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Tunde Bakare: The Prophetic Portrait of Nigeria in Her Later Years






Fellow Nigerians, the theme of this State of the Nation broadcast is: “The Prophetic Portrait of Nigeria in Her Latter Days.”

Let me begin by welcoming you into the Year 2019, a year that holds untold possibilities for our beloved nation.

In the past thirty years, we have stood on this platform at The Latter Rain Assembly, in line with our God-given mandate, to birth timely interventions towards the making of a great nation. I am aware that our engagements with the polity over the years have been keenly followed by many within and outside the shores of our nation. Some have followed with passionate faith and patriotic fervour and others have kept an eye with scepticism and cynicism. Nevertheless, our contributions to the polity from this platform over the last thirty years have been shaped not by changing public opinion but by an unrelenting commitment to the dominion mandate. Therefore, from the priestly to the prophetic and the princely, we have held the fort as nation builders for whom Nigeria is the primary place of assignment.

From inception, we recognised the incontrovertible truth that Nigeria’s greatest problem is a human resource problem and that nation builders are people builders. It is why, from this platform, in line with our priestly mandate, we have deployed God-given tools in raising a purposeful people of integrity, for whom excellence is a non-negotiable value; an assertive, confident and patriotic company of Nigerians in every sector of human endeavour; a people who are uncompromising nonconformists and a radical opposition to corruption.

Having laid the people-building foundation, we then progressed to the prophetic front where we marshalled the divine will against the forces of oppression. It was in the prophetic order that we foresaw and forewarned the major stakeholders in the June 12, 1993 transition saga.

It was in the prophetic order that we became God’s battle-axe against the most brutal military dictatorship in Nigeria’s history.

It was in the prophetic order that we warned the nation regarding the pseudo-democratic transition that the military bequeathed to our nation in 1999.

It was in the prophetic order that we confronted the so-called Third Term Agenda in 2006.5 It was in the prophetic order that we foretold the emergence of “the tender plant from the side of the North, afore prepared before the foundation of the earth to steer Nigeria into her prophetic destiny” and to pilot Nigeria into unprecedented economic growth and development far more miraculous than those of Asian Tigers like Japan; a prophecy that is in the process of being fulfilled right now, in your hearing.

Emerging from the prophetic, our engagement took on a princely dimension by the Year 2009 as we began active deployment of nation-building tools through direct intervention in the political landscape. Since then, it has been our manner of engagement to present State of the Nation addresses at the beginning of every year from this platform at The Latter Rain Assembly.

Indeed, our annual State of the Nation addresses have attracted a following from among the political class, the intelligentsia, the media, and many beloved citizens of our nation.

However, we are not unmindful that there are some who query the potency of such addresses made not from the presidential seat in the statehouse in Aso Villa, nor from a rostrum on the parade grounds of Eagle Square, Abuja, but from this platform at The Latter Rain Assembly, Akilo, Ogba, in Lagos State. I am reminded of the words spoken to Jesus
Christ by His brothers as recorded in John 7:3 & 4 (NKJV): “…Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

Like my Master, Jesus, I have been so accosted by friends, particularly those in the political class, who do not understand why I have not pitched my tent with the political aspirations of their respective candidates as we step into another election season.

Moreover, in view of what has now become known as the twelfth prophecy of 2018 wherein I declared God’s word to me that politics is not over for me yet,8 there are those who wonder why I did not step into the 2019 presidential race as a candidate, and why I have, instead, continued to engage the nation from this platform. I daresay that no other response is more fitting for such friends of mine than the response of my Master to the pressure put on Him by His brothers as recorded in John 7:6-8 (NKJV): “…My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.”

However, for the sake of inquisitive fellow citizens who sincerely question the relevance of our engagement with the nation from this platform rather than from the partisan political arena, I will begin with a panoramic rundown of our God-enabled princely engagements from this platform within the past decade.

Lest we forget, at the beginning of the Year 2010, when our nation was in the iron grip of a power-hijacking cabal, it was from this platform that we began to defreeze social mobility and to mobilise Nigerians in defence of constitutionalism. When our march on the streets of Abuja and Lagos sent shock waves through the polity, it was on this platform that we defended our course of action on Sunday, January 17, 2010 as we refused to cower to the impostors who held our nation to ransom.

In 2011, when the government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan prevaricated over crucial national reforms, particularly the restructuring of our polity, despite the fact that he had benefitted from our march for constitutionalism in 2010, it was from this platform that
we awakened a slumbering electorate. We did so on Sunday, January 2, 2011 when we insisted on “Doing Politics God’s Way” as we declared that year “The Year of the Voter” and made a strong case for the wise use of the VOTE – the Voice Of The Electorate.

Incidentally, contrary to our intention and motivation, and despite my initial hesitation, that same year, our engagement from this platform ushered us into partisan politics as I became running mate to then General Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of the now defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

One year later, when our nation gasped for breath under the stranglehold of a fraudulent subsidy regime, it was from this platform that we enlightened the Nigerian people on Sunday, January 15, 2012, simplifying an opaque patronage system masquerading as petroleum subsidy, an unfortunate malady the nation continues to suffer from
up till now.

In 2013, when our beloved nation remained submerged in the cesspool of organised corruption while the perpetrators of unlimited kleptocracy were left unpunished, it was from this platform that we blew the trumpet for the rescue of the soul of a drowning nation at the State of the Nation broadcast of Sunday, January 13, 2013.

The following year, 2014, a year in which Nigeria marked the centenary anniversary of her existence as an amalgamated entity, our princely engagement in the polity from this platform once again ushered us into more direct intervention in the affairs of our nation.

From being the keynote speaker at the “Nigeria at Centenary” lecture held in honour of my late boss Chief Gani Fawehinmi on January 15, 2014, to being a delegate to the 2014 National Conference, our engagement from the pulpit to the podium that year further turned the spotlight on the New Nigeria narrative.

