The founder of the Latter Rain Assembly and convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Pastor Tunde Bakare, has given what many would describe as ‘prophecy of doom.’
The cleric-turned-politician has been busy since the issue of full deregulation of the downstream oil sector, which is now generally referred to as fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government. Bakare who was running mate to Rtd General Muhammadu Buhari at the last April presidential election has said the present government is not competent enough to make things happen,that Nigerians should be ready to take their destiny with their hands.
Excerpts from the interview
“You said crusade, so I was going to ask you, what you meant by crusade, so that we do not give it a religious context. For the first time in the history of our country, we see people come out and ask questions, not just the day to day Nigerians feeling the grudge of economic hardship, there are those we call the elite and middle class, probably in Lagos, in Abuja, in Kaduna, people came out and were asking the right questions, that is one.
Number two, labour buckled, in spite of that, because what labour said when they went to strike was the previous price which was N65 or nothing. But they buckled and brought it to N95.
The strike could have continued and you could have seen more people, because there were more people without jobs and those with jobs.”
“Another thing we achieved is this, the government that mounted a fight and said we are not going back; we are ready for mass protests, quickly buckled also and changed the price to N97.
Another achievement, we want to be clear to Nigerians on other issues that Nigeria’s issues have gone beyond fuel subsidy removal. Aside the reduction or increment of fuel price, there are issues involving corruption, we came out with banners, flyers and t-shirts, posters all that, and all was saying the same thing, kill corruption, and we began to tackle the issues of corruption in NNPC, the government that was not planning to look into these things, began to put committees together to start looking into these things.
Above all, the issues of government extravagant spending. We must not allow it to be swept under the carpet, because the money was not accounted for, the council in Delta State knew nothing about that expenditure because the commissioners came later to tell them look, there seems to be something going on. And if you look at 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, the highest amount spent at anytime on subsidy was N640 billion, how did we now spend N2 trillion in the mentioned years, it must not be swept under the carpet.
These things are now in the consciousness of Nigerians now and after the burial of Ojukwu which took the centre stage in the past weeks, may his soul rest in peace, we cannot let Ojukwu die in vain, because these are still issues that Nigerians have to face and confront in their private lives on a daily basis.
They used the figures of the government whether it was Sanusi, Iweala or Jonathan, they lied with the figures, thinking that Nigerians will just fold their hands and watch, now there is no going back, until justice is done.”
“I don’t like Nigerians being called masses, I don’t subject to that, I don’t like the word, I like them to be called the Nigerian people, stop calling them masses. They are human beings, they are created out of the image and likeness of God, so they are people, blood run in their veins, and there are no differences between them and the President, it is even the people of Nigeria that made him what he is today, I just don’t agree to the word masses.”
“NLC are the ones to answer that question themselves. On a number of forum, on television, print media, they said they have to do what they have to do, because government said we were asking for regime change, nobody asked for regime change that was just from their own imagination, even if they had asked for regime change, we are right to do so.
They did it in Greece, it happened; they did so in Italy it happened, they did so in Spain, it happened, and in Libya, Nigeria was the first to recognize Libya’s new government when Ghadaffi was kicked out, that was a regime change, and so on and so forth. NLC, as much as I respect the serious ones there, there are so many of them that are only there for themselves.”
“NLC was in charge of the strike, we were in charge of the protest. Collaboration, yes, we will collaborate with any one that wants to work with us, but we don’t go out except we want it. So even though some people buckle, it will not stop what we are doing.”
“I read what the Governor of Niger said. There are some educated illiterates in the corridors of power. I did not ask anybody to overthrow any government; I only said government should not spend money with appropriation.
It is illegal, it is a pitiable offence, and it is the duties of the National Assembly to look into that, let them not sweep such things under the carpet. So he is entitled to his opinion, everybody has their own opinion.”
“I don’t think I am powerful enough to hijack the protest. The government was more powerful, that is why they had to use the military to gag the gentle cry and aspirations of the Nigerian people. People just talk, they don’t think.”
“A number of things would have not gone the way it is going now. This is a government that is concerned only by themselves and not the people.
Everybody is crying, and there is no focus and attention on the issues that will be good for people of this country. Many things would not have gone this way, but let us leave that alone.
Three years is a long time from now, by the time it will be 2015, that is not telling you, I am going for any office, but by 2015, Nigerians will be wise enough not to be bought. Many people were saying we were voting for Jonathan, not for PDP, but you cannot separate a leopard from its skin.”
“Let us first solve the problems on ground; that, time will take care of itself. I have not sat down to articulate what I will do in 2015, but I am a Nigerian, in 2015 I have the right to vote. Let us face the issues of today, let us rise to build our nation and take it from the hands of those ones who want to destroy it.
I don’t surprise people, I tell you what I want to do, when I want to do it and you know I will have to say, if I have to say it, but right now that is not the way I am thinking.”
“What will be the perimeter you will use to rate a government that has no direction, the leader of a government that trusts his own instinct and not the instinct of the people.
Let us just pray for their deliverance, that God will rescue this nation. Nigeria is on an auto pilot and the pilot has no compass.”
“If you forge my signature, to withdraw money from my account, let us say N10, 000 and you use that N10, 000 to buy gifts for me, you are still a thief, because you forged my signature.
How can you steal money from Nigerians to do them a favour? No destructive means can bring a constructive end. This is a very deceitful and destructive government that cannot even tell us how much petrol we consume, per day, per week, per month, they can’t tell us.
They cannot tell us categorically how much they spend. On television, one will tell you one thing, another will tell you another thing, NNPC the same thing.
They keep on saying the Nigerian people are laymen, they won’t understand, why can’t you make them understand. So SURE cannot be sure, if it is in the hands of unsure people.”
“That is their own headache, it is not my concern, I did not suggest any name to him, and he is on liberty to reshuffle.
You know, as man of God I cannot judge whatever another man of God says, whether it is a message of God or his personal opinion, I was not there when those opinions were expressed, somebody might have just written that, because I don’t believe whatever I read in the papers today. The truth of the matter is, it is true that God commanded light to shine in the midst of darkness, it is true, but darkness could not comprehend that light.
So what I am saying is, government will come out with this or that, Nigerians should know how to take their destiny in their hands, we can no longer agree to be pushed, to expect development, to expect transformation, the government is not competent enough to make that happen.”
“Yes, there is hope, a man of faith do not live a pessimistic life, because there is a God in heaven and there is a purpose he created Nigeria, Nigeria will fulfill that purpose. Let us just pray for change, that God should give us leadership with the fear of God and love for the Nigerian people.”