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As Nigerians speak on the state of the nation and the 60years independence of Nigeria, Pastor Tunde Bakare, the Senior Pastor of The Citadel Church, (formerly Latter Rain Bible Church) has lent his voice to what Nigerians could do to move forward saying the country must set its priority right by having the moral compass to move forward.

Pastor Bakare said this at the Platform, an online programme organised by Pastor Poju Oyemade the Senior Pastor and Founder of The Covenant Nation (TCN) to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Day anniversary.

The Pastor who expressed that Nigeria has been behind all her peer nations at independence said Nigeria was behind for having its priorities misplaced.

He said, “Nigeria needs moral compass to move forward. Nigeria is below par comparing potentials with performance, they are poles apart contrary to the expectations of our founding fathers and the citizens then. Comparing our performance with the nations that started this journey with us then like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, even South Korea have left us behind, they have moved far ahead of us.

“We thank God we are still together as a nation. No nation can move forward with a kind of predictable projection. Until right remains might and might no more remains right we will remain in the woods forever.

Asked that all the nations he mentioned were known for selecting the right people into office without thinking on federal character, his answer was that the problem with Nigeria was not the federal character issue noting that there was no state or ethnic group in Nigeria that does not have its crème de la crème and the bests in Nigeria, and there were no groups where there are no brilliant ones.

He explained, “Beginning from the Church my primary constituency that emphasises that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world but we can ask how involved is the Church involved in the polity?

Continuing he said, “If the entire world is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, so that the bondage of corruption could be broken in Nigeria, where are the sons of God? The Federal character is not our problem just like the population is not our problem. Like China and India used to have a large population more than we have, they used to be very poor. So the problem of Nigeria is not due to population or federal character. The principle of the federal character is to ensure that no part of the nation is marginalised. So why don’t you take the best in every place and bring them together?

“I know a little bit about the United Kingdom, that their policy formulators are picked from Oxford and Cambridge (Universities) they would get their best brains, bring them into the civil service but here we bring our drop outs and put them in the civil service majorly and you want us to climb Mount Everest? So our problem as a nation is not population, it is not federal character. It is what we are translating into our federal character that is the problem.

“I have met very brilliant persons from the different parts of the country, extremely brilliant and very productive. The Bible says when the blind lead the blind they end up in a ditch, it’s like the bible did not put Nigeria into perspective when this was written.  In a nation where the blind leads the seeing, that is our problem.

“If you look into the country today there are different cries and hues, groans, the jobless, the poor are groaning, prices are increasing, to maintain a descent lifestyle is difficult in Nigeria. Then the separatists are involved. The Ibos and the Yorubas are talking about restructuring. The ones in the South-South are complaining about killing the goose that lay the golden egg, asking for resource control, asking for full federalism. How do we fix this nation? I think we put the cart before the horse, and whenever you put the cart before the horse there is motion but it is backward. But we need to put the horse before the cart to move forward. What we need urgently is National Redemption. Until that takes place we are just wasting our time.”

With this background the cleric posited that what Nigeria needs about this time after the celebration of its 60 years of independence was national redemption, and nothing would happen until there is national redemption.

“Israel did not make it until it was redeemed. There is something about redemption. Abraham was redeemed, Isaac was redeemed, something happened within them that fixed their moral compass. I am saying something must happen from within to change our moral compass. I expected the President to emphasise integrity, honesty, in his speech, I expect the governors also to do the same. Children don’t do what you say but do what you do. There is absolute character deficiency in Nigeria. Until the inner mind is fixed we would just be wasting our time. We should be national builders.

The man of God also called on the government to revisit the report of the 2014 National Conference.

“Government in Nigeria is not a continuum. There are lots of wastes in the system. We are not adding values, we need an introspection on how to fix our moral compass. It is said that fish start smelling from the head. I don’t know how philosophically correct is that. It is a plethora problem that we have but when trees fall on each other you begin to remove from the top ones.

Pastor Bakare also noted that there has been gross fall in the standard of education. He therefore suggested that “there should be priority on education of the citizens, as standard of education has fallen. We have become a lazy nation, a man who hunts but cannot roast. We have gold we don’t know what to do with it, we ship our oil abroad, they refine it for us, and then they send it back at a higher price and we pay. It is called subsidy and all that kinds of nonsense.”

Reacting to those who have been calling on him to lead another protest against some of the harsh policies of the federal government like the increase in fuel prices and electricity bill, the cleric was quick to tell them to either look inward or elsewhere.

“Those who ask me to march again, who is holding their legs? I am not an activist, neither am I national commentator. God gave me a revelation and I acted on it. I did that because God instructed me to do so. My job is to restore voice to the voiceless,” he stressed.

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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