The founder of Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare on Friday was in a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Bakare's closed-door meeting focused on support for the electronic transmission of votes in the 2023 elections, power rotation and to “dispense what was in my heart”
Bakare stated, “I had said it on October 3. It’s our immaturity, politically and otherwise, that makes us say power must either be in the North or be in the South, instead of looking for the best, the fittest, the most competent, and people of character, who love this nation.
“Listen to me, if where the president comes from will make the place he has come from to be better, the northern part of Nigeria should be the richest and should be the most progressive and the most developed because out of 61 years, the north has produced either the president or heads of state for 40 to 41 years, and yet see the retrogression in the North.
“If it’s from the South, why should a person like President Obasanjo freeze and seize the account of Lagos State in his own tenure? If it’s from South-South or South-East why couldn’t President Jonathan use all his powers to develop South-South/South-East?
“Not where they come from, it’s what they carry and what they have to offer. May the best of the best of Nigerians rise, whether they’re from the east, from the west, from the north, and from the south.
“If there are agreements between politicians among themselves on rotation, a bargain is a bargain. That’s between them. But as far as this country is concerned, what we need at this stage is a man who can drive us to the Eldorado.”
He also said that there is the need for the nation to adopt electronic voting to ensure that no Nigerian of eligible voting age including the Diasporas are disenfranchised.
Asked about his mission at the presidential villa, Bakare said, “It’s a private visit to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and I’ve dispensed what’s in my heart.”
He applauded the Senate for reversing itself on the electronic transmission of election results, saying beyond that, the country should also adopt electronic voting.
Reacting to the senate’s stance, the Clergyman said, “Perhaps one of the best things the present National Assembly has done, especially the Senate. Because with that, Nigerians can vote and then results can be transmitted so easily. Not only that, part of the State of the Nation address that I did on October 10, I emphasised how Nigeria’s youth, especially undergraduates, are disenfranchised in our country.
“22.3 million students are registered, but during election, campuses are shut, they will not be able to return there to vote, therefore disenfranchised. If we can also be able to vote electronically, that will be wonderful. It will deepen and enhance our democracy.
“Not only that, the Diaspora sends above $25 billion to Nigeria. Nigeria in Diaspora should also be able to vote as they do in every other country in the world. The more the merrier. Yes, democracy is a game of numbers, but our people should have the final say, so the office of the citizen must be as important, if not more than the office of the governor or the president because they are the people who put them in power. Sovereignty still lies in the hands of the people of Nigeria.”
Bakare affirmed that it’s a step that must be taken to move the nation forward, “I’d said it, it’s in the open, the documents are already there, it’s not something I can cover in five minutes. We can do it without shooting any gun. The lecture after lecture after lecture, I have prepared and I’ve made copies available to Mr. President.
“We need to do it, to move this nation forward. The founding fathers of this nation; Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, alongside their entourage in Lancaster House and everywhere, agreed on what type of government Nigeria should have. We must not change the goalpost in the midst of the game.
“We are better off together as a nation than going our different ways. But it must be based on equity, justice, fair play and a rule of law.”
When asked if he had plans to contest the 2023 presidential election, he said he would, only if God and Nigerians want him to.
Bakare added, “Every Nigerian, who is of age and who is not disqualified by any means, is free. I’m a nation builder, if God wants me to do that, and the people of Nigeria will appreciate that, why not? I’m as free as anybody to do anything with my time. I’ve pastored a church for 33 years, now we raise new leaders. I want to focus on nation-building.
“The Office of the President is only one office, there are so many other things we can do as people to support whoever is there to make sure that we do not go into retrogression, but begin to make steady progress as a people. I’ve already communicated clearly, my future plans to Mr. President, and it stays between us.”
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