Being Text Of Speech By Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare At The State Of The Nation Broadcast On Sunday

BEING TEXT OF SPEECH BY PASTOR ‘TUNDE BAKARE AT THE STATE OF THE NATION
BROADCAST ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2018.
VENUE: THE LATTER RAIN ASSEMBLY, END-TIME CHURCH, PLOT 4, AKILO ROAD, OFF
OBA AKRAN AVENUE, OGBA, IKEJA, LAGOS, NIGERIA.

THEME: THE ROAD TO 2019: QUO VADIS, NIGERIA?
Protocols.

Fellow Nigerians,

Let me begin by, once again, wishing our beloved country Happy 58th
Independence Anniversary. Indeed, it has been almost six decades since our
founding fathers received the constitutional instruments of independence
from the British Crown and commenced the task of piloting our country’s
journey into nationhood. Speaking fifty-eight years ago as he took the oath
of office, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa said:

“…I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation
proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands
well-built upon firm foundations.”[1]

However, since that address was given, the foundations of our nation have
been tested by strong winds. Barely six years after independence, those
foundations were shaken by the perils of a civil war that claimed the lives
of millions of Nigerians. Through the decades, those foundations have been
battered by waves of ethnic insurrections, militancy and religious crises.
Again and again, those foundations have been pummelled on all sides by the
storms of economic downturn raging through depression, recession, extreme
poverty and appalling living standards. In more recent times, those
foundations have been buffeted by the gale of terrorism, by the floods of
mass kidnappings, and by the destructive hurricane of criminal herdsmen and
cattle rustlers. In addition, over a period of nearly six decades and even
before, those foundations have been compromised by the tsunami of
corruption.

These turbulent episodes have left our dear country holding on for dear
life through the innumerable twists and turns on our journey to nationhood.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously said of Nigeria in
her book, The Downing Street Years, “…Nigeria…is a somewhat artificial
creation.”[2] Nigeria is now a long-term patient in the intensive care unit
of the universe and is in need of round-the-clock care ahead of the journey
into her great future.

However, we must also see the other side of our story so far. The fact that
we have survived these upheavals as one nation is worth an outpouring of
thanksgiving to God. To the amazement of the world, and perhaps even to our
own amazement, we have managed to meander through the most dangerous
junctures in our journey as a nation. We have survived situations that have
ripped other nations apart; we have held on as one nation despite our
challenges. These narrow escapes not only testify to the enduring strength
of the divine purpose for our nation; they also attest to the tenacity of
the Nigerian spirit – the never say die Nigerian spirit. We are survivors!
We are optimists! We are go-getters! We are not quitters! We are Nigerians!

Fellow Nigerians, the survivals of yesterday can become the assurance of a
greater tomorrow if we wisely manage the second chance that today offers
us. As with our forebears, we, too, must now make choices that will shape
the next phase of our national destiny. On January 1, 1901, the area that
makes up present-day Nigeria became a British Protectorate. Thereafter, our
country was subjected to colonial administration for fifty-nine years until
our founding fathers made a critical choice for independent nationhood in
1960. By next year, 2019, it will be another fifty-nine years since
independence. Incidentally, it is an election year; a year in which we will
make critical choices. Almost fifty-nine years after independence, we have
another chance to make destiny-determining choices; choices that will have
significant effects on our nation for the vast remainder of the
twenty-first century. How to manage this second chance at national rebirth
and how to ensure that the right choices are made are the reasons for this
address.

The Road to 2019: Quo Vadis, Nigeria?
Ahead of 2019, the political space is predictably charged. The pre-election
euphoria began with the clarion call from concerned Nigerians across the
nation to every Nigerian of voting age. “Get your PVC!” became the rallying
cry, and many Nigerians have heeded the call and are ready to vote or be
voted for. As a prelude to the general elections, we have seen tightly
contested staggered elections in states such as Anambra, Edo, Ekiti and
Osun. We have also seen the rise of new faces in the political space
challenging the status quo and demanding a seat at the table. We have seen
aspirants become candidates through hotly contested party primary
elections. We have seen the adoption of direct primaries by some political
parties to allow the people decide the candidates to be fielded. These are
indications that Nigerians are bracing up for this
once-in-a-national-lifetime opportunity to shape our future.

