by Ibrahim Faruk
Pastor Tunde Bakare is a man who wears many caps. He was the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 elections and is also the firebrand pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly and the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG).
As convener of one of the most influential pressure groups in Nigeria’s recent political history, Pastor Tunde Bakare has had cause to speak on various issues including the absence of late President Yar’Adua during the period of his illness, the removal of fuel subsidies and the Occupy Movement protests as well as the state of the nation.
On Sunday, Bakare spoke at a press conference in Lagos in defense of former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the self-styled ‘ruffler of feathers’ regarding the position of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on recent controversial tweets by el-Rufai.
Bakare faulted the position of CAN who castigated the former Minister, saying it was only diverting attention from grave issues affecting the country.
He said, “It is rather unfortunate that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
that should bring understanding to simple matters like this have chosen to confirm its description by the Catholic Church as an arm of the government in power.”
“CAN also decided to fan the propaganda of agents of the administration that el-Rufai is a bigot for a statement that did not originate from him and whose meaning should be clear to non-mischievous persons.”
He urged CAN to advise the government rather than unwittingly giving the impression that it was in tandem with some of the policies of government that have impacted negatively on the people.
Adding his two cents on the challenge by former minister of Education and Vice President (Africa) World Bank, Obiageli Ezekwesili to the Federal Government, the preacher urged the Federal Government to make a coherent and convincing response to the allegations against it. Ezekwesili had accused the Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan administrations of squandering billions of dollars that were left in the treasury by the Obasanjo administration.
In his words, “Rather than giving a lucid, reasoned and matured response to Dr. Ezekwesili, the Federal Government through its spokespersons went into all manner of tirades against her person, virulently attacking the messenger while ignoring the message.”
On the proposed merger of major opposition parties in the country, Bakare’s gave conditional support
to the current merger arrangement being worked out and stated that he remained committed to it, only if the motive behind it was altruistic and aimed towards meeting the
problems afflicting the country.