Founder of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly Latter Rain Assembly), Tunde Bakare, has proffered reconciliation, reconstitution, and reconstruction as a way of Nigeria from its current socio-political predicament to achieve national rebirth and a return to its national ideals.
Bakare, who made the recommendation at the weekend at a Democracy Day virtual dialogue titled: “Rethinking the Nigerian State,” organised by a group of Nigerians resident in Canada in commemoration of the country’s 22nd year of return to democracy, insisted that only the tripartite strategies can reverse the country from being a failed state.
He decried that the nation’s framework came under severe onslaught because of exposure to the twin forces of a corrupt political class and impulsive military, culminating in the Unification Decree of May 1966 abolishing Nigeria’s federal structure.
According to him, “Let me reiterate that it is our responsibility as present-day nation builders to ensure national reconciliation, national reconstitution and national reconstruction to provide an enabling environment for the growth and optimisation of future generations of Nigerians.
“It is our responsibility, and we must not leave it to the coming generations. Therefore, we must not only rethink the current Nigerian state but actively rebuild it such that the coming generations of Nigerians of diverse ethnic orientation, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Edo, Ijaw, Idoma, and so on, will be proud to say these three words, ‘I am Nigerian!”
Bakare lamented that the Nigerian state tottered through six decades of instability, survived a civil war, and embarked on a series of failed democratic experiments and military interregnum. “Upon the return to civil rule on May 29, 1999, the frameworks of state, including the democratic culture, the federal structure, and the institutions of public service delivery, had degenerated,” he said.
Bakare said he was sobered by the state of the nation, noting that the crumbling elements of the Nigerian statehood have continued to deteriorate from one administration to another since the return to civil rule in 1999 even as the cleric pointed out that they are now sinking to unprecedented lows in the current administration.
He said, “The 1999 Constitution, crafted in an attempt to reconstitute these frameworks, was marred by numerous aberrations, including a false premise of ‘We the people,’ an array of ambiguities, and a cocktail of inconsistencies.”
He also alluded to the recent assessment of the current situation in the country by a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, in an article he co-authored, describing Nigeria as a failed state.
“The question before us today is, how do we reconfigure the Nigerian state to reverse this trend of state failure? To answer this question, we must lay hold of a tripartite chance at national rebirth and a return to our national ideals which the June 12 Democracy Day celebration presents to us,” he said.
Bakare, who is also the convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), identified a three-way solution to include a chance at reconciliation, reconstitution and reconstruction.
“By honouring Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi in 2018, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari attempted to confront and redress a sore aspect of our past. In this spirit of reconciliation which June 12 has come to represent, the Nigerian government must address and reconcile other historical grievances,” he said.
According to Bakare, other issues begging for reconciliation were the lingering memories of inhumane treatment, economic deprivation, marginalisation and non-inclusion of the Igbos that have festered since the end of the civil war.
He recommended the 1963 Republican Constitution as a model for the nation to pursue the ideals of egalitarianism, unity, truth, and justice with an emphasis on its recognition of devolution of power.
He continued: “The continued perception of repression among various sociocultural groups that have sustained an aversion to the Nigerian state and agitations for self-determination, as well as the rise of ethnic warlords like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
“The cycle of bitterness and vengeance among some Fulanis and their host communities across the nation sustained by the worsening farmer-herder crisis.”
Others according to him are the lingering discontent in the Niger Delta region as a result of continued environmental degradation, the contrasting
underdevelopment of the region against the backdrop of oil wealth, including the lingering feeling of exclusion from the governance by the Nigerian women and youth.