Intrigues, Poli-tricks and Electocracies
However, we are again in the season of political intrigues. As the Nigerian
people are staking their claim in the political process, we have also
witnessed deft moves by politicians. The political space is saturated with
news of defections, alignments, realignments, impeachment threats, and
battles between godfathers and godsons. The gladiators have stepped into
the ring and the power blocs have assumed their positions by the ringside,
poised to influence the outcome. Some of such puzzling moves have already
yielded candidates for the political parties. History shows us that as the
election season unfolds further, the waters will become even more muddied.
Betrayals, character assassinations, politically-motivated crimes,
multimillion-dollar patronage, consolidation of election rigging machinery
– these are some of the sharks lying-in-wait in the deep and murky waters
ahead as the political class perfect their plans to take the people on a
joyride to nowhere.

Since the beginning of our electocracy, the strategy of the political class
has been consistent. They spend three years impoverishing the people and
cornering our common patrimony ahead of the next election cycle. As the
election season unfolds, they then deploy their so-called war chests during
massive shopping sprees for votes. Such banditry has become the synonym for
politics in Nigeria. It is why across the nation, from Lagos to Abuja and
from Ilorin to Yola, a few demagogues have continued to hold the country to
ransom.

The recently concluded gubernatorial selection, sorry, election, in Osun
State is a pointer to the ignoble intentions of this political class ahead
of 2019. What a sham, and what a shame. By what constitutional provision or
act of the National Assembly is the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) empowered to cancel election results the way it did in
Osun State? Section 53, subsection 2 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as
amended), which empowers INEC to cancel results, states as follows:

Where the votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceed the number
of registered voters in that polling unit, the result of the election for
that polling unit shall be declared void by the Commission and another
election may be conducted at a date to be fixed by the Commission where the
result of that polling unit may affect the overall result in the
Constituency.[3]

Whether the law is adequate or not, its stance on this matter is clear.
Overvoting is the only legal ground upon which INEC is empowered to cancel
results. Ife North Local Government Area was the only constituency where
overvoting was reported by INEC in Osun State and 353 votes were
affected.[4] Is it sheer coincidence that the difference in votes for the
two leading candidates before the runoff was 353?[5] Is this a case of
daylight rigging as some have cried out?[6] Did we have a rerun in Osun
State or a test run? In the 2015 elections, widespread incidents of card
reader malfunction did not warrant election cancellation; instead, INEC
resorted to manual accreditation.[7] What legal basis has therefore
warranted the Commission’s decisions in Osun State? Ought not the
reasons[8] given by INEC for ordering a rerun in Osun State be matters for
the courts? Or has the umpire become a judge empowered by incumbents to
interpret laws?

Let me state categorically that I have no vested interest in the charade
going on among the political class across the federation. As far as I am
concerned, they are mostly birds of a feather, irrespective of their party
affiliations. In approaching this company of questionable characters, I was
well-taught by my mentor, Dr. Lester Sumrall, of blessed memory, who once
said to me: “Out of two evils, choose none.” When I take on these matters,
I do so as one mandated by a God who does not take sides but takes over
when He steps into the scene. Is it not high time we stopped this
unprecedented electocratic madness?

We go through this cycle every four years and seldom stop to ponder. Like a
mob of zombies, we wander in circles, doing the same thing again and again
and expecting a different result. We do not stop to ask if our wanderings
have translated to the realisation of our national aspirations. Since the
return to civil rule in 1999, INEC has spent N450 billion conducting five
general elections and a number of by-elections.[9] Meanwhile, N143 billion
has been budgeted for the 2019 elections.[10] Yet, we have not stopped to
ask why our nation continues to suffer a staggering leadership deficit
despite the cycle of expensive elections.

