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Opposition May Play Into Jonathan’s Hands — Bakare

Serving overseer of the Lagos, Nigeria-based Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has warned opposition parties in Nigeria to operate with integrity, principles and focus, saying with their current mode of operation, most of them could fall into the hands of President Goodluck Jonathan in his bid to secure another term in office in 2015.

Bakare said, for instance, there are members in Nigeria’s major opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, who still have the blood of other parties flowing in their veins, somewhat like saying they are strange bedfellows.

In an exclusive interview published in the current edition of TheNEWS magazine, a sister publication to P.M.NEWS, Bakare also said he would not blame Jonathan like many other Nigerians over perceived failure of his administration, because a society gets the leader it deserves.

In the interview in which he recalled his role during the saga which rocked the ill-health of former President Umaru Yar’Adua, Pastor Bakare said he was happy that through the Save Nigeria Group, a group he convened, he, with other Nigerians have been able to make a mark in the country.

“We insisted that constitutionality be followed. I thank God that at the end of the day, that came to pass. Under some tremendous heat, the National Assembly came up with the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’.

“Then we had another President who on the 5th of May(2010) at the demise of former President Yar’Adua, became substantive President. From there he moved in to four years of an administration.

“He is now looking for another four years. Though he has not said so, his body language has pointed in that direction. He’s been adopted, he has not denied it,” Bakare said, adding that what had played out showed that in spite of the storm, Nigeria’s democracy had witnessed a smooth sailing so far after the death of the former president.

He continued: “one of the things we advocated for was National Conference for Nigerians to come together and talk about how they want to be governed and led.

“On 5 May, 2010, the Save Nigeria Group came with what we call a blue-print, a minimum of things the electorate should demand from those who govern them. And by the time we got to the National Conference, all parts of what we have been clamouring for became a reality when that conference began to settle old scores.

“If there is courage and will to implement what we got out of that conference, Nigeria will never be the same again. That is why I said the train has left the nation, when I was interviewed.

“This does not mean that the coast is clear. Look at the decampees. Nuhu Ribadu was in ACN, Nuhu Ribadu was in APC, Nuhu Ribadu is now in PDP. Obi was in APGA. He used APGA for eight years, Obi is now in PDP. Mimiko, the Iroko, uprooted himself from Labour Party and is trying to transplant and take root now in PDP. My friend, OGD (Otunba Gbenga Daniel) was in PDP; he left for one party he started, and then he became part of Labour, and now he is back in PDP.

“So, why are they all looking for a place to hide their heads? Look, I don’t understand. Politicians must know what they are doing.

“Why can’t we build institutions and political parties that would not pave the way for a one-party state in Nigeria so that we can have what is available in America with the Democrats and the Republicans forming the bulk of the Congress and the UK where some minor parties really take care of peculiar interest?

“Why can’t I have a party that would only make sure the local government in Abeokuta is doing well and the people are happy? That is where the elite has to come in from bottom upward.”

He urged the citizens of the country to begin to think about positioning themselves so as to take back their destinies from those who have messed the country and are still benefiting from the mess.

He said his call became important because “men in this country are not ready to die for their country; they are ready for others to die so that they can benefit.”

Listing possible solutions to the country’s political problems which include implementing to the letter the report of the National Conference recently held, making the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,  financially independent and organising an accurate census, he said:with Nigeria’s politicians doing everything possible to secure power at all costs, “you are going to play into the hands of the President in so many ways.

“If I don’t believe in APC, I would not move the motion for the merger. And you should know that I am a man at 60 who says it the way it is according to my level of understanding.

“But when you look at what is happening in APC itself, you’ll begin to say: ‘God help us’.”

“I believe in democracy and democratic principles, but I see all kinds of confusion coming.

“When we were going to the merger, we were thinking it was a merger between ACN, and CPC and then eventually, ANPP came in and a faction of APGA also came in.

“All our thoughst at that point in time was if we can get the north and the southwest to come together, it would then be difficult to dislodge PDP from power after so many years since 1999 that it has been in power.

“But the way things are now, it is going to be a tall order, because right inside APC are PDP men who left PDP for reasons best known to them and who are now looking for a safe haven to protect themselves because they may not be able to leave if PDP wins again.

“Now, if a northerner wins the election and those of the Southsouth think they were rigged out of that election, all your pipelines are not safe.

“They have asked Jonathan not to return home, he must stay there because it is their turn. That is the mentality they have with our money as if oil is the only thing we have. Bill Gates did not make one kobo from any oil well, but from his brain.

“And if Jonathan wins, the north that says power must come to them, you can get Boko Haram times 12. So who wins or who loses the election may not stabilise this nation.

“I believe that if the APC puts its house in order and they pick the right candidate who can deliver the votes, and they go with the thought of changing Nigeria for the better, perhaps there would be that change. But if that is not done, they will be playing into the hands of the PDP. I hope not.”

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