THE Senior Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, on Sunday berated the Federal Government over the recent killings of Benue State citizens by Fulani herdsmen.
He accused government of being complicit by refusing to vigorously execute policies aimed at preventing the killings even with sufficient warnings.
In his blistering State of the Nation address titled, “It is Time to Renegotiate Our Union,” aired on live television, the cleric, who was running mate to Buhari in the 2011 presidential election, said nothing indicted the Federal Government greater than its failure in one key performance area that ought to be its strength, which is security.
He said the recent killings in Benue, Adamawa and Taraba states by Fulani herdsmen were indications that not only “has the government failed to stop the killings across the country, it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks an issue of communal misunderstanding.”
“The recent killings in Benue State are akin to the last straw that is set to break the camel’s back. Not only has the government failed to stop these killings across the country, it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks ‘an issue of communal misunderstanding’. Worse still, some of these killings have reportedly been carried out in collusion with the military.
“Recently, the Secretary to the Adamawa State Government, Umar Bindir, justified the bearing of arms by the herdsmen but failed to tell where the herdsmen get their guns from and with which government agency these guns are registered.
“Who authorised them to bear arms? Who gave them immunity against Section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act 1990, which prescribes punishment for illegal possession of arms? Who monitors the use of these guns?
“Why have the relevant government agencies failed to act? In particular, why has the name Department of State Services (DSS) become synonymous with the phrase ‘Deliberate Sinful Silence’ (DSS)? Or is it now the ‘Department of Sinful Silence’?
“The Federal Government has become complicit for the following reasons: By not advancing and vigorously executing policies aimed at pre-empting or preventing these killings even with sufficient warnings.
“Despite the antecedents of the marauders, including the recent Adamawa incidents, Mr. President, in his New Year address to the nation, did not consider the menace or the pain of victims of previous attacks worth a mention in his address.
“The stones are crying out from Benue State and every part of the country where herdsmen have slaughtered the innocent in unspeakably barbaric attacks while the government failed to act until there were yet more bodies in morgues.
“By failing to give victims a path to reconciliation and the hope of a united Nigeria. It has been reported, for instance, that as a result of the failure of government to act, there have been reprisal attacks on herdsmen, resulting in a vicious cycle of death and destruction,” Bakare said.
He also gave his verdict on the anti-corruption war: “The ineffectiveness of the anti-corruption war is seen in the loss of crucial corruption cases.
“For instance, in April 2017, the Federal Government lost four high profile corruption cases in 96 hours. These losses are in addition to bizarre developments such as the failure of government to confirm a substantive chairman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”
Bakare equally condemned the President for rejecting the calls for restructuring, which he said was the only solution for the nation’s discontent.
He said “by rejecting the call to restructure our nation in order to bring lasting solutions to these and other signs of sectional discontent, in his address, Mr. President further alienated his government from the voice of reason in relation to the call to restructure Nigeria.
“I totally agree with Mr. President that we need process reforms; otherwise, we would not be appointing dead men to head parastatals, but can process reforms replace foundational structural reforms? Never.
“Let no one confuse the genuine call to restructure the nation with the gimmicks of political opportunists who ride on the restructuring wave for their perceived advantage. Many of them talked the talk but neither walked the talk in the past nor will do so in the future.
“I say to those who have the power to take the decisions and actions necessary to end these atrocities, especially by restructuring the nation, but have failed to do so for political gains, that they are attempting to establish a city by iniquity and there are dire consequences.
“It is time for a democratic revolution. The season for complaints and complacency is over. We must seize this opportune moment to translate our collective national disappointment into a uniquely Nigerian rebirth. To avoid engagement with the powers that have hijacked our collective patrimony is to surrender our national destiny without a fight.
“Our fight to reclaim and renew Nigeria begins now. Registering and obtaining a valid voter’s card must now be a national priority.
“If the 2015 elections were critical to our national survival, the 2019 polls are pivotal to our country’s future development. If power truly belongs to the people, it is time for the silent majority to instigate real and genuine change.
“What is required to kick-start this process is the creation of a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring. This commission is to be headed by a biblical Joseph-type national figure appointed to provide visionary leadership for the process with the support of six zonal commissioners.
“To facilitate the process, the National Assembly will provide the requisite constitutional amendments within the ten years in addition to serving as a monitoring and evaluation clearing house.
“By the 10th year at the latest, the systems, values and structural underlay of the geo-economic transformation will be codified in a new constitutional arrangement. The new constitution will be adopted by the Nigerian people through a referendum.
“The current edifice of state has become a deathtrap. All around are cracks on the wall that originate from the structural foundations. Those cracks are dripping with blood and the stones in the wall are crying out.
“The stones are crying out in every state in the federation where workers’ salaries are unpaid and poverty prevails because States are nothing but institutional and constitutional vegetables on life support from Abuja.
“In his New Year address, President Buhari said: ‘We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities…’
‘’This is a call to return to the foundations of our geopolitical structure. It is a call to renegotiate our union. I stand on the God-inspired pathway to the New Nigeria, which I call the Pragmatic Steps to Restructuring Nigeria (PSRN).
Bakare, who was reported to have said that God told him to run for election, said he did not specifically say God told him to contest in the 2019 elections.
He said: “I did say that, while waiting on God, the Spirit of God said to me: Politics is not over for you. There is still one thing left for you to do: Run for President…I will work it out Myself and make it happen in due course.
“The declaration was not a presidential campaign announcement; it was an invitation to prayers sent out to fellow labourers initiated in our corporate destiny as nation builders.
“Nowhere in that declaration did I mention running for election. ”