In 2015, when our nation placed the cart before the horse as we set sail towards elections in the midst of a gathering storm and avoidable Euroclydon,14 it was from this platform on Sunday, January 4, 2015 that we warned against the disastrous trajectory of a presumptuous political class. Four years later, Nigeria is still reeling from the
consequences of rejecting wise counsel.

In 2016, when our national economy staggered under the weight of a recession and suffered a severe shortfall in foreign exchange, even as the promised change was fast becoming a short-change, it was from this platform that we challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to improve currency management as we presented a “Roadmap to Successful Change” at the State of the Nation broadcast of Sunday, January 10, 2016.

In 2017, when the lingering economic downturn pushed Nigerians to the brink of despair and the citizenry became increasingly impatient with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, it was from this platform that we guided the nation on Sunday, January 8, 2017 when we pointed to the future with the eyes of faith and began to
unveil the detailed imperatives of restructuring. 17 In October of the same year, when restructuring became the buzzword on everyone’s lips and Nigerians were torn in different directions regarding the imperatives of restructuring, it was from this platform that we
separated the noise from the voice as we profiled ten schools of thought on restructuring, and unveiled, for the first time, “Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria.”

At the beginning of last year, 2018, when the nation was thrown into mourning by the heinous activities of herdsmen which left the Benue towns of Logo and Goma devastated, it was from this platform that we warned a complacent government of complicity by deliberate sinful silence. Indeed, it was from this platform during the Sunday,
January 14, 2018 State of the Nation broadcast that we demanded a renegotiation of our union and inspired the Nigerian people with the possibilities of a great nation while reaffirming our destined role in the emergence of the New Nigeria.19 Ten months later, on October 7, 2018, from this platform, we became even more explicit in our case for a New Nigeria as we unveiled “Sixteen Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria.”

We can therefore confidently state that, over the past thirty years, we have faithfully executed our God-given mandate to the nation from this platform. Over the past thirty years, we have deployed appropriate tools for appropriate occasions, from prophetic
declarations to confrontational advocacy and from political activism to propositional policy advisory. Over the past thirty years, we have done this consistently, sometimes at the risk of being misunderstood by friends and foes alike. We have been motivated not by wavering
opinions of men but by our unshakeable faith in our national destiny and an unalloyed commitment to seeing that destiny fulfilled.

From the priestly to the prophetic to the princely, our message has been the same: it has been the making of a great nation where righteousness and justice reign; a prosperous nation whose leaders are motivated by service to the people and not just seeking power for self. Fellow citizens of our great nation, we shall not stop until we see the emergence of the Nigeria of our dreams.

Therefore, as a decade winds up in 2019, which, incidentally, is a crucial election year for our nation, I bring you the last January State of the Nation address from this platform in Akilo Road, Ogba, Lagos.

It is the last from this platform because of the major transition that we are about to experience within our community this year as we proceed to our new location, The Citadel. I am confident that our relocation at The Latter Rain Assembly is symbolic of the possibilities that await Nigeria, the possibilities of relocation from the old to a New Nigeria,
a nation that will set the pace in good governance, responsible citizenship, economic transformation, and city infrastructural development.

Salute to the Nigerian Soldier

Having laid the background, it is pertinent at this juncture to state that this address comes a few days after Armed Forces Day. As a fellow soldier, albeit of a heavenly army with an earthly mission, let me use this opportunity to pay a heartfelt tribute to the Nigerian soldiers who have continued to hold the fort with courage and self-sacrifice in the face of an asymmetric confrontation with Boko Haram and other armed enemies of the Nigerian state.

I salute the courage of these heroes who have put their lives on the line in active service to the fatherland. Our condolences go to the families of the soldiers who have lost their lives in battle, from the five airmen who died in the helicopter crash in Damasak at the beginning of this year, to those who were killed in the attacks on the military bases in Jilli, Yobe State and in Garunda, Metele24 and Baga, Borno State.

Let us now stand as we observe a minute of silence in honour of these fallen heroes. (May the souls of our departed soldiers rest in peace. Amen.)

The reported odds faced by the soldiers fighting for our beloved country is a cause for serious concern. While the allegations that our soldiers are forced to confront terrorists with inferior weapons have been denied by the Nigerian Army, these claims must still be thoroughly investigated and acted upon rather than merely dismissed.

Recent news of the loss of territories to Boko Haram27 and recent videos of our soldiers being massacred by terrorists are more potent in the consciousness of the average Nigerian than any denial the military officials can muster. Our military must prove that it is fully
equipped to prosecute this war not just by attempting to win the propaganda war, but by winning on the actual warfront. That is the only way to justify our defence spending over the past decade.

Between 2008 and 2018, N6 trillion has been allocated to the Federal Ministry of Defence.
Between 2012 and 2014, it received a whopping 19.9% of the total budget on average.

Under the current administration, defence has received a significant percentage of the
annual budget. In 2016, for instance, the ministry was allocated N443 billion out of N6.06 trillion; in 2017, N469.8 billion out of N7.44 trillion; and in 2018, N576.4 billion out of N9.12 trillion.

In 2017, N6.8 billion was budgeted for defence equipment, while Operation Lafiya Dole “and other operations of the armed forces” received N78 billion.

With these relatively huge allocations, even with average budget performance, the allegations that our soldiers fight under poor conditions are intolerable.

If we further consider the fact that recurrent expenditure has been fully performed as overhead costs are covered, then it becomes inconceivable that any soldier risking his or her life for the Nigerian state should be owed a dime of his or her allowance.

Even more disturbing is the 2017 investigative report that soldiers in the theatre of war lack basic necessities such as food, uniforms and footwear despite the fact that a portion of their wages is questionably deducted as feeding allowance.

These reports, in addition to the 2018 protests by soldiers deployed in the theatre of war, give cause for concern especially against the backdrop of the recent resurgence of
the terrorists.

