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Pastor Tunde Bakare @T_Bakare
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Fellow Nigerians,
Let me begin by, once again, wishing our beloved country Happy 58th Independence Anniversary #SOTNB18
Speaking fifty-eight years ago as he took the oath of office, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa said:
“…I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well-built upon firm foundations.” #SOTNB18
Through the decades, those foundations have been battered by waves of ethnic insurrections, militancy and religious crises. #SOTNB18
Again and again, those foundations have been pummelled on all sides by the storms of economic downturn raging through depression, recession, extreme poverty and appalling living standards.#SOTNB18
In more recent times, those foundations have been buffeted by the gale of terrorism, by the floods of mass kidnappings, and by the destructive hurricane of criminal herdsmen and cattle rustlers. #SOTNB18
In addition, over a period of nearly six decades and even before, those foundations have been compromised by the tsunami of corruption. #SOTNB18
These turbulent episodes have left our dear country holding on for dear life through the innumerable twists and turns on our journey to nationhood. #SOTNB18
However, we must also see the other side of our story so far. The fact that we have survived these upheavals as one nation is worth an outpouring of thanksgiving to God. #SOTNB18
We have survived situations that have ripped other nations apart; we have held on as one nation despite our challenges. #SOTNB18
These narrow escapes not only testify to the enduring strength of the divine purpose for our nation; they also attest to the tenacity of the Nigerian spirit – the never say die Nigerian spirit. #SOTNB18
We are survivors! We are optimists! We are go-getters! We are not quitters! We are Nigerians! #SOTNB18
Fellow Nigerians, the survivals of yesterday can become the assurance of a greater tomorrow if we wisely manage the second chance that today offers us. #SOTNB18
By next year, 2019, it will be another fifty-nine years since independence. Incidentally, it is an election year; a year in which we will make critical choices. #SOTNB18
Almost fifty-nine years after independence, we have another chance to make destiny-determining choices; choices that will have significant effects on our nation for the vast remainder of the twenty-first century. #SOTNB18
How to manage this second chance at national rebirth and how to ensure that the right choices are made are the reasons for this address. #SOTNB18
Ahead of 2019, the political space is predictably charged. The pre-election euphoria began with the clarion call from concerned Nigerians across the nation to every Nigerian of voting age. #SOTNB18
As a prelude to the general elections, we have seen tightly contested staggered elections in states such as Anambra, Edo, Ekiti and Osun. We have also seen the rise of new faces in the political space challenging the status quo and demanding a seat at the table. #SOTNB18
We have seen aspirants become candidates through hotly contested party primary elections. We have seen the adoption of direct primaries by some political parties to allow the people decide the candidates to be fielded. #SOTNB18
These are indications that Nigerians are bracing up for this once-in-a-national-lifetime opportunity to shape our future. #SOTNB18
However, we are again in the season of political intrigues. As the Nigerian people are staking their claim in the political process, we have also witnessed deft moves by politicians. #SOTNB18
The political space is saturated with news of defections, alignments, realignments, impeachment threats, and battles between godfathers and godsons. #SOTNB18
The gladiators have stepped into the ring and the power blocs have assumed their positions by the ringside, poised to influence the outcome. #SOTNB18
History shows us that as the election season unfolds further, the waters will become even more muddied. #SOTNB18
Since the beginning of our electocracy, the strategy of the political class has been consistent. They spend three years impoverishing the people and cornering our common patrimony ahead of the next election cycle. #SOTNB18
As the election season unfolds, they then deploy their so-called war chests during massive shopping sprees for votes. Such banditry has become the synonym for politics in Nigeria. #SOTNB18
It is why across the nation, from Lagos to Abuja and from Ilorin to Yola, a few demagogues have continued to hold the country to ransom. #SOTNB18
Whether the law is adequate or not, its stance on this matter is clear. Overvoting is the only legal ground upon which INEC is empowered to cancel results. #SOTNB18
Let me state categorically that I have no vested interest in the charade going on among the political class across the federation. As far as I am concerned, they are mostly birds of a feather, irrespective of their party affiliations. #SOTNB18
When I take on these matters, I do so as one mandated by a God who does not take sides but takes over when He steps into the scene. Is it not high time we stopped this unprecedented electocratic madness? #SOTNB18
We go through this cycle every four years and seldom stop to ponder. Like a mob of zombies, we wander in circles, doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. #SOTNB18
Since the return to civil rule in 1999, INEC has spent N450 billion conducting five general elections and a number of by-elections. Meanwhile, N143 billion has been budgeted for the 2019 elections. #SOTNB18
Yet, we have not stopped to ask why our nation continues to suffer a staggering leadership deficit despite the cycle of expensive elections. #SOTNB18
Unquestionably, in the last twenty years, we have experienced bouts of outstanding leadership, particularly by appointment. We have also seen good intentions and laudable development agendas. #SOTNB18
Yet, neither the five general elections nor the wonderful intentions have translated into improved living conditions for most Nigerians.#SOTNB18
Five general elections, yet around 87 million of us are extremely poor, earning our country the title “Poverty Capital of the World”; five elections, yet more than 37,500 lives have been claimed by the Boko Haram menace. #SOTNB18
Five elections, yet 2,300 children under the age of five, and 145 women of childbearing age, died yesterday and will die today due to little or no access to healthcare. #SOTNB18
Five elections, yet over 13 million of our children are still out of school, over 90 million of us, half of our entire population, have no access to electricity supply, and over 108 million of us are homeless. #SOTNB18
Five elections, yet our country has one of the worst infrastructural deficits in the world; needless to say, our roads are lavishly decorated with potholes and our airports are among the worst of the worst. #SOTNB18
Indeed, five elections and our paradoxical underdevelopment continues to confound the world. #SOTNB18
Although our economy has grown significantly since 1999, what is the essence of economic growth if it does not reflect on the tables of Nigerians? #SOTNB18
What is economic growth if it only enriches a few and leaves the rest in abject poverty? In seventeen years, like prodigal sons, we earned N77 trillion and squandered it. #SOTNB18
We have incurred another $74.28 billion worth of debt, barely fourteen years after a debt burden of $18 billion was lifted off our shoulders. #SOTNB18
Yet, there is no commensurate development to show for the debts we are piling up for future generations of Nigerians. Five general elections and ours is a tale of increasing poverty and indebtedness! #SOTNB18
Fellow Nigerians, we are better than this! We are better than the retrogressive pace of one step forward, two steps back. We are better than this sorry state of national poverty. #SOTNB18
We are better than this beggarly nation that we have become. This is not who we are! This is not what God endowed us to be! #SOTNB18
We are not beggars, we are not failures, we are not a burden to the world; we are a blessed nation, we are the hope of Africa, we are destined to give the world a civilization that will astonish humanity. We are Nigerians! #SOTNB18
Therefore, as we head towards another election, we must be ready to reject who we are not and reaffirm who we are. #SOTNB18
It is time to say no to a defective system that stifles our potential as a people; it is time to say no to a defective system that throws up the worst of us for leadership and brings out the worst in the best of us when they find themselves in leadership #SOTNB18
It is time to say no to a defective system that only breeds defectors! It is time to build systems that serve the common good, structures that work for every Nigerian, and a nation that caters to all Nigerians. It is time to make the right choices.#SOTNB18
Therefore, on this solemn occasion, on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Jewish ecclesiastical calendar, I present to Nigerians a seven-point framework to facilitate robust public discourse on the choices we must make in the 2019 elections. #SOTNB18
The seven milestones are the Mood, the Man, the Method, the Medium, the Moment, the Mission, and the Mandate.#SOTNB18
First, the mood. We must interrogate the polity in the context of the mood of the nation. By the mood of the nation, I mean the state of the nation. #SOTNB18
I mean the hopes, expectations and aspirations of Nigerians; the pains of many Nigerians who do not feel the pulse of government in spite of its self-acclaimed efforts. #SOTNB18
By the mood, I mean the questions on the minds of many Nigerians, who wonder whether there is truly religious freedom in Nigeria when 15-year-old Leah Sharibu is still being held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to renounce her Christian faith #SOTNB18
while other girls captured along with her were released six months ago following the intervention of the Federal Government. #SOTNB18
By the mood of the nation, I mean the apathy of the electorate who can neither relate to the self-proclaimed achievements of the governing party nor the self-interested agitations of the opposition parties #SOTNB18
I mean the reservations of many Nigerians who now suffer from weariness, apathy, and the latest epidemic in the country: Politics-induced Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). #SOTNB18
We must interrogate the polity with these realities in mind. Any politicking that is blind and deaf to the mood of the nation is tantamount to the anomaly portrayed in Proverbs 25:20 #SOTNB18
To make empty campaign promises ahead of the 2019 elections is to be insensitive to the plight of Nigerians. #SOTNB18
Next, we must interrogate the man. I use the word ‘man’ in the gender-neutral sense to refer to both men and women. By ‘man,’ I mean the kind of persons we should select to lead us. #SOTNB18
In a moment, I will tell you my position on the kind of leaders we need, but let me start by telling you the kind of leaders we don’t need. #SOTNB18
We don’t need leaders who make opportunistic promises before elections, especially at political rallies, knowing they have no intention to keep such promises #SOTNB18
We don’t need leaders who peddle ‘stomach infrastructure’ so that they can ‘stomach’ the money that is meant for infrastructure – such so-called leaders don’t have the heart to lead. #SOTNB18
We don’t need leaders who cannot face the Nigerian people in debates among candidates, or have intelligent conversations on our national problems, or tell us precisely what they plan to do to solve such problems #SOTNB18
We don’t need leaders who merely daydream or pontificate about a new nation but cannot do the hard work required to build that nation – such so-called leaders don’t have the hands to lead. #SOTNB18
We need a new breed of leaders. We need leaders who tick the ‘Heart, Head and Hands’ boxes on the leadership checklist. #SOTNB18
We need leaders whose hearts are melted by the cries and agonies of Nigerians and are burdened by the state of the nation. We need leaders who are not distant from the people and who are “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” Hebrews 4:15 #SOTNB18
We need leaders who have the mental fortitude to navigate the complexities of our national realities and conceive appropriate solutions to our national dilemmas #SOTNB18
We need leaders who possess the power of execution and the ability to see to it that solutions are effected and policies implemented – this is the breed of leaders we need in 2019 and beyond.#SOTNB18
Thirdly, we must interrogate the method by which such leaders are produced. How effective is this electocracy masquerading as a democracy? #SOTNB18
Does our current system guarantee the emergence of the best and brightest leaders or does it constrain us to the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea? #SOTNB18
Have we helped ourselves by asking Nigerians to get their PVCs without paying attention to what happens at the primaries? How much consideration have we given to leadership succession? #SOTNB18
What safeguards have we put in place to ensure that an elected leader is surrounded by the right set of lieutenants, including ministers and advisers? #SOTNB18
Any party that is unable to spell out its leadership selection criteria, as well as its long-term succession plan, should be rejected by Nigerians. #SOTNB18
Fourthly, we must also interrogate the medium, that is, the platforms from which leadership emerges in our nation. #SOTNB18
What informs political alignment and what is responsible for the endless cross-carpeting? Is it not because the same corrupt blood flows through the veins of these parties? #SOTNB18
How can we midwife political party formation to ensure the emergence of platforms built on integrity, unmistaken ideologies and uncompromising commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians? #SOTNB18
This takes me to the concept of The Political Family, which I have spoken about extensively in the past. In essence, a political family is a group of stakeholders transcending ethnic, religious and political affiliations. #SOTNB18
It is a group of patriots bound by a common DNA, which is the shared commitment to a Distinct Nationhood Agenda. #SOTNB18
I call on Nigerians to take a stand with me in the coming days as I pioneer one of such families in 2019 and beyond with the sole aim of taking our nation back to her pride of place in the community of nations. #SOTNB18
This brings me to the next critical point – the moment. Every nation has what, in the biblical lexicon, is referred to as its “time of visitation.” #SOTNB18
It is that point in history when our great God beams His attention on a particular nation and transits it from obscurity to prominence in order to accomplish His purpose for humanity at that time. #SOTNB18
I am convinced that this is the moment for Africa, and that Nigeria is at the pivot of this turning point in history. #SOTNB18
