I revere my brother, Pastor Tunde Bakare, as a bold, courageous and cerebral Pastor cum politician. On this particular issue, I sharply disagree. Yes, Nigeria may be in a political war, but we should not allow our eyes to be beclouded by the event of the moment.
The cleric said Nigerians should not forget that on May 14, 2013, while declaring a state of emergency in three States, President Goodluck Jonathan said of the activities of terrorists: “These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten its territorial integrity. As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this.”
Yes, the President might have loosely used those words “declaration of war” and threat to “territorial integrity” like someone who has over consumed bottles of liquor not minding the political ramification of his statement or he might have just concluded a political strategy meeting where it was decided that his government must use those words so that a visionary like my brother Pastor may help him by crying out loud to create an opportunity for Jonathan to spend two more years, but we must not fall into the hands of the enemy of progress.
You know, a man gifted with reasons without moral, like many in the leadership positions in Nigeria, is a most dangerous criminal. One more minute of Jonathan after 12 pm on May 29, 2015 is one more minute for Nigerians to spend in inferno. We are suffering and our human values and worth are being constantly devalued.
Pastor Bakare explained that the proposal for suspension of elections is not with a view to giving President Jonathan an avenue for undue tenure elongation “but for the purpose of building a coalition that will bring lasting solutions to our problems.”
Which coalition would he bring for lasting solutions to our problems? What happens to the coalition of Federal Executive Council which consists of the past Presidents, including Interim Head of Government, the Governors, the Ministers and Special Advisers?
How has this coalition of Muslims and Christians been able to build a coalition that will bring lasting solutions to our problems? All they do is pray and pray without patriotic and positive actions.
Yes, God walks with us only when we walk. He has placed within the very structure of this universe certain absolute moral laws. We can neither defy nor break them. If we disobey them, they will break us. The forces of evil may temporarily conquer truth, but truth will ultimately conquer its conqueror.
Pastor Bakare knows better that God does not act unilaterally. So the idea that both the Muslims and Christians in government expect God to do everything leads inevitably to a callous misuse of prayer. For if God does everything, man then asks him for anything, including the proposal for evil to remain in government and God becomes little more than a “cosmic bellhop”.
You give Jonathan an opportunity to form a coalition, he would look for unpatriotic Nigerians, constitute a nuisance coalition and exacerbate our problems. No, Pastor. Lets chase him away now!
First, permit me to digress a bit. Laws are made in Nigeria to criminalize the mindset of Nigerians because most of those in the position of leadership in my country are criminals themselves.
I say this without reservation and apology to any of my friends in government including the unwise Doctor President. How would a Congress of any legislator make a law that if there is a division or crisis in your own political party, that transmits a legal right to any elected official to defect to another party, and the Doctor President signed this into law?
So, if I have some millions that I can throw around knowing full well that I will replace the million in an ill-gotten manner, I can use that money to create crisis in my party then jump into another party. Nigerians must be free to opt out of any “marriage” and must be free to associate.
If a political party believes that it influences the election of any elected official, let it exercise such influence in the next election. Pure and simple! We cannot force someone to remain in a political party that is pouring pepper into the eyes of the electorates.
Secondly, how can we make foolish laws such as pegging campaign expenses in a cash-carrying society, when we know that if a gubernatorial candidate has to bribe enough delegates to secure a ticket, he must spend millions to get the ticket not to talk of a presidential candidate with a minimum of 6,000 delegates, and if you bribe 4,000 out of the delegates with N100,000 that is N4 billion right there.
Then, one has to pray that another money bag does not double or triple the N100,000 for your N4 billion to go down the drain. This is before campaign in 36 States starts, not to talk of cost of your bill boards, salary to campaign workers, vehicles, petroleum, generators, cost of rallies etc.
Ogun State alone has 3,300 polling units; to have two persons to man that poll on the day of each election would require 6,600 poll watchers. If you pay a reasonable amount of N1,000 to each poll watcher that is N6.6 million, not to talk of elections in 36 states.