Unquestionably, in the last twenty years, we have experienced bouts of
outstanding leadership, particularly by appointment. We have also seen good
intentions and laudable development agendas. Yet, neither the five general
elections nor the wonderful intentions have translated into improved living
conditions for most Nigerians.

Five general elections, yet around 87 million of us are extremely poor,
earning our country the title “Poverty Capital of the World”;[11] five
elections, yet more than 37,500 lives have been claimed by the Boko Haram
menace,[12] 2.4 million of us are internally displaced,[13] more than
228,000 of us are refugees,[14] thousands of us have been kidnapped by
terrorists,[15] and 7.7 million of us require urgent humanitarian
assistance.[16] Five elections, yet millions of us still go to bed hungry
and over 6 million of our infants suffer malnutrition.[17] Five elections,
yet 2,300 children under the age of five, and 145 women of childbearing
age, died yesterday and will die today due to little or no access to
healthcare.[18] Five elections, yet over 13 million of our children are
still out of school,[19] over 90 million of us, half of our entire
population, have no access to electricity supply,[20] and over 108 million
of us are homeless.[21] Five elections, yet our country has one of the
worst infrastructural deficits in the world;[22] needless to say, our roads
are lavishly decorated with potholes and our airports are among the worst
of the worst.[23] Five elections, and most of our 36 states have remained
economic vegetables relying on Abuja for life support, unable to generate
sufficient internal revenue.[24] Indeed, five elections and our paradoxical
underdevelopment continues to confound the world.

Although our economy has grown significantly since 1999,[25] what is the
essence of economic growth if it does not reflect on the tables of
Nigerians? What is economic growth if it only enriches a few and leaves the
rest in abject poverty? In seventeen years, like prodigal sons, we earned
N77 trillion and squandered it.[26] We have incurred another $74.28 billion
worth of debt,[27] barely thirteen years after a debt burden of $18 billion
was lifted off our shoulders.[28] Yet, there is no commensurate development
to show for the debts we are piling up for future generations of Nigerians.
Five general elections, and ours is a tale of increasing poverty and
indebtedness!

Fellow Nigerians, we are better than this! We are better than the
retrogressive pace of one step forward, two steps back. We are better than
this sorry state of national poverty. We are better than this beggarly
nation that we have become. This is not who we are! This is not what God
endowed us to be! We are not beggars, we are not failures, we are not a
burden to the world; we are a blessed nation, we are the hope of Africa, we
are destined to give the world a civilization that will astonish humanity.
We are Nigerians!

Therefore, as we head towards another election, we must be ready to reject
who we are not and reaffirm who we are. To do so, we must interrogate the
process, ponder our progress so far, tell ourselves some home truths as to
the defects in our system, and commence the work of correcting the defects.
And so I ask, great Nigerian patriots: What time is it?

It is time to say no to a defective system that stifles our potential as a
people; it is time to say no to a defective system that throws up the worst
of us for leadership and brings out the worst in the best of us when they
find themselves in leadership; it is time to say no to a defective system
that only breeds defectors! It is time to build systems that serve the
common good, structures that work for every Nigerian, and a nation that
caters to all Nigerians. It is time to make the right choices.

Therefore, on this solemn occasion, on the 7th day of the 7th month of the
Jewish ecclesiastical calendar, I present to Nigerians a seven-point
framework to facilitate robust public discourse on the choices we must make
in the 2019 elections. These seven points must not only become the
yardstick for interrogating the polity at this time; they must also guide
the reflections of those who are sticking their necks out in a bid to
salvage our nation. In addition, these points must challenge incumbents as
they attempt to seek re-election. These pivotal points are milestones on
the journey to 2019.

Milestones on the Journey to 2019
The seven milestones are the Mood, the Man, the Method, the Medium, the
Moment, the Mission, and the Mandate.

First, the mood. We must interrogate the polity in the context of the mood
of the nation. By the mood of the nation, I mean the state of the nation. I
mean the hopes, expectations and aspirations of Nigerians; the pains of
many Nigerians who do not feel the pulse of government in spite of its
self-acclaimed efforts; the anxieties of many Nigerians who do not know
where their next meal will come from; the cries and agonies of Nigerians
who are daily losing loved ones and property to criminality, terrorism,
violence, and vicious killings.

