APRIL 5, 2021
By Robert Egbe
The General Overseer of the Citadel Global Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday flayed the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for what he described as treating the symptoms of the country’s foundational problems rather than the causes.
He warned that Nigeria was being dangerously pulled apart because the government had engaged in honest, but cosmetic efforts to solve its two fundamental problems of nationhood and statehood.
According to him, the country, buckling under insurgency, insecurity, corruption, secessionist threats and unemployment – was in a state of emergency, which only restructuring can reverse.
Bakare, who was Buhari’s running mate during the 2011 presidential election, reflected on National Security this in a statement “The Conspicuous Handwriting on the Wall,” during his church’s Easter Sunday service.
“I am compelled to speak out because this is not the Nigeria General Muhammadu Buhari and I had dreams to create when he invited me to be his running mate in 2011. I am compelled to speak out because the state of the nation does not represent the Buhari I knew when we took that solemn journey towards rebuilding Nigeria.”
The cleric recalled that in his first term in office, the President “summed up his election campaign promises in three pivotal agendas, namely: security, anti-corruption and economic diversification with a focus on job creation,” which provided an opportunity for the administration to address the country’s “fundamental” and “foundational” issues.
Bakare said: “However, the first term saw the Buhari administration grapple with the collapse in oil prices and Nigeria’s first recession in about twenty-five years. But, despite the false starts, the administration succeeded in bringing Nigeria out of recession and made some gains in security, anti-corruption and job creation….
“However, laudable as these achievements are, the current state of the nation is a clear indication that these efforts have been insufficient in dealing with our national problems; they have been unable to address the underlying problems of the Nigerian nation. At best, these efforts bought the administration some time to stabilise the nation’s condition from a volatile state, as pain relievers can help stabilise a patient in critical condition so that the underlying condition can be treated.
“The major limitation of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been the failure to appreciate the fact that the problems of Nigeria are more deeply rooted than these honest efforts can reach, and that what is required is a holistic and systematic approach to governance.
“Unfortunately, after winning re-election in 2019, rather than do a deep dive to address the fundamental causes of our national malady by dealing with the root causes of insecurity, corruption and joblessness, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari decided to treat more symptoms by broadening its agenda. The president’s Next Level Agenda widened the focus from a three-point to a nine-point agenda.”
Paraphrasing the words of W. B. Yeats popularised by Chinua Achebe, Bakare described the nation as being in a state where “things are falling apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon our land.”
He lamented that “years after the government assured Nigerians that Boko Haram had been ‘technically defeated,’ we are once again confronted with entire villages being overrun by terrorists…While I commend the bravery of our armed forces, the worsening security situation is an indication that our approach to security governance is simply superficial and inadequate to deal with the root causes of the problem.”
Bakare said the “start-up kidnap industry has secured funding and has now scaled”, adding that if schools “degenerate into kidnap hotbeds on this administration’s watch, not even the school feeding programme can encourage over 10 million out-of-school children to enrol in a school.”
Bakare warned that if urgent, “decisive action is not taken, insecurity may be the second-term curse of the current administration.”
The priest advised President Buhari to restructure the country from “a three-pronged perspective targeted at his administration’s three-point agenda, namely: security, economy and anti-corruption.”
According to him, those opposing restructuring are enemies of the country, adding that restructuring is not an attack on the Nigerian state, but a way to save it.
He said: “On security, the president must intensify the clampdown on terrorism and banditry by expanding support to the Armed Forces in terms of technology, armoury, logistics, prompt action on military intelligence, as well as inspirational leadership to sustain the morale of the newly appointed service chiefs.
“Beyond these, the devolution of policing powers to the subnational governments must be prioritised. State governments must be empowered to form local police forces and to provide cutting edge training and equipment for these forces. The states may be further empowered for zonal coordination of such state policing systems where necessary.
“The president may delegate the responsibility of designing and executing this security governance transition to the National Security Council, with the National Security Adviser and the Attorney-General of the Federation driving the process…”
On the economy, Bakare suggested power devolution, urging Buhari to “prioritise the devolution of the governance of key geo-economic sectors to the sub-nationals towards geo-economic diversification.
He stressed: The states may then be supported to form zonal economic blocs. In this regard, the president may delegate the detailed policy and legislative agenda to the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the vice president. The resulting president-sponsored bill may then be sent to the National and State Assemblies in line with the provisions of the Constitution.”
Bakare also said the anti-corruption war cannot be truly won “by the force of prosecution” alone.
He said: “This is why we need to bring the Nigerian people together into one unifying national agenda. To this end, the president may institute, by executive order, a vehicle in the form of a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring or Rebirth, however so named, the details of which I have presented to him since the commencement of his first term in office,” Bakare added.
SOURCE: THE NATION