Nigerian Prophetic-Apostolic Pastor, Tunde Bakare, on Sunday wrote to the president, Muhammadu Buhari on how to rebuild Nigeria.
Bakare offered to Buhari a blueprint for the rebuilding of Nigeria, the disillusionment about which triggered the recent protests by Nigerian youths.
In a speech from the pulpit on Sunday, Bakare recalled the hopes of Nigeria’s founding fathers and how the hope has now turned into despair.
The pastor writes to President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement title, “The Building Blocks of Nationhood: A Blueprint for the New Nigeria.”
See Some of His Tweet:
“In the past week, we witnessed with great sorrow the desecration of our nationhood as Nigeria’s armed forces stained the banner of our nationhood, the Nigerian flag, with the blood of our children, the Nigerian youth, to whom our founding fathers charged us to handover a banner without stain.”
“Fellow citizens, at the root of the issues that confront our nation is a foundational problem of nationhood that has persisted from one administration to another and provided a conducive environment for the State-Aided Robbery Squad (SARS).”
“Until this foundational problem of nationhood is addressed, the call to End SARS will persist long after the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.”
“No degree of brutal repression of protesters can quench the flame of protests in the hearts and minds of the Nigerian people. Your bullets may drive them off the streets, but your bullets cannot pierce their spirits or puncture their resilience.”
Bakare blamed what he now called a Tsunami of youth protest to the mismanagement of Nigeria bequeathed by the foundational leaders.
“At independence, we inherited a promising nation, but we are bequeathing a predatory nation to the young generation.”
“We inherited a nation whose structural foundations were built on principles of true federalism, a nation in which the diverse groups had the freedom to determine their destinies, but we are bequeathing a unitary nation, federal only in name, in which subnational expressions are suppressed by an overbearing center.”
“We inherited a nation in which free and functional basic education, as well as affordable and quality tertiary education, guaranteed the path from penury to prominence, but we are bequeathing a nation whose educational system is lying-in-state.”
“We inherited a nation where a young graduate was guaranteed immediate employment with housing and a car loan, but we have bequeathed a nation in which our youth are largely underemployed, unemployed, or Yahoo-employed.”
“We inherited a relatively secure nation characterized by a thriving nightlife and a peaceful village life, but we have bequeathed to the younger generation a society grappling with kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, and police brutality.”
“We inherited a banner without stain, but we have introduced a new color to our green-white-green: blood red.”
“This is why there has been a definite generational spin to the protests. It is why we hear rallying cries like ‘You messed with the wrong generation.”
“It is why some protesters have asked why the likes of Prof. Soyinka, Tunde Bakare, Oby Ezekwesili, Pat Utomi, Femi Falana, the so-called ‘senior activists in Nigeria,’ are not on the streets.”
“To citizens of the young generation who are disappointed in the older generation; to those young freedom fighters who believe that the generation of their fathers and mothers has failed them; to those young Nigerians who have stood up to oppression…”
“Permit me to stand in the gap to apologize on behalf of my generation and the older generation for the undesirable state of the nation you were born into.”
“Permit me to apologize on behalf of your parents and grandparents for the kind of country you have grown up in. We salute your courage, and we applaud your resilience.”
PART OF THE MESSAGE:
Introduction: A Banner Without Stain
Citizens of our beloved great nation here present; Nigerians at home and in the diaspora joining us via various media platforms; friends of Nigeria across the African continent and the world; political leaders, policymakers and bureaucrats from the national and subnational levels of government; private sector stakeholders; the intelligentsia, opinion moulders and thought leaders from various institutions of knowledge; gentlemen of the press: When our nation attained independence on October 1, 1960, it was with fervent faith in the possibilities of a great nation that our founding fathers lowered the British flag and hoisted the Green-White-Green. Their dream of a great nation was etched in the lyrics of our founding national anthem,
The second stanza of which states:
Our flag shall be a symbol That truth and justice reign In peace or battle honor’d, And this we count as gain, To hand on to our children A banner without stain.
In the past week, we witnessed with great sorrow the desecration of our nationhood as Nigeria’s armed forces stained the banner of our nationhood, the Nigerian flag, with the blood of our children, the Nigerian youth, to whom our founding fathers charged us to handover a banner without stain. It is, therefore, with a heavy heart over the current state of our nation, but with resilient hope in the possibilities of a New Nigeria, that I bring you this State of the Nation Broadcast originally intended to celebrate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary. In this moment of despair and sobriety, I have titled my address ‘The Building Blocks of Nationhood: A Blueprint for the New Nigeria’ because this dark chapter of our history is not how Nigeria’s story ends.
The Birth Pangs of Nationhood
All across the nation, there is a wave of people movement. It is a wave of citizen engagement championed by the so-called ‘ordinary Nigerian’ who has proven in extraordinary terms to be by no means ordinary. It began in Edo State with an awakened and resolute electorate defying the political establishment to make their voices heard and their votes count. In the past couple of weeks, that wave has been transformed into a tsunami of people movement led by our young people who have had enough of the horrendous brutality of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). I believe that this wave of people’s movement is the physical manifestation of the birth pangs heralding the New Nigeria.
As I observed the End SARS protests, I could not but conclude that we are witnessing the crescendo of an era and the beginning of another. Ten years ago, when we convened civil society organizations under the umbrella of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), our objective was not to be the voice of the people, but to restore the voices of the voiceless in a nation where social mobilization had been frozen for too long at that time. Ten years later, the End SARS protest has assured me that a generation of Nigerians has arisen, armed with clear and unmistakable voices, refusing to dim their lights or turn down the volume of their requests, because we have entered the era of ‘Soro Soke.’ I salute the courage of this unbreakable generation; I salute the resilience of every Nigerian youth, named and unnamed, who has stood up to be counted in this momentous era.
A Solemn Remembrance
We remember at this time the heartbreaking tales of extortion, torture, rape, and murder that drove our young people to the streets in the first place. We remember Linda Nkechi Igwetu who, in 2018, was reported to have been shot in a friend’s car by SARS operatives the day before her passing out parade, after serving her nation as a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Abuja. We remember Stella Ifeoma Abugu, another corps member, reported to have been raped and murdered while being unlawfully detained by SARS officials in Abuja. We remember Saliu Alli Haruna, a twenty-one-year-old student of Business Administration at Ambrose Alli University, Edo State, whose remains were found in a well after a reported raid in his hostel by SARS.
Ultimately, the Government is Liable
When people elect their leaders, they hand over the responsibility to protect and defend them. The gun in the hand of the policeman is theclosest, most visible and most easily identifiable symbol of that handover of power and responsibility from the people to the government. The people do not have as much access to the president, governor or even the local government chairman or counselor as they do to the policeman on the street. In other words, as far as the responsibility of the government to guarantee the security and welfare of the people are concerned, the policeman on the street is the first ambassador of the government to the people. Any misuse of that power by the police, especially to repress and oppress any citizen, is ultimately an abuse of the power conferred by the people on their government. This is why the widespread protests against police brutality are justified. I acknowledge the efforts made by the government to address the protesters’ demands, but the government must move from commitment to full compliance in the implementation of the 5-for-5 demands of the End SARS protesters and in overhauling our policing architecture. Above all, I strongly recommend that President Muhammadu Buhari should ensure that those who ordered armed soldiers to fire on innocent citizens are fished out and made to face the full weight of the law. The officers who carried out such wicked acts should also be prosecuted under international legal standards. Unfortunately, the protests took a sad turn, from the attacks on protesters by thugs to the infiltration of protests by hoodlums unleashing mayhem in cities and communities.
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