With that, you must have some prayer warriors to pray that your opponents would not offer your workers double of your money to turn their backs against you right there at the polling booths.
Also, the prayer warriors would be quick to tell you that the Scripture says, Christianity or faith without money is like being dead and buried in the grave. So, by these laws, Nigerians are criminalized.
This is a senseless law made by those who at one time, had spent millions to crookedly win elections in my dear country. My other brother, Senator Chukwumerije wondered aloud about the cost of electioneering in this country. I am not sure if he voted for or against such a law.
Now, let’s go back to the issue at hand bearing in mind my expressed views above. I agree with Pastor Bakare that fighting the political military wing of certain enemies of Nigerians who feel they have been out of power for too long, might be viewed as some sort of war.
This is not the genre type of war that the Constitution envisions. Unless those enemies of Nigeria who concocted that Decree referred to as the Constitution had Boko Haram in mind as at the time of writing the Decree and now want to hide under their clandestine plan to scare the hell out of Nigerians that if they are not in power, there will be no peace.
So the bombing and shedding of blood would be a basis for the non-visionaries to call for the return of governance to that ethnic group. So let’s not play into the hand of Jonathan who already admitted that he is a colossal failure and that his administration created more problems for Nigerians than the problems we had before his imposition. Ojo ti aba ri ibi ni ibi nwole, the Yoruba say. The moment we identify satanic deeds, we must confront them immediately and nip it in the bud. We are in a bad situation that requires confrontation, and that we must do.
Secondly, by the call to postpone elections, we are laying bad eggs and precedence. So if in the future, I feel that the Yoruba have been let out of power for too long, as passionate as I am about the suffering of our people and I start leading the bombing of some remote villages in Sagamu, Egua, Ifonyintedo in Ogun State, Iseyin, Ogbomoso, in Oyo State, Arigidi Akoko, in Ondo State kidnap some Nigerians with the sponsorship of some passionate people like me, would we call for postponement of election that year? Is this the legacy we are going to bequeath to our children? Legacy of cowardice, legacy of transitional government! Haba!
Thirdly, on the issue of attendant crisis should either General Buhari or Jonathan, wins, I urge either groups to bring it on now so we can face and thrash it once and for all. Let’s not postpone the doom day if any is destined for Nigeria .We survived wet e, we survived the Biafran war and June 12. If we are a nation of leaders with wisdom, each time we go through turbulence, we must come out stronger.
On the point of the so called Constitution that the Pastor referred to, as a lawyer, I do not blame him. If he quotes a section of this oligo-military constitution that calls for the National Assembly’s resolution to extend the period of four years, “but no such extension shall exceed a period of six months at any one time.”
Why on earth is Pastor Bakare calling for two years extension for a transitional government to be headed by someone who has been described as “an incompetent and harebrained” ruler in violation of the same section of the Decree that he quotes.
The quoted section of the Constitution requires a maximum extension of six months. Are we now calling for the transitional government for two years to create jobs for the boys? Give them the opportunity to loot again?
Does he think two more years of Jonathan in office would solve this terrorist problem despite Jonathan’s own admission of inability to solve this problem after six years in office? Knowing this immoral and destructively scheming Nigerians the way I know them, doesn’t the Pastor realize that the problem could be instigated to escalate the terrorist act so that somebody else would call for postponement of future election just for the head of transitional government to sit tight in office? Would the transitional government headed by Jonathan satisfy the political reason for the Boko Haram terrorist act?
I genuinely believe that Boko Haram would cease fire on the election days, after our Northern leaders in the PDP would have been able to make Jonathan naked and convince my brothers and sisters in the North that this is our time, let’s not miss it. Bombing could resume, however, if the election is rigged.
So, let’s not postpone the doom day, if destined. Let’s face our problem squarely, eat the bullet if necessary. General Olusegun Obasanjo who created this mess will witness the result of his actions and will lead out of it.
Ogbeni Lanre Banjo, a three-time National Conscience Party gubernatorial candidate in Ogun State, is currently the Ogun State representative in the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria.