have good transportation system and let the government think, for once have good roads, good train system, then Nigerians will put their energy in the right direction, then our nation will begin to recover and come out of the woods.

I am not considering private jet even if I can afford it, I will not do so. I will see it as sheer flamboyant, unnecessary and uncalled for.

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Idbabe at 19-03-2013 09:40AM (6 years ago)
(7861 | Hero) (f)

Pastor Bakare, ur right on this
abclassic at 19-03-2013 01:49PM (6 years ago)
(8 | Newbie) (m)

Now I see y I av a role model in you
ajanni at 19-03-2013 05:27PM (6 years ago)
(95400 | Grande Master) (m)

Real man of God --- pastore Bakare