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Interviews Interviewed Guest: Pastor TUNDE Bakare
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Pastor Tunde Bakare, Nuhu Ribadu and Jide Adeniji
 

AN INTERVIEW WITH Pastor TUNDE Bakare ACCOMPANIED BY MR YINKA ODUMAKIN IN WASHIGTON, DC NigerianNews Interview by Dr Adeola Molajo

As a Nigerian, you feel diminished every time. Fifty years after independence, we still do not have a political structure that can promote unity and national development while also promoting our cultural diversity. Good governance continues to elude us. Corruption is a major factor in the failure of leaders to govern properly. Let us be frank with each other as Nigerians, we lack good leadership skills. Our society is getting increasingly unsecured and citizens are increasingly under siege at the hands of criminals. If we do not respond proactively to this problem, anarchy and a complete breakdown of law and order are just around the corner.

Dr. Tunde Bakare was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria on November 11th 1954. He studied law at the University of Lagos between 1977 and 1980 and after being called to the Bar in 1981 and following his NYSC, he practiced law with Gani Fawehinmi Chambers and Rotimi Williams & Co. He established his own law firm; Tunde Bakare & Co (El-Shaddai Chambers) in October 1984.In May 1988 and at the peak of his legal career,  he succumbed to spiritual calling and  founded The Latter Rain Assembly (End-Time Church) and is currently the Serving Overseer of the church.

 

 
L-R Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Pastor Bakare, Mrs Bakare, Ambassdor Adefuye,
Prof. Bolaji Aluko, Pastor Dayo Adeoye, Pastor Jide Adeniji

In 2007, he established the International Centre for Reconstruction and Development (ICRD); a knowledge industry/think-tank devoted to re-engineering the social, economic and political landscape of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. Dr. Tunde Bakare is the Convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG); a coalition of pro-democracy groups and individuals with a clear mandate to promote political knowledge and participation of the Nigerian citizens through strategic activities.

Dr. Bakare was a guest lecturer at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday November 3, 2010. He had aptly titled his lecture: "Pulling Nigeria From the Brink". That was where NNEWS caught up with him and Yinka Odumakin, another founding member of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and its spokesperson. 

Yinka Odumakin was born 44 years ago in Ile-Ife, Osun State,Nigeria. He attended  Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-ife where he graduated in 1989 with B.A (Hons) English Studies. He thereafter did his one year National Youth Service at Ogun State College of Education, Ijebu-ode where he was offered automatic employment for outstanding performance.


The Town Hall Meeting was followed by a group photograph with the visiting Pastor Bakare,
Mrs Bakare and Mr Yinka Odumakin


He was very active in the pro-democracy movement in Nigeria following the annulment of June 12 presidential elections working within the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and the Joint Action Committee of Nigeria(JACON) .
In the last 11 years of civil rule in Nigeria, he has been the spokesperson for the Pan Yoruba socio-political organization,Afenifere .

After listening to a two-hour lecture in one of SAIS’ classrooms, NNEWS had its fill of school rooms but had not fulfilled that day’s mission of speaking with Dr. Bakare and Mr. Odumakin in an environment bereft of a crowd. Fortunately, the two men and Mrs. Bakare had also had their fill of a crowd and were anxious to return to their hotel rooms. We left the madness of Washington DC’s Dupont Circle and settled in the quiet of DC’s Woodley Park and the Omni Shoreham hotel’s dining room. During a lazy ninety minutes of nibbling and talking, Dr. Bakare answered without hesistation all the questions put to him.  


L-R Pastor Tunde Bakare, Nuhu Ribadu and Pastor Jide Adeniji

Molajo: Nigeria has just celebrated fifty years of independence. What do you see as the achievements and the pitfalls of the nation?

Bakare: I have benefited a lot from the entity called Nigeria. It has afforded me a good education. I am one of the grateful recipients of Obafemi Awolowo’s free education initiative. I have also tried to pay Nigeria back for the wonderful gifts it has bestowed upon me as one of its citizens. This is the reason for a schiolarship program which I initiated in 1985 and entirely funded from my own resources. On the other hand, Nigeria hinders and diminishes great potential. As a Nigerian, you feel diminished every time. Fifty years after independence, we still do not have a political structure that can promote unity and national development while also promoting our cultural diversity. Good governance continues to elude us. Corruption is a major factor in the failure of leaders to govern properly. Let us be frank with each other as Nigerians, we lack good leadership skills. Our society is getting increasingly unsecured and citizens are increasingly under siege at the hands of criminals. If we do not respond proactively to this problem, anarchy and a complete breakdown of law and order are just around the corner.

Molajo: Seventeen years after the annulment of an election, the emergence of NADECO and the death of Basorun M. K. Abiola, could you try to assess the nation retrospectively.

Bakare: Please remember that in those days, the entire nation was tired of military rule. In addition, we were all very happy with the candidacy of Basorun M. K. Abiola. He had his fingers on the pulse of the nation and could articulate the needs of each stakeholder. However, Nigeria is an insane society crippled by systemic failures of every variety. Also, that election was the fairest we have ever conducted in that nation. Therefore, you can understand why the whole country erupted when they were denied the victory which they had worked so hard for i.e., the emergence of MKO as the civilian president-elect of Nigeria.

Molajo: Having said all that, do you think that MKO could have delivered to the diversity of constituents that embraced his candidacy?

Bakare:  Yes. In fact, not only did he make promises to the electorate on many issues, he also laid out in great detail how each solution would be implemented. Nigeria was thrown into the abyss when Babaginda and the military annulled MKO’s victory at the ballot box. 

Molajo: Without any bias contemplated, who then would you consider to be most helpful to the development of the Southwest? I mean without attention to magnanimity and perception by the constituents of Awolowo, Abiola, and Obasanjo.

Bakare: Well, I can say categorically that Obasanjo is the spoiler of the three. Don’t forget the following facts and chronologically:

Obasanjo took over from Adekunle on the war front.
Obasanjo handed power to Shagari.
Obasanjo took power from Abdulsalam.

Definitely the worst of the three leaders. The events I have just enumerated have philosophical implications as you can see. Remember the old adage i.e., abo oro ni a nso fun omoluwabi,

Molajo: Wole Soyinka. Has he enhanced or diminished the influence of the democracy movement?

Bakare: You’ll have to pose the question directly to him so that he might explain himself.

Molajo: Is Wole Soyinka in touch with the pulse of the grassroot?

Bakare: No. His friends are the elite of Nigerian society.
 

 

 


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