The serving overseer, Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC) Lagos, Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare, has proffered three ways of resetting Nigeria out of its current socio-political predicament in order to achieve national rebirth and a return to its national ideals.
Bakare spoke on Saturday at a virtual Democracy Day Dialogue organised by PTB4Nigeria, Canada chapter, with the theme ‘Rethinking the Nigerian State’.
He 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 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 explained.
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.
“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,” he pointed out.
Others 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.
“Upon reconciliation of these and other historical grievances, we must revisit the Nigerian constitution.
“Therefore, beyond the ongoing alteration of the constitution being championed by the National Assembly, the present generation of nation builders must foster genuine national integration through a pragmatic approach to restructuring Nigeria that will eventually deliver a new constitution; one that will be deserving of the introduction, ‘We the people of Nigeria…’,” Bakare stressed.
He added that the final stage in the tripartite chance at nation-building that June 12 presents to Nigerians was the reconstruction of the nation.
“This places a demand on present-day nation builders to embark on institution building. We must rebuild the institutions of accountability to stem the tide of corruption and institute a culture of integrity in public governance.
“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 stated.