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Meets Media Opinion: The problem with Pastor Bakare’s presidency declaration

The problem with pastor Tunde Bakare's presidency declaration

Pastor Tunde Bakare has declared for president in God's name. What exactly does that even mean?

Déjà vu swept through me like the harmattan haze, as Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly declared he’d be running for president in “due course”.

His declaration arrived from the pulpit as Nigeria ushered in the New Year in typically hopeful fashion.

“I heard the lord say, politics is not over for you, run for president”, Bakare thundered, his cadence rising and falling with the chant from the congregation.

He continued; “And (the lord) said to me, I’ll work it out myself and make it happen in due course.

“Please trust me, I lie not in the Holy Ghost. This is not easy for me to share with you. I share this with you so that you can pray along with me.

“It appears destiny is calling and the time is at hand, but who is sufficient for these things? As I hear more, You’d be the first to know by the grace of God.

 

“Please pray for me like never before. I trust you will, because we are in this together. Amen and Amen.

“It doesn’t matter what anybody says. I never listen to men, I listen to God. I’m not looking for anything. He said I will make it happen in due course.

“When that due course and that due moment comes, I will let you know. He hasn’t given me exact time. He hasn’t said where and when, but this is what he said to me on the very last Saturday of the year”.

Okotie 2.0

Full disclosure before I proceed: I’m a fan of Pastor Bakare and subscribe to his values and his annual pronunciations on the state of the nation.

ALSO READ: 'I'm running for president,' Preacher declares (VIDEO)

I watched Bakare’s ‘Moment of Truth’ all my teenage life and well into adulthood.

Call me a Bakare groupie and you’d be damn right.

In 2003, I sat in the church pew of the Household of God in Oregun, Lagos, when another fire belching Man of God, Reverend Christopher Oghenebriore Okotie, declared he’d be running for president.

 

Okotie was my pastor at the time.

I did believe God was going to make Rev Kris Okotie president against all odds, because that was exactly what the good Rev told us. I was so sold on an Okotie presidency, I volunteered as one of his foot soldiers. Heck, my elder brother, Ken, volunteered as the candidate’s spokesperson.

One Saturday, as we huddled in church to formally kick off the ‘Okotie for president’ campaign, we were handed tapes containing our presidential candidate’s manifesto for Nigerians, in his own voice.

I recall trekking round Ojota to distribute mine; stopping to explain why Okotie was the change Nigeria had long been yearning for, to passersby and motorists.

“He’s the next president, believe it or not”, I would scream after my passionate appeal for votes. Before Obama's famed door-to-door ground game was Okotie's presidential campaign.

Broken hearts

Long story short, my candidate lost that election even though he told us in clear, crystal language that God had told him he was going to be president. Instead, Olusegun Obasanjo began his second term after winning the popular vote by a landslide.

It was so bad that those of us who were invested in the Okotie for president project, still believed that somehow, since God said so, Obasanjo will probably make way for our Okotie, midway into his presidency, after the courts may have found out that the PDP rigged the vote for him.

Fat chance.

That never happened.

 

In 2007, Okotie doubled down on his ‘God said I would be president’ message as we sang ‘Yonder Place’ in the pastor’s voice and recited the FRESH (Faith, Responsibility, Equality, Security, Hope) anthem every other day of our lives.

Okotie lost that election to Yar’adua and my poor heart never recovered.

Weeks later, I left Household of God to lick my wounds, because every Okotie election loss left me with stabs to the heart and psyche.

It still does.

Another one

By the time Okotie ran for president again in 2011, I was long gone from his church. Goodluck Jonathan was elected president that year instead.

As I watched Bakare say God had told him he was going to be president of Nigeria someday, the Okotie psychological trauma returned like a hurricane. Surely, if God says a thing, he would do it, yeah? Why then is Okotie still not president? Is Okotie going to be president someday still? Maybe he missed the date and year as God spoke?

 

I understand that Bakare is not Okotie. Bakare has been rolling with some of today’s political elite and was even running mate to the current president in 2011. Okotie on the other hand preferred to fight the establishment from the outside and was a political neophyte when he first declared for the presidency.

ALSO READ: Should the church be involved in politics?

While Bakare continues to engage the ruling class from the pulpit and off it, Okotie waits for election season, declares his presidential run, throws in the God card and disappears when he loses until, well, another election season.

However, the common denominator between Okotie and Bakare remains: “God said….God told me….God spoke…God..God…God".

Hearing from God

Is it possible for a member of the clergy to run for president without throwing God’s name into the mix? It’s a good thing that Bakare has given no time-frame for when God’s word would come to pass, but should he start setting out his presidential stall already without saying God asked him to?

 

A Bakare presidency would be sweet music to the ears, make no mistake. But he’s got several hurdles in his path. In any case, if God says a thing will happen, all hurdles suddenly become stepping stones.

No, I’m not skeptical about whether God did indeed speak to Bakare or whether Bakare heard God correctly. I’m just worried that Bakare could become another Okotie.

It’s a scenario my still fractured heart is not willing to take.

Curated: Meets Media.ng

Local AFP Photo

Local AFP is a Reporter at Meets Media, a digital journalist who reports on News and some other section of our website.

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