The President, the National Security Council, the Ministry of Defence, the Army Headquarters, and the National Assembly Committees on Defence must re-examine the defence architecture, especially the human resource factor, and address every anomaly in
the interest of the vulnerable rather than the powerful. Failure to do this could undo the gains of the war on terror.

The soldiers, on their part, must approach the call of duty with civility and courage; with civility because the reports and allegations of human rights violations by the military are repugnant and unbecoming of the distinguished profession. Their code of conduct
must be influenced by the words of Proverbs 14:31 (MSG): You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless; when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.

In addition, we enjoin them to continue to act with courage, because, in the words of General George S. Patton: “Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.”44 To our soldiers in the theatre of war, you carry the weight of the hopes of a generation on your shoulders. May God replenish your resolve and reward your
courageous resilience.

For those who have died in combat, we owe these heroic patriots the eternal duty of ensuring that they did not die in vain. Not only does the government owe their families adequate welfare packages and the assurance of a decent future, we, the people of Nigeria, for whose sake they laid down their lives, must become soldiers in our own right; we must become soldiers for good governance. At crucial moments such as the coming elections, responsible choices must become our weapons in the theatre of citizen engagement, and
credible leadership must become our banner of victory. We owe the memories of these soldiers a well-governed nation, a nation that is worth their sacrifice, because good governance is the soil upon which patriotism is nurtured, and a nation that is worth dying for must be worth living in.

A Nation Worth Dying For

It was Herbert Hoover who said: “Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight
and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.”

I am of the considered opinion that the apathy of our war-weary soldiers transcends matters of conditions of service or the question of whose weapon is superior between the army and the terrorists. I believe that, more than any other factor, patriotic zeal, backed by
transformational leadership, is the missing element in our nationbuilding experience. It is why, for instance, the underdog army led by George Washington defeated the established British Army in the American War of Independence.

Therefore, the real problem is the absence of a compelling enough reason to lay down one’s life for one’s country. The pertinent question is: What kind of nation will the
Nigerian soldier be willing to pay the ultimate price for, if need be, and what kind of nation do the Nigerian people deserve to live in?

A nation worth dying for must have sacrificial, inspirational leaders. When our country’s lawmakers earn close to $40,000 per month in a nation where 152 million Nigerians live on less than $2 per day; when government officials claim over N241 billion annually as
unaccounted for security votes in a nation that has become the “poverty capital of the world;” when the minimum wage is far from meeting minimal needs and the nation’s workers appear to strike for a living; when a people cannot look to their leaders, or listen to them, or watch them live their lives, and find a reason to look to the future irrespective of the difficulties of today, I highly doubt our young people will consider such a nation worth dying for

A nation worth dying for must value human capital development. When a nation’s tertiary education system is shut down for months such that students who enter for a four-year course invariably make plans for extra years; when our public universities are inundated with dilapidated facilities and antiquated study materials; when doctorate degree holders queue up to be interviewed as truck drivers; when 13.2 million of our young citizens are categorised as “out of school,”54 it is unlikely that our young people will consider such a
nation worth dying for.

A nation worth dying for must have people-centric governmental structures. When large bureaucracies based in Abuja and far removed from the people gulp the lion’s share of the country’s expenses; when the tiers of government that are closest to the people cannot deliver basic goods; when the state government lacks the constitutional powers to provide security for its endangered populace, or to generate income from its resources to improve the lot of its impoverished people; when the local government office in the neighbourhood is nothing but a redundant administrative appendage of distant political forces, rather than a facilitator of community development, I doubt that the people will consider such a nation worth dying for.

A nation worth dying for must have critical infrastructure. When citizens lack basic amenities such as electricity and clean water; and when a nation’s roads, railways and airports require a unique brand of long-suffering; when the cities of other nations provide much higher standards of living than one’s own country, it is very likely that the people of that nation would be more concerned with relocating because they “cannot come and go and die.”

A nation worth dying for must place a premium on the health of its citizens. When a nation’s healthcare system is failing and its hospitals are poorly equipped, such that its hospitals are some of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth55 and children die during childbirth at an alarming rate; when government officials and others who can afford it would rather seek treatment abroad than in the local hospitals, then you can take it to the bank that the people of that nation would scarcely want to die for a country they can hardly bear to give birth in.

A nation worth dying for must prioritise the interests of its people. “America First” is how President Donald Trump puts it. The late Senator John McCain took it a step further: “We are Americans first, Americans last, Americans always.”

When a country is quick to give away its territory to look good before the world rather than staunchly defend its land and people; when a country exports some of its brightest brains and imports the bare necessities60; when a nation cannot stand up to other countries but makes excuses when its citizens are being massacred by xenophobic mobs, it is unlikely that the citizens of that country will consider it an honour to put their lives on the line to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory.

A nation worth dying for must be bound by a strong political ethos that confers on that nation a unifying and integrated identity. When the fabric of a nation is torn apart by the politics of division such that violent clashes, political murders and character assassination are what dominates election periods while issues are relegated to the background; when banditry becomes the synonym for the politics of a nation such that the only factor that unites politicians is the greedy feasting on the so-called national cake; when the political arena is ideologically distorted, such that there is no robust debate on diversity
of strategies to improve the lives of the ordinary people; when corruption and falsehood dominate the political space, with politicians quick to make promises they do not intend to keep, it is most unlikely that the people of that nation would want to lay down their lives for their country.

This is the situation of our nation today. Far beyond the sophistication of our weaponry, as to whether they are inferior or superior to that of the enemy, the underlying issue behind the spate of soldiers losing ground to the enemy is that the Nigerian soldier, like the ordinary Nigerian people, has not inherited a nation worth living or dying for.

This is perhaps a fate even worse than death itself. It is the reason our people, peasants and professionals alike, are looking for the next exit route away from our country, whether via the violent waves of the Mediterranean or armed with a one-way ticket to Canada; it is the reason our people are quick to break the law or discountenance the public interest just to achieve a private end; it is the reason our people are quick to sell their votes65 to the highest bidding politician rather than committing to the rigorous but necessary work of scrutinising candidates and making the best choice based on competence and
character prerequisites. People resort to quick fixes when they have no stake in the community; they are unwilling to pay the price or make sacrifices when they cannot relate to the common interest. In other words, they simply have no compelling motivation to lay down their lives for the public good.

Fellow Nigerians, I want you to know that there is much more to our country than this; more to live for, more to hope for, more to work towards; more to leave as an inheritance for our children’s children.

Together, as a people, we can build a great nation of which posterity will be proud; the kind of nation that will give every Nigerian the confidence to declare, “I am Nigerian!” As I conclude, let me paint a picture of that nation.

It is a nation of servant leaders, where Nigerians at home and abroad, male and female, old and young, the best of the North and the best of the South, from across political parties, can come together in one political family, to provide effective and transformational leadership that will birth the Nigeria of our dreams.

It is a nation in which government is big enough to protect you and small enough to serve you; expansive enough to reach you, and close enough to know you, to touch you, to feel your pulse, to know where the shoe pinches, and to bring solutions straight to your doorstep.

It is a cutting-edge nation with viable federating units that have global relevance and local impact. I am talking about a nation where a strong anti-corruption value system permeates every cadre of leadership, from the federal government to the local governments, and where zero tolerance for corruption is transmitted from the leadership to the people; a nation where there are clear consequences for actions, where lawlessness and disorderliness are met with preventive and punitive measures, and where people are rewarded for honesty and integrity.

The Nigeria of our dreams is a nation of unprecedented economic growth and development, built on geo-economic parameters through regionally focussed fiscal policy and targeted monetary policy; where resources, including agriculture, water resources, solid minerals, oil, and gas are harnessed within six geo-economic zones for national development; a nation where the manufacturing sector is propelled by the fulcrum of maximising regional strengths and where banks and financial institutions are committed to growing local enterprise for global impact.

The Nigeria of our dreams is a nation that prioritises human capital development; a nation that brings the highest quality healthcare close to the people and ensures that healthcare policy is closely linked with the education and innovation thrust at every level of government. It is a nation that competitively educates for its needs; a nation where the
zonal and local governments are allowed to create unique educational experiences and opportunities for their own people so as to harness local opportunities; it is a nation where subnational governments are allowed to use the resources in those areas to fund their unique educational objectives and to attract the best brains from around the
nation, Africa, and the rest of the world to achieve those developmental objectives.

The Nigeria of our dreams is a nation of massive infrastructural development, where government at all levels – the federal, zonal and local – works with the private sector to provide uninterrupted power supply by broadening the national energy mix to include solar, hydro, nuclear, thermal, chemical, oil, natural gas, biomass, wind and other energy sources, based on zonally coordinated policies and comparative advantage; a nation where every part is limitlessly powered even without connecting to the national grid, affording the
federal government the opportunity to export excess electricity to other African countries; a nation with an interconnected network of multimodal transportation systems, laid out to facilitate the enterprising Nigerian spirit.

The Nigeria of our dreams is a land where no one is above the law; where the law applies equally to the rich and the poor; to the president and the petty trader; to the Senator and the janitor; and, I dare say, to the Chief Justice of the Federation and the gateman in a magistrate land without bias, in the interest of justice and accountability, with the
objective of institution building and in the spirit of the New Nigeria.

Note, in addition, that the prosecutors must themselves operate in accordance with due process, with utmost respect for the independence of the judiciary, and in compliance with constitutional provisions on both substantive and procedural matters, knowing that two wrongs, no matter how seemingly well-intentioned, cannot make a right. This ethos
of regard for due process, respect for the rule of law, and reverence for justice over politics, is the spirit of the Nigeria of our dreams.

Furthermore, the New Nigeria is a nation that asserts Nigerian leadership on the African continent; one that is respected across the world; a strong nation that defends the dignity of every individual that carries the Nigerian passport; a powerful nation that protects the
interest of every organisation that is incorporated in Nigeria and does business legally anywhere in the world; a nation whose individual and corporate citizens no nation would dare ill-treat; a hospitable nation that relates to the rest of the world on the basis of mutual respect.

Fellow citizens, the New Nigeria is a nation that gets the national defence and security questions right; a nation that better integrates its diverse military, paramilitary and intelligence agencies into one coordinated unbeatable defence and security machinery; a nation with enhanced intelligence gathering on par with, if not surpassing, the anticipatory precision of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), MI6 and Mossad; a nation with an effective zonal and local security apparatus, with the zonal and local government empowered to truly enforce laws; a nation where a governor will be the chief security
officer of his or her jurisdiction — not just in word, but also indeed with the requisite constitutional powers.

The New Nigeria is a nation that our soldiers will be proud to fight for and to defend with the last drop of blood in them; it is a nation of unmatched patriotism, whose armed forces will attract the best, the brightest, and the fittest, whose soldiers will wear their uniforms with utmost pride, engaging the enemy with civility and courage, willing to put themselves in the line of fire, if need be, just to rescue the Nigerian flag, not to talk of a Nigerian citizen in danger; a nation where no wounded soldier is left behind on the battlefield and no
citizen is left behind in the war against poverty; a nation worth dying for because it is worth living in. That is the kind of nation we must work for in 2019 and beyond.

As we approach the elections, 73 candidates are gunning for the presidency, a seat reserved for only one person. The most prominent candidates have come out with promises as regards how they intend to take our nation to the desired destination. We have heard promises on security, economic reforms, job creation for our teeming youth population, healthcare delivery, infrastructure, social welfare, arts and entertainment, and so on.

We have seen President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defend his scorecard on security, anti-corruption, job creation, infrastructure and social investments. The economic team led by the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has reiterated the government’s gains; we have seen them project the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) as the instrument that can take the country to what they call the “Next Level.”

We have heard the incumbent insist that Nigeria’s current problems were created within
the sixteen years of the previous administration and that, little by little, they are working to rewrite the narrative.On the other hand, we have heard the “Atikulated” side of the contest argue that the sixteen years argument is now stale news.

We have seen former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate,
Peter Obi, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) downplay the achievements of the current government.

We have read the so-called “Atiku Plan,” spanning a competitive and open economic system, public institution reform, reduction of infrastructure deficit, economic diversification, and human capital development. We have also heard Atiku Abubakar’s promise to restructure the polity with a focus on the devolution of powers.

In addition, we have seen a new generation challenging the old order and insisting that Nigerians do not have to choose between six and half a dozen. We have seen Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) project his experience in economic management at national and international levels as he promises better economic management and a geo-economic restructuring of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) has eloquently promised a New Nigeria where the cost of living is reduced, power, security and healthcare are guaranteed, jobs are created, and law and order are maintained.

In addition, we have seen the likes of Omoyele Sowore of African Action Congress (AAC)
crisscross the nation, mobilising the young, especially students, in his drive to take our country back.

However, of the new breed seeking to disrupt the political space, none gives me as much hope for the near future as does my sister, Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), whose candidacy I shared publicly several days before her official
announcement. Her brilliance, experience, sacrificial service to our nation, antecedents at championing and executing pro-people and progood governance reforms, compassionate yet dogged belief in the Nigerian potential, and her faith in the God-ordained plan for Nigeria, are unmatched by any of the other new breed candidates. I salute her for jumping into the fray despite her seemingly limited chances and, as I have said to her in times past, come what may, one day, and that day will come soon, we will fix this nation. One thing is very clear in my mind: with her candidacy, no Nigerian can reasonably say after the election that there was no credible alternative to the status quo in 2019.

Fellow Nigerians, I understand that many are wondering if I am endorsing any candidate. I understand that there are those listening carefully to decipher where I stand. Ladies and gentlemen, I have never minced words as to where I stand. In my address to the nation on Sunday, October 7, 2018 titled “The Road to 2019: Quo Vadis Nigeria?,” I charged you to choose nationhood. I said to you on that occasion: A choice for nationhood has nothing to do…with any political party or the political interest of any of the candidates. To choose nationhood is to put the interest of Nigeria at the heart of our actions and decisions in 2019
and beyond.

Fellow Nigerians, what we need is a political family, a team of patriotic Nigerians committed to one agenda, the restructuring of a united Nigeria, so that we can begin to build the Nigeria of our dreams. In that same speech, I laid out the pathway to achieving this
in the “Sixteen Pragmatic Steps towards Restructuring Nigeria.” I maintain that it is a roadmap that will lead us to our promised land.

If ours is a country that works, if ours is a country with transformational leaders ready to deploy their strengths and staff their weaknesses, if ours is a country that values capacity, competence and character, what we should be doing is creating platforms to harness
the diverse strengths at our disposal, to begin to build a wellstructured, well-governed and well-integrated Nigeria.

It is in this regard that I look forward to a Presidential Commission on National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring, a team of incorruptible Nigerians of unquestionable integrity and bridgebuilding antecedents, endowed with wisdom and judgement, driven by unshaken faith in the essence and possibilities of the Nigerian
nation, who can work with the presidency and the National and State Assemblies towards restructuring a united Nigeria. I believe that, beyond the elections, the future of our nation and its greatness lie in the ability of the presidency to facilitate the emergence of this team
that I call “Team Restructuring.”

For those who care to know, I belong to “Team Restructuring.” Convening such a team has been the nature of my contributions to our nation in the past decade. It was why, in 2009, I brought together a company of nobles, for what we then called “The Dialogue of the
Nobles,” to begin to shape the future of our nation; it was why, in 2010, propelled by a God-given vision, I was privileged to convene a coalition of nation builders that became the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), a group that rose to the occasion at critical junctures and
jolted this nation back to its senses; it was why, in 2010, my wife and I hosted in our home the likes of Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Jimi Lawal, Donald Duke, Nuhu Ribadu, my dear friend Fola Adeola, Jimi Agbaje, Hon. Wale
Oshun, and Yinka Odumakin, arrowheads we sought to position to begin to reshape Nigeria; it was why, after much hesitation, I accepted to be running mate to then General Muhammadu Buhari in the 2011 elections as we ran on the promise of a restructured Nigeria – the number one item in the CPC manifesto; it was why I accepted to be a
delegate to the 2014 National Conference convened by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a conference at which we, by God’s grace, sponsored the “Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Integration” that was unanimously adopted by the 492 delegates
from across the nation.

Fellow Nigerians, beyond the elections, this is what our nation needs: a uniting force that can rally our diverse strengths around a common narrative, towards a common objective, to achieve a common vision – The Nigeria of Our Dreams – and through a common strategy – the Sixteen Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria. After all is
said and done, may Nigeria win, no matter who wins or loses in this year’s elections.

After the elections, we have a nation to build together. I am reminded of the words of Anwar al-Sadat: “There can be hope only for a society which acts as one big family, not as many separate ones.”81 With our zero-sum game and winner-take-all-politics, we could be losing the ideas, the brilliance, the institutional memory, and all the strengths required to build a nation. But when, beyond the elections, the Buharis, the Atikus, the Moghalus, the Ezekwesilis, the Durotoyes, the Sowores and the like come together to minimise our weaknesses and maximise our strengths, as one political family, with one agenda – nationhood – we can shape a new nation beyond 2019. That is what Team Restructuring is all about and that is the climax of my message on this platform in this final state of the nation broadcast – The CanDo spirit that accompanies Restructuring for a United Nigeria.

This is a new kind of “can-do spirit.” It is the word “can” with two “n’s”: CA-N-N. It is the call to Create A New Nigeria (CANN) and the message is simple: “Divided we can’t, together, we CANN” – Divided, we can’t, together, we Create A New Nigeria.

Fellow Nigerians, if you believe in the New Nigeria, if you believe that we can surmount the obstacles that face us as a nation and build a great nation, if you believe that we can rewrite the Nigerian story and create a great nation that will amaze humanity and inspire posterity, if you believe that we can Create a New Nigeria, one that our young people will be willing to live in, to live for, and, if need be, to die for, then stand with me on this day, as part of a new political family, a new breed without greed, a radical opposition to corruption, a people of excellence, bound by a common purpose, inspired by a common
destiny, driven by a powerful creed: Together, We CANN.

Thank you for listening; God bless you, and God bless Nigeria.

Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare
Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly (The LRA);
Convener, Save Nigeria Group

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Diezani Madueke Drags EFCC, AGF to Court over False, Injurious Publications, Seeks N100bn Damages




By Eric Elezuo

A former Minister of Petroleum during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has brought the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation as first and second defendants respectively, through a Writ of Summons before a Federal Capital Territory High Court, demanding the appearance of the duo in court with a statutory 14 days period, or judgment may be given to the claimant in their absence.

The commandment was given in Suit number C4/6273/23, and dated May 26, 2023 with Mrs. Alison-Madueke as the claimant and the duo of EFCC and AGF as defendants.

The former Petroleum Minister is praying the court to declare certain publications “authored by the Defendant under the supervision of the 2nd Defendant and widely published by the 1st Defendant, is false, malicious, injurious and intended to lower the reputation and integrity of and did indeed lower the reputation and integrity of the Claimant in the estimation of right thinking members of the society within and outside Nigeria and also brought the Claimant into public ridicule, odium, contempt, derision and obloquy.”

Alison-Madueke also sought an order, among many orders “directing the Defendants jointly and severally to pay to the Claimant the sum of N100,000,000,000.00 (100 billion naira) only as damages for the false, injurious, malicious and libelous publications against the Claimant in the 1st Defendant’s publishing platform, and at the instance of both the 1st and the 2nd Defendants.”

The publications according to the claimant were dated from 2017 till 2021, and appeared in prominent national dailies including print and online.

The claimant, in proving the falsehood of the publications, said that the defendants had means and opportunities to verify the truth, but chose not to do so.

“The Defendants had the means and opportunities of verifying the truth or otherwise of the offensive publications, but failed to do so and were motivated in making the offensive publications by the desire to increase their public profile and perception, and to bring the estimation of the Claimant into contempt, odium and ridicule in the eyes of an average Nigerian.

“The publications have greatly prejudiced and injured the Claimant and caused her reputational damage, loss of goodwill, and confidence by her political associates and professional colleagues, whom all of now shun and keep their distance from her as a common thief and corrupt public officer,” the Summons revealed.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke was Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum till 2015 when the Jonathan’s administration left office. She left for England shortly after to treat severe ailment, and has been in England ever since. Attached are some of the documents of the Summons.

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Muhammadu Buhari: Eight Years of the Good, the Bad, the Ugly




By Eric Elezuo

The tense atmosphere prevalent in the nation today has proved that the fanfare, flamboyancy and tangible joy that heralded the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 are no longer in vogue. On the lips of most Nigerians is the expression ‘thank God it’s finally come to an end’ with different persons expressing themselves in different ways, but each coming to terms with the meaning.

In barely 24 hours, the eight years administration of Nigeria’s leader will come to an end; glorious or inglorious depends on the side of the divide the particular Nigerian or interest group is speaking from. To many, it has been an eight years of nostalgia, to others, it was an eight years of irreparable mistake. But the truth remains that the eight years, counting from May 29, 2015 to May 29, 2023, has remained a watershed in the history of Nigeria. Without an iota of doubt, a lot has happened, ranging from the good, the bad, the ugly and in fact the very ugly.

In 2013, when it was believed that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was becoming rudderless, clueless, and practically heading to nowhere, a strong anti-government group ostensibly led by the Senator Bola Tinubu, rose, and galvanised a huge followership to cast aspersion on the incumbent with a view to dethroning him. The group, which cut across many parties in the country, including the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) sought the endorsement of Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate, being touted as the face of the north, and erroneously believed to be a ‘saint’ in the corruption index.

A columnist wrote: “For the past eight years of Buhari’s administration have been an unmitigated failure; a monumental waste of time, of resources, and of the hopes and aspirations of a nation and a people. True stewardship is leaving a place better than one found it. But Buhari is leaving Nigeria far worse than he found it in 2015.”

From many quarters, observers have said that Buhari had an opportunity to better his first coming in 1984, but flopped the chance with a performance they believe is below average.

But how did the Buhari administration fare? In a Sunday morning farewell broadcast, the president examined his stewardship, and presented as follows:

My fellow Nigerian brothers, sisters and friends of Nigeria. 

2. I address you today, in my last assignment as a democratically elected President of our great and well-endowed nation, with a deep sense of gratitude to God, a great deal of appreciation to the Nigerian people and a modest sense of fulfilment. 

3. Today we mark and celebrate another peaceful transition of power from one elected government to another in our steady march to improve and sustain Nigeria’s democracy. 

4. This year we witnessed the most keenly contested Presidential Elections since the first Republic and this demonstrates that our democracy is getting better and more entrenched with each election. 

5. We must as a nation improve and sustain gains we make in the electoral process, on an incremental basis for Nigeria to take its rightful place among Nations. 

6. Our democracy provides for, allows and encourages seeking redress for perceived injustices, enabling some candidates and political parties that did not agree with the results to go to court. 

7. Irrespective of the outcome of the various cases, I urge all parties involved to accept the decision of our courts and join hands to build a better Nigeria. 

8. I salute the doggedness and resilience of all the Presidential Candidates and their political parties for believing in our judicial system by taking their grievances with the election results to court. 

9. In the course of the campaigns, we had argued and disagreed on how to make Nigeria better but we never disagreed or had any doubts that Nigeria has to be better. 

10. As your President, I call on all of us to bring to bear the strength of our individualism, the power of our unity, the convictions of our beliefs to make Nigeria work better and together with one spirit and one purpose. 

11. To my brother, friend and fellow worker in the political terrain for the past ten years – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu -, I congratulate you on the realisation of your dream, which was propelled by a burning passion to put Nigeria amongst the leading nations of the world.  

12. You have indeed worked for this day and God has crowned your efforts. I have no doubt that your passion for excellence, reliance on competence, fairness in relationships, commitment to equity, loyalty to the country and desire for Nigeria to be globally relevant would come through for you, under God’s guidance, as you lead our country to levels higher that I am leaving.   

13. You are the best candidate among all the contestants and Nigerians have chosen well. 

14. The last eight years have been an exciting experience in my desire and commitment to see a Nigeria in which public goods and services are available, and accessible within a united, peaceful and secure nation. 

15. Fellow Nigerians, on the strength of your overwhelming support for me and my political party, I started this journey with a great deal of promise and expectation from you. I never intended to be just politically correct but to do the correct things that will make meaningful impact on the lives of the common Nigerian. 

16. This high expectation was not misplaced because, like the ordinary Nigerian, I had grown tired of watching the country progressively moving away from the path of correctness. 

17. To ensure that our democracy remains resilient and our elected representatives remain accountable to the people, I am leaving behind an electoral process which guarantees that votes count, results are credible, elections are fair and transparent and the influence of money in politics reduced to the barest minimum. And Nigerians can elect leaders of their choice. 

18. We are already seeing the outcome of this process as it provided an even playing field where persons without any political God-Father or access to money defeated other well-resourced candidates. 

19. The Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to the various strategies put in place to ensure that our economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns. 

20. You would all recall the supply chain disruptions and economic downturn that the world witnessed between 2020 and 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deftness of our response to the pandemic still remains a global best practice. 

21. Furthermore, we increased the ability of the poor and rural Nigerians to earn a living, provided more food for millions in our villages and gave our women opportunities to earn a living. 

22. Young men and women in urban centres were also supported to put their skills into productive use. Our administration also provided an enabling environment for the private sector to engage in businesses for which their return on investments is guaranteed. 

23. The private sector proved a strong partner in our drive to build a resilient and sustainable economy as evidenced by the growing number of turn-key projects in various sectors of the economy. 

24. In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results. Some of the measures led to temporary pain and suffering for which I sincerely apologised to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the over-all good of the country. 

25. Mindful of the need to ensure adequate infrastructure to drive economic growth, we completed age-long projects and processes notably amongst which are the Petroleum Industry Act, completion of some power projects, completion of the second Niger bridge and various important roads linking cities and states. 

26. Our battle to ensure that all Nigerians live in a safe and secure environment has achieved considerable results. As I complete my term in office, we have been able to reduce the incidences of banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other criminal activities considerably. 

27. To sustain the gains made so far, I call on all Nigerians to be more vigilant and support the security agencies by ensuring that our values defined by being your brothers’ keeper govern our actions. 

28. Up-till now, I still grieve for our children still in captivity, mourn with parents, friends and relatives of all those that lost loved ones in the days of the senseless brigandage and carnage. For all those under unlawful captivity our Security Agencies are working round the clock to secure their release unharmed. 

29. Fellow Nigerians, you know how dear the desire in my heart is, to rid the country of corrupt practices that had consistently diminished our efforts to be a great country. 

30. I did pursue this commitment relentlessly, in spite of the expected push back. I am happy that considerable progress had been made in repatriating huge sums of money back to the country and also taken over properties illegally acquired from our common wealth. 

31. To improve service delivery, we began the implementation of a number of reforms aimed at producing an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-oriented (EPIC) Federal Civil Service and the results are beginning to show. 

32. On the international scene, Nigeria’s influence continues to grow as exemplified by notable Nigerians occupying headship and leadership positions in renowned global bodies. 

33. Our democracy is built on and continues to thrive on the principles of separation of powers. The leadership and members of the National Assembly deserve my appreciation for their patriotism which did not detract from their roles as a check to the executive arm.

34. I also want to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to a good number of Nigerians who provided their support and encouragement to help me navigate the exciting journey in moving Nigeria forward. 

35. I cannot and will not forget the millions who prayed for me during my illness in my first term of office. I am constantly praying for you and for Nigeria to thrive in peace.

36. As I retire home to Daura, Katsina State, I feel fulfilled that we have started the Nigeria Re-Birth by taking the initial critical steps and I am convinced the in-coming administration will quicken the pace of this walk to see a Nigeria that fulfils its destiny to be a great nation. 

37. I am confident that I am leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015. 

38. I thank you all. And may God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Buhari administration has however received knocks from a good number of quarters, which believed that his administration was the worst in the history of the nation. According to the outgoing governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, Buhari performed abysmally low, and should be told.

In his opinion, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Chief Bode George, noted that in all sectors of the country, the Buhari’s administration has not impacted positively the lives of Nigerians.

“My personal assessment is that he failed, not completely in every sector, but if you do an examination and say you must have a minimum of 33 per cent, then you can go to the next class, but they did not attain that 33 per cent.

“I can give them maybe about 5 per cent, even the 5 per cent requires a lot of retrospection.

“So it is very disheartening and heartbreaking that he failed in his number one job, which was to guarantee security of lives and property.

“You know when he was coming in, Buhari told us, ‘I would fight corruption, I will secure the lives and properties of the people, I will do this, I will do that’.

“So, let’s put those promises now into his departure, because that’s what will be written on the pages of history. Whatever a leader does during his time is on the pages of history,” he said.

For Senator Shehu Sani, Buhari granted waivers to the rich and impoverish the poor, closing the borders for those who import bags of rice on motorcycles and permitting those who use the ships.