I believe that our heart-breaking national challenges, including the violence threatening our national foundations, and the confusion among the political class, are birth pangs heralding a new nation. #SOTNB18
Therefore, the politics of 2019 must be about galvanising such men and women of the moment around an idea whose time has come. Anything short of this is unacceptable. #SOTNB18
This takes me to the mission. The mission is the idea around which the men and women of the moment must galvanise towards the birth of a new nation. #SOTNB18
It is more than a manifesto; it is the developmental model founded upon a great vision that must propel our nation to prominence. #SOTNB18
I am convinced that for Nigeria, the idea whose time has come is the restructuring of our nation. Restructuring must be the overarching mission around which the social, economic and political development agenda is constructed. #SOTNB18
There are those now promising restructuring who did nothing in that regard while they were in the system. Then there are those incumbents who are diametrically opposed to restructuring because they cannot imagine a Nigeria that is not dependent on petrodollars. #SOTNB18
I do not have a moment to spare for such sceptics. Their political extinction is inevitable because there is no force strong enough to stop an idea whose time has come. #SOTNB18
Instead, let me spare a moment for those who genuinely desire to know how to restructure. For this set of Nigerians, let me, at this time, unveil the sixteen pragmatic steps towards restructuring Nigeria. #SOTNB18
Step 1: The President, by an executive order and in full consultation with the National Assembly and the Council of State, shall establish a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring. #SOTNB18
Step 2: To chair the Presidential Commission, the President shall appoint a wise and discerning Nigerian who must be incorruptible, of high moral standing, and of unquestionable integrity, 1/2 #SOTNB18
highly respected among national influencers, able to build bridges among the diverse interest groups in the country, and willing to serve his/her fatherland without remuneration. 2/2 #SOTNB18
Step 3: The Chairperson shall devolve the Presidential Commission into six Zonal Commissions and shall appoint for each zone a Zonal Commissioner. #SOTNB18
The Zonal Commissioners shall be technocrats mandated to create and implement masterplans for their respective geo-economic zones... 1/2 #SOTNB18
2/2 ...and to coordinate the transition of the economies of the states within the zone into integrated zonal economies, working closely with the respective state governments. #STOONB18
Step 4: The Presidential Commission will launch a nationwide reconciliation and reintegration drive and shall creatively communicate the New Nigeria narrative with a compelling national vision and brand identity. #SOTNB18
Step 5: The Commission shall institute a social impact bond for the implementation of the zonal economic masterplans #SOTNB18
The financing scheme shall be structured into key sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and solid minerals development, as well as the creative, culture and innovation industries, based on zonal competitive advantage. #SOTNB18
Education and human capital development in each zone shall be designed to build capacity for the socioeconomic and industrial agendas of the respective zones. #SOTNB18
[Phase 2: The Next 2 Years: 2021 - 2023]
Step 6: Through policy harmonisation and coordination, the state governments will progressively integrate the state economies into zonal economies. #SOTNB18
The Zonal Commissions, at this point, will relate to the states as regional development consultants, midwifing the emergence of six geo-economic zones in line with the zonal masterplans. #SOTNB18
Step 7: As internally generated revenue increases, the federal allocations disbursed to the states and local councils from the federation account will be progressively reduced. #SOTNB18
At the same time, the percentage derivation, which is the amount of revenue retained by the state from which it was generated, will be progressively increased by necessary constitutional alterations. #SOTNB18
Step 8: A counterpart funding mechanism will be instituted as a competitive reward scheme for the zones based on their internal revenue generation efforts. #SOTNB18
Access to this counterpart funding will not depend only on the amount of internal revenue but also on the effort and creativity deployed in integrating the economies of the states in each zone, especially in areas of competitive advantage. #SOTNB18
Step 9: A series of constitutional alterations will be championed as needed through the National and State Assemblies. These will progressively devolve powers to the states so they can have greater control of their economies. #SOTNB18
In turn, the states will confer greater powers of consultation on the Zonal Commissions, such that, on behalf of their client states, the Commissions can take further steps towards integrating the states in line with the respective zonal master plans. #SOTNB18