I am talking about the worries of that family man whose children are about
to be sent out of school because his minimum wage is not a living wage and
can barely put food on the table, not to talk of meeting the demands of
school fees.[29] I am talking about the fears of that woman who is about to
be retrenched because her company has been unable to survive the
recession.[30] I am talking about the conundrum of that entrepreneur who
borrowed money to start a business but cannot break even because of the
cost of running a diesel generator; now the loan is long overdue for
repayment, and the creditors have come threatening.[31] I am talking about
the identity crisis of the PhD holder who, after enduring five years
without a job, has opted to become a truck driver alongside thousands of
others who did not have the opportunity to go to secondary school.[32]

By the mood, I mean the questions on the minds of many Nigerians, who
wonder whether there is truly religious freedom in Nigeria when 15-year-old
Leah Sharibu is still being held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to
renounce her Christian faith, while other girls captured along with her
from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, were released
six months ago following the intervention of the federal government.[33] I
mean the outbreak of violence in Jos and the evacuation of hundreds of
university students;[34] I mean the fear and shame on the face of that
farmer in Benue who has since abandoned his farmland to marauding
herdsmen;[35] the despondency of the cattle owner in Zamfara whose
livelihood has been stolen by rustlers;[36] and the resentment of the
father in an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Borno, who cannot tell if
his family members are in Boko Haram’s custody or dead.[37]

By the mood of the nation, I mean the apathy of the electorate who can
neither relate to the self-proclaimed achievements of the governing party
nor the self-interested agitations of the opposition parties. I mean the
reservations of many Nigerians who now suffer from weariness and the latest
epidemic in the country: Politics-induced Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
I mean the restlessness of the majority of the youth population whose
tolerance level regarding the deprivations they face is close to breaking
point. We must interrogate the polity with these realities in mind. Any
politicking that is blind and deaf to the mood of the nation is tantamount
to the anomaly portrayed in Proverbs 25:20 (NKJV):

Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather,

And like vinegar on soda,

Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

To make empty campaign promises ahead of the 2019 elections is to be
insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.

Next, we must interrogate the man. I use the word ‘man’ in the
gender-neutral sense to refer to both men and women. By ‘man,’ I mean the
kind of persons we should select to lead us. To underscore the need to
publicly interrogate those vying for leadership, I am reminded of the
immortal words of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo:

But the competence and character of politicians must of a necessity be
examined in the full glare of public limelight because what is at issue is
the welfare of the community or nation. In the management of private
affairs, a gross mistake would only affect the fortunes of one man or a
family or a small group of persons. A serious error of judgement in the
management of public affairs might adversely affect the lives and fortunes
of millions of people.

For this reason, there is need for the competence and character of public
men to be subjected to severer and stricter scrutiny — and that mainly in
public — than those of persons engaged in private concerns.[38]

Virtually every Nigerian can say a thing or two about the kinds of leaders
Nigeria needs. In a moment, I will tell you my position on the kind of
leaders we need, but let me start by telling you the kind of leaders we
don’t need.

We don’t need leaders who make opportunistic promises before elections,
especially at political rallies, knowing they have no intention to keep
such promises; we don’t need leaders who peddle ‘stomach infrastructure’ so
that they can ‘stomach’ the money that is meant for infrastructure – such
so-called leaders don’t have the heart to lead. We don’t need leaders who
cannot face the Nigerian people in debates among candidates, or have
intelligent conversations on our national problems, or tell us precisely
what they plan to do to solve such problems – such so-called leaders don’t
have the mind to lead. We don’t need leaders who merely daydream or
pontificate about a new nation but cannot do the hard work required to
build that nation – such so-called leaders don’t have the hands to lead.