“He led the country without any economic direction. He presided over a Government that failed to secure the lives of Nigerians; 63k dead, 3m IDPs & 366k refugees in neighbouring countries,” he tweeted.

“He failed to restructure as he promised. He granted waivers to the rich & impoverished the poor. He closed the borders for those who import bags of rice on motorcycles and permitted those who use the ships.

“He built magical pyramids that disappeared after three days. He left incomplete projects with huge debts to service for decades.

“He enabled, enriched & reinforced a cabal for 8 years. He appointed & retained failures and rewarded them with extensions. He was weak in taking decisions & runway when it’s tough.

“He has no house in London but made London his home. He left behind record inflation, record devaluation, record unemployment, record fall in GDP, record figures of poverty and record plunder of state resources.

“He left behind a nation with 60m people suffering from mental illnesses. He is leaving behind the health workers on strike. He set up traps for the next Government in order to make his own look better,” Sani said.

Also assessing the eight years of the Buhari administration, an aide to PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Demola Olanrewaju, said: “APC was voted in 2015 on the promise of change, and APC got and effected a change of promise”.

He added that “nobody attaches credibility to promises made by politicians anymore because of the inability of this administration to keep its promise”.

“We must cast our mind back to the promises made by APC in 2015 en route to taking over from the PDP. I think it’s quite obvious that if you look at those promises and the reality on the ground today, the APC has simply not fulfilled its promises. Buhari has simply not fulfilled the promises that brought him into power,” he said.

“The government came in with high hopes that began to be dashed gradually.

“There was a sense of Buhari’s administration not being a reflection of any other administration simply because APC had criticised the previous government for some of the things that they turned around to do; in terms of the integrity of elections, insecurity, and ideas on how to make Nigeria work.

“There were also attempts by this administration to distance itself from its own promises. Buhari promised ‘restructuring’ when he got into power, and he said he did not understand what restructuring means anymore.

“Basically, APC was voted in 2015 on the promise of change, and APC effected a change of promise. Based on that, I think the Buhari administration has not lived up to the billing of its promise.”

On his part, Oluseyi Olufemi, a data journalist, said while the Buhari administration ranked high in some aspects of state management, the government failed in economics and human rights issues.

“In terms of economics, that was a greater decline. The Buhari administration scored the lowest. Things have gotten worst than they used to be,” he said.

“In terms of the number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), that increased drastically also under Buhari compared to other governments. Human rights abuse was also worse.”

The way it is, failed or succeeded, Buhari is on his way out, and this is the era of Senator Bola Tinubu if the cases in court do not yield anything positive. The question is not is how would Tinubu better the wrongs committed by the Buhari administration, especially when he had said he would continue where the outgoing administration stop.

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76th Cannes Film Festival Ends with Bang




The stars on parade at 76th Festival de Cannes


By Michael Effiong

The colour, the glamour, the style and class of the 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival ends today with a big bang.

Festival de Cannes, the film industry’s most prestigious festival will take place at 8:30 pm and will be broadcast live on France 2 and internationally on Brut.

The Jury, presided over by director Ruben Östlund and including director Maryam Touzani, actor Denis Ménochet, writer/director Rungano Nyoni, actress/director Brie Larson, actor/director Paul Dano, writer Atiq Rahimi, director Damián Szifron and director Julia Ducournau, will select the winners from the 21 films in Competition this year.

Actress Anaïs Demoustier, President of the Jury, will hand out the Caméra d’or award to the best first film. Actress Stacy Martin and director Ildikó Enyedi, President of the Short Film and La Cinef Jury, will award the Palme d’or for short films.

Actor Orlando Bloom will hand out the Jury Prize. Actor Song Kang-ho, last year’s winner of the Best Performance by an Actor for Broker and actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi, last year’s winner of the Best Performance by an Actress for Holy Spider, will award the Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor Prizes respectively.


Actor John C. Reilly, President of the Un Certain Regard Jury, will award the Best Screenplay Prize, while Pete Docter, Creative Director of Pixar Studios, will present the Best Director Prize.


The Festival de Cannes will also be honored by the exceptional presence tonight of legendary filmmaker Roger Corman, who will present the Grand Prix alongside virtuoso Quentin Tarantino.


Finally, the prestigious Palme d’or will be presented by the formidable and inspiring Jane Fonda.


The Closing Ceremony will mark the end of the 76th Festival de Cannes, and will be followed by the screening of Peter Sohn‘s film Elementary in the Grand Théâtre Lumière.


The 21 films competing for the Palme d’or this year are : Firebrand by Karim Aïnouz, Asteroid City by Wes Anderson, Rapito (Kidnapped)(Kidnapped) by Marco Bellocchio, Les Filles d’Olfa (Four Daughters)(Four Daughters) by Kaouther Ben Hania, L’Été dernier (Last Summer) (Last Summer) by Catherine Breillat, Kuru Otlar Ustune (About Dry Grasses)(About Dry Grasses) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Le Retour (Homecoming) by Catherine Corsini, The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, Club Zero by Jessica Hausner, May December by Todd Haynes, Monster by Kore-Eda Hirokazu, Kuolleet Lehdet (Fallen Leaves)(Fallen Leaves) by Aki Kaurismäki, The Old Oak by Ken Loach, Il Sol dell’ avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow)(A Brighter Tomorrow) by Nanni Moretti, La Chimera by Alice Rohrwacher, Black Flies by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, Banel e Adama by Ramata-Toulaye Sy, La Passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Pot-au-Feu) (The Pot-au-Feuby Tran Anh Hùng, Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall) (Anatomy of a Fallby Justine Triet, Jeunesse (Le Printemps) (Youth (Spring))(Youth (Spring)) by Wang Bing, Perfect Days by Wim Wenders.

The Closing ceremony, usually a wonderful evening to behold will be broadcast in English and French by Brut.

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