[Phase 3: The Next 4 Years: 2023 - 2027]
Step 10: A series of succession steps will be taken to consolidate the gains of the first four years. #SOTNB18
First, the Chairperson of the Presidential Commission, having been tested with the geo-economic development agenda, may opt to serve in an elective or appointive capacity. #SOTNB18
The Presidential Commission will then be transitioned to the Office of the Prime Minister dedicated to implementing the regional development agenda. #SOTNB18
The President, who will emerge from the 2023 elections, will then appoint a technocrat as Prime Minister with the ratification of the National Assembly. #SOTNB18
Step 11: The Federal Government, through the office of the Prime Minister, will begin to reduce its involvement in socio-economic management to that of a policy standards regulator and facilitator ensuring global best practices. #SOTNB18
Step 12: The states, through the Zonal Commissioners, will continue to manage socio-economic policies in line with the zonal masterplans, with the facilitation of the Prime Minister. #SOTNB18
At this point, the Nigerian economic map will have taken the shape of 6 geo-economic regions, 36 economic hubs, and 109 industrial clusters derived from the present senatorial districts. #SOTNB18
Step 13: The President, focussing on defence, foreign affairs and national integration, will begin to geo-strategically position Nigeria in the international community as an African Great Power. #SOTNB18
[Phase 4: The Next 4 Years: 2027 - 2031]
Step 14: By 2027, this geo-economic and geo-social model, which will have been in operation for eight years under the 1999 constitution (as amended), will be codified into a geopolitical framework. #SOTNB18
The framework will have geopolitical zones as federating units as well as a modified presidential system of government. The result will be a new draft constitution that will have for its preamble the Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Integration. #SOTNB18
Step 15: Nigerians at home and in the diaspora will be accorded the opportunity to adopt this framework through a referendum, thereby giving the people a constitution that will be truly deserving of the introduction, “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…” #SOTNB18
Step 16: The succession plan will, once again, be activated to bring in a new generation of leaders. This new generation of leaders, who will have already been integrated into the leadership ecosystem, will continue the rapid socioeconomic advancement. #SOTNB18
They will ensure the consolidation and expansion of Nigeria’s positioning as a global power made up of six geopolitical zones, each of them more prosperous than Dubai. In due course, this generation of leaders will, in turn, pass the baton to the next generation. #SOTNB18
Fellow Nigerians, there are only two choices in the 2019 elections. Like our founding fathers, we can, once more, choose the path of nationhood or find ourselves and our children once again doomed to servitude. #SOTNB18
As a patriot and ardent believer in the destiny of our nation, I stand before you today to challenge you to choose nationhood. Choose nationhood and set Nigeria free from the shackles of wicked leaders who perpetuate terror with their errors #SOTNB18
To choose nationhood is to put the interest of Nigeria at the heart of our actions and decisions in 2019 and beyond. #SOTNB18
On this day, the 7th of October, 2018, I declare to you that I am running. Yes, I am running. I am running for a united Nigeria that will birth the New Nigeria. #SOTNB18
I am running to begin to stir conversations around the seven-point agenda. I am running to lead Nigerians in a movement to demand the adoption of the pragmatic steps towards restructuring Nigeria. #SOTNB18
But don’t get it mixed up. I am not running with my name on the ballot paper; my name is in the Book of Life. I am not running for any office in the 2019 elections #SOTNB18
I am building a political family. I am stepping in to pitch the unyielding political class against God and His agenda for our nation. I am stepping in to execute the judgement that is written against perjurers #SOTNB18
I am here to tell them: Your time is up! And for those who doubt if this will ever happen, hear the word of the Lord: Isaiah 49:22-26 #SOTNB18
If you are on the side of the Lord, the side of truth, if you are on the side of justice, then take a stand with me for nationhood, as we march on to victory in 2019 and beyond, to take back our fatherland, to restore the broken foundations, and to build a great nation. #SOTNB18
Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great! Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless our nation, Nigeria.#SOTNB18
The Road To 2019: Quo Vadis, Nigeria?
Full text of my State of the Nation broadcast earlier today.
#SOTNB18 #5Elections #QuoVadis
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