We need a new breed of leaders. We need leaders who tick the ‘Heart, Head
and Hands’ boxes on the leadership checklist. We need leaders whose hearts
are melted by the cries and agonies of Nigerians and are burdened by the
state of the nation. We need leaders who are not distant from the people
and who are “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15;
NKJV). We need leaders who have the mental fortitude to navigate the
complexities of our national realities and conceive appropriate solutions
to our national dilemmas; we need leaders who possess the power of
execution and the ability to see to it that solutions are effected and
policies implemented – this is the breed of leaders we need in 2019 and
beyond.

Thirdly, we must interrogate the method by which such leaders are produced.
How effective is this electocracy masquerading as a democracy? Does our
current system guarantee the emergence of the best and brightest leaders or
does it constrain us to the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea?
Have we helped ourselves by asking Nigerians to get their PVCs without
paying attention to what happens at the primaries? What have we done at
this time to ensure that after elections, a president or governor is not
surrounded by people who will misadvise or incapacitate him or her? What
safeguards have we put in place to ensure that an elected leader is
surrounded by the right set of lieutenants, including ministers and
advisers? How much consideration have we given to leadership succession?
Beyond 2019, who are those trusted hands in whose care we must place our
beloved nation? How can we begin to position such leaders in the current
dispensation? Every serious political party must place these issues at the
front burner. Any party that is unable to spell out its leadership
selection criteria, as well as its long-term succession plan, should be
rejected by Nigerians.

Fourthly, we must also interrogate the medium, that is, the platforms from
which leadership emerges in our nation. What is the difference between the
major political parties? Does the mess going on during party primaries not
remind us of Abacha’s infamous “five fingers of a leprous hand”?[39] What
informs political alignment and what is responsible for the endless
cross-carpeting? Is it not because the same corrupt blood flows through the
veins of these parties? What kind of leaders can such a system throw up
other than leaders who are mainly motivated by an unbridled lust for power?
How can we midwife political party formation to ensure the emergence of
platforms built on integrity, unmistaken ideologies and uncompromising
commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians? This takes me to the concept of
The Political Family, which I have spoken about extensively in the
past.[40] In essence, a political family is a group of stakeholders
transcending ethnic, religious and political affiliations. It is a group of
patriots bound by a common DNA, which is the shared commitment to a
Distinct Nationhood Agenda. I call on Nigerians to take a stand with me in
the coming days as I pioneer one of such families in 2019 and beyond with
the sole aim of taking our nation back to her pride of place in the
community of nations.

This brings me to the next critical point – the moment. Every nation has
what, in the biblical lexicon, is referred to as its “time of
visitation.”[41] It is that point in history when our great God beams His
attention on a particular nation and transits it from obscurity to
prominence in order to accomplish His purpose for humanity at that time. It
is why kingdoms have risen, and kingdoms have fallen, empires have emerged,
and empires have collapsed; we have seen nations deplete their resources
and others transit “from Third World to First.”[42] At the heart of the
transitions of these nations were men and women whose time of manifestation
coincided with the time of visitation of their nation. I am convinced that
this is the moment for Africa, and that Nigeria is at the pivot of this
turning point in history. I believe that our heart-breaking national
challenges, including the violence threatening our national foundations,
and the confusion among the political class, are birth pangs heralding a
new nation. It is the cry for the emergence of the men and women of the
moment – men and women who can step in at this moment to begin the process
of transitioning our nation from the status quo to greatness. Therefore,
the politics of 2019 must be about galvanising such men and women of the
moment around an idea whose time has come. Anything short of this is
unacceptable.

This takes me to the mission. The mission is the idea around which the men
and women of the moment must galvanise towards the birth of a new nation.
It is more than a manifesto; it is the developmental model founded upon a
great vision that must propel our nation to prominence. I am convinced that
for Nigeria, the idea whose time has come is the restructuring of our
nation. Restructuring must be the overarching mission around which the
social, economic and political development agenda is constructed. It must
be the wheels on which Nigeria is propelled for strategic relevance.

Among the political class, there have been diverse responses to the call to
restructure. There are those who once championed restructuring but have now
restructured their opinions because they have become part of the system.
They have forgotten that the position they currently occupy is not
permanent. There are those now promising restructuring who did nothing in
that regard while they were in the system. Such politicians face the tall
order of convincing the Nigerian people that restructuring is not a mere
front for their inordinate political ambitions. Then there are those
incumbents who are diametrically opposed to restructuring because they
cannot imagine a Nigeria that is not dependent on petrodollars. I do not
have a moment to spare for such sceptics. Their political extinction is
inevitable because there is no force strong enough to stop an idea whose
time has come.[43]

Instead, let me spare a moment for those who genuinely desire to know how
to restructure; for those influential Nigerians together with whom we must
join forces to wrest our nation from the self-serving political class; and
for the Nigerian electorate who must demand allegiance to restructuring as
a precondition for supporting any party or candidate in the next
elections. For this set of Nigerians, let me, at this time, unveil the
sixteen pragmatic steps towards restructuring Nigeria.[44]

Sixteen Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria
Phase 1: The First Two Years: 2019 – 2021
Step 1: The President, by an executive order and in full consultation with
the National Assembly and the Council of State, shall establish a
Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and
Restructuring.

Step 2: To chair the Presidential Commission, the President shall appoint a
wise and discerning Nigerian who must be incorruptible, of high moral
standing, and of unquestionable integrity, highly respected among national
influencers, able to build bridges among the diverse interest groups in the
country, and willing to serve his/her fatherland without remuneration.

Step 3: The Chairperson shall devolve the Presidential Commission into six
Zonal Commissions and shall appoint for each zone a Zonal Commissioner. The
Zonal Commissioners shall be technocrats mandated to create and implement
masterplans for their respective geo-economic zones and to coordinate the
transition of the economies of the states within the zone into integrated
zonal economies, working closely with the respective state governments.

Step 4: The Presidential Commission will launch a nationwide reconciliation
and reintegration drive and shall creatively communicate the New Nigeria
narrative with a compelling national vision and brand identity.

Step 5: The Commission shall institute a social impact bond for the
implementation of the zonal economic masterplans; the financing scheme
shall be structured into key sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing,
and solid minerals development, as well as the creative, culture and
innovation industries, based on zonal competitive advantage. Education and
human capital development in each zone shall be designed to build capacity
for the socioeconomic and industrial agendas of the respective zones.

Phase 2: The Next 2 Years: 2021 – 2023
Step 6: Through policy harmonisation and coordination, the state
governments will progressively integrate the state economies into zonal
economies. The Zonal Commissions, at this point, will relate to the states
as regional development consultants, midwifing the emergence of six
geo-economic zones in line with the zonal masterplans.

Step 7: As internally generated revenue increases, the federal allocations
disbursed to the states and local councils from the federation account will
be progressively reduced. At the same time, the percentage derivation,
which is the amount of revenue retained by the state from which it was
generated, will be progressively increased by necessary constitutional
alterations.

Step 8: A counterpart funding mechanism will be instituted as a competitive
reward scheme for the zones based on their internal revenue generation
efforts. Access to this counterpart funding will not depend only on the
amount of internal revenue but also on the effort and creativity deployed
in integrating the economies of the states in each zone, especially in
areas of competitive advantage.

Step 9: A series of constitutional alterations will be championed as needed
through the National and State Assemblies. These will progressively devolve
powers to the states so they can have greater control of their economies.
In turn, the states will confer greater powers of consultation on the Zonal
Commissions, such that, on behalf of their client states, the Commissions
can take further steps towards integrating the states in line with the
respective zonal master plans.

Phase 3: The Next 4 Years: 2023 – 2027
Step 10: A series of succession steps will be taken to consolidate the
gains of the first four years. First, the Chairperson of the Presidential
Commission, having been tested with the geo-economic development agenda,
may opt to serve in an elective or appointive capacity. The Presidential
Commission will then be transitioned to the Office of the Prime Minister
dedicated to implementing the regional development agenda. The President,
who will emerge from the 2023 elections, will then appoint a technocrat as
Prime Minister with the ratification of the National Assembly.

Step 11: The federal government, through the office of the Prime Minister,
will begin to reduce its involvement in socio-economic management to that
of a policy standards regulator and facilitator ensuring global best
practices.

Step 12: The states, through the Zonal Commissioners, will continue to
manage socio-economic policies in line with the zonal masterplans, with the
facilitation of the Prime Minister. At this point, the Nigerian economic
map will have taken the shape of 6 geo-economic regions, 36 economic hubs,
and 109 industrial clusters derived from the present senatorial districts.

Step 13: The President, focussing on defence, foreign affairs and national
integration, will begin to geo-strategically position Nigeria in the
international community as an African Great Power.

Phase 4: The Next 4 Years: 2027 – 2031

Step 14: By 2027, this geo-economic and geo-social model, which will have
been in operation for eight years under the 1999 constitution (as amended),
will be codified into a geopolitical framework. The framework will have
geopolitical zones as federating units as well as a modified presidential
system of government. The result will be a new draft constitution that will
have for its preamble the Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and
Integration.[45]

Step 15: Nigerians at home and in the diaspora will be accorded the
opportunity to adopt this framework through a referendum, thereby giving
the people a constitution that will be truly deserving of the introduction,
“We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”

Step 16: The succession plan will, once again, be activated to bring in a
new generation of leaders. This new generation of leaders, who will have
already been integrated into the leadership ecosystem, will continue the
rapid socioeconomic advancement. They will ensure the consolidation and
expansion of Nigeria’s positioning as a global power made up of six
geopolitical zones, each of them more prosperous than Dubai. In due course,
this generation of leaders will, in turn, pass the baton to the next
generation.

I am Running
Fellow Nigerians, there are only two choices in the 2019 elections. Like
our founding fathers, we can, once more, choose the path of nationhood or
find ourselves and our children once again doomed to servitude. As a
patriot and ardent believer in the destiny of our nation, I stand before
you today to challenge you to choose nationhood. Choose nationhood and set
Nigeria free from the shackles of wicked leaders who perpetuate terror with
their errors; choose nationhood and break the chains of political banditry
and economic bondage; choose nationhood and set this nation loose on the
flight to greatness.

Some of you may be asking: How do we choose nationhood? Is nationhood going
to be on the ballot box as we go to the polls in 2019? Is there a candidate
that goes by the name ‘nationhood’? Is there a particular political party
named ‘nationhood’?

A choice for nationhood has nothing to do with any of these. It has nothing
to do with any political party or the political interest of any of the
candidates. To choose nationhood is to put the interest of Nigeria at the
heart of our actions and decisions in 2019 and beyond.

At the beginning of the year, I made known to you what God said to me. I
told you that while waiting on God, the Spirit of God said to me:

“Politics is not over for you. There is still one thing left for you to do:
Run for President…I will work it out Myself and make it happen in due
course.” [46]

Since then, people have read diverse connotations to my declarations. A
number have asked me to flag off my campaign. Politicians from the leading
political parties have approached me with attractive offers. The gentlemen
of the press have inquired as to whether I will run against the incumbent.
My response has always been that I will not run against President Muhammadu
Buhari.

However, fellow Nigerians, on this day, the 7th of October, 2018, I declare
to you that I am running. Yes, I am running. I am running for a united
Nigeria that will birth the New Nigeria. I am running to begin to stir
conversations around the seven-point agenda. I am running to lead Nigerians
in a movement to demand the adoption of the pragmatic steps towards
restructuring Nigeria.

But don’t get it mixed up. I am not running with my name on the ballot
paper; my name is in the Book of Life. I am not running for any office in
the 2019 elections; the doctrine of my election stands sure.[47] I am not
running on the platform of any political party; I am building a political
family.

For those who care to listen, I am the nationhood candidate. I am stepping
in to pitch the unyielding political class against God and His agenda for
our nation. I am stepping in to execute the judgement that is written
against perjurers – those politicians who make promises they have no
intention to fulfil; those who swear oaths of deceit with their hands on
the Bible or the Quran; those oppressors who feed fat on our common
patrimony and return every four years to refill their tanks of deceit;
those who think they have an entire region or state in the palm of their
hands and can play God in the affairs of the nation. I am here to tell
them: Your time is up! And for those who doubt if this will ever happen,
hear the word of the Lord: Isaiah 49:22-26 (NKJV):

22 Thus says the Lord God:

“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;
23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”

24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty,
Or the captives of the righteous be delivered?

25 But thus says the Lord:

“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
And the prey of the terrible be delivered;
For I will contend with him who contends with you,
And I will save your children.
26 I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh,
And they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine. All
flesh shall know

That I, the Lord, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

If you are on the side of the Lord, if you are on the side of truth, if you
are on the side of justice, then take a stand with me for nationhood, as we
march on to victory in 2019 and beyond, to take back our fatherland, to
restore the broken foundations, and to build a great nation.

Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great
in my lifetime!

Thank you for listening, God bless you, and may God bless our nation,
Nigeria.

Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare
Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly (The LRA);
BEING TEXT OF SPEECH BY PASTOR ‘TUNDE BAKARE AT THE STATE OF THE NATION
BROADCAST ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2018.
VENUE: THE LATTER RAIN ASSEMBLY, END-TIME CHURCH, PLOT 4, AKILO ROAD, OFF
OBA AKRAN AVENUE, OGBA, IKEJA, LAGOS, NIGERIA.

THEME: THE ROAD TO 2019: QUO VADIS, NIGERIA?
Protocols.

Fellow Nigerians,

Let me begin by, once again, wishing our beloved country Happy 58th
Independence Anniversary. Indeed, it has been almost six decades since our
founding fathers received the constitutional instruments of independence
from the British Crown and commenced the task of piloting our country’s
journey into nationhood. Speaking fifty-eight years ago as he took the oath
of office, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa said:

“…I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation
proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands
well-built upon firm foundations.”[1]

However, since that address was given, the foundations of our nation have
been tested by strong winds. Barely six years after independence, those
foundations were shaken by the perils of a civil war that claimed the lives
of millions of Nigerians. Through the decades, those foundations have been
battered by waves of ethnic insurrections, militancy and religious crises.
Again and again, those foundations have been pummelled on all sides by the
storms of economic downturn raging through depression, recession, extreme
poverty and appalling living standards. In more recent times, those
foundations have been buffeted by the gale of terrorism, by the floods of
mass kidnappings, and by the destructive hurricane of criminal herdsmen and
cattle rustlers. In addition, over a period of nearly six decades and even
before, those foundations have been compromised by the tsunami of
corruption.

These turbulent episodes have left our dear country holding on for dear
life through the innumerable twists and turns on our journey to nationhood.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously said of Nigeria in
her book, The Downing Street Years, “…Nigeria…is a somewhat artificial
creation.”[2] Nigeria is now a long-term patient in the intensive care unit
of the universe and is in need of round-the-clock care ahead of the journey
into her great future.

However, we must also see the other side of our story so far. The fact that
we have survived these upheavals as one nation is worth an outpouring of
thanksgiving to God. To the amazement of the world, and perhaps even to our
own amazement, we have managed to meander through the most dangerous
junctures in our journey as a nation. We have survived situations that have
ripped other nations apart; we have held on as one nation despite our
challenges. These narrow escapes not only testify to the enduring strength
of the divine purpose for our nation; they also attest to the tenacity of
the Nigerian spirit – the never say die Nigerian spirit. We are survivors!
We are optimists! We are go-getters! We are not quitters! We are Nigerians!

Fellow Nigerians, the survivals of yesterday can become the assurance of a
greater tomorrow if we wisely manage the second chance that today offers
us. As with our forebears, we, too, must now make choices that will shape
the next phase of our national destiny. On January 1, 1901, the area that
makes up present-day Nigeria became a British Protectorate. Thereafter, our
country was subjected to colonial administration for fifty-nine years until
our founding fathers made a critical choice for independent nationhood in
1960. By next year, 2019, it will be another fifty-nine years since
independence. Incidentally, it is an election year; a year in which we will
make critical choices. Almost fifty-nine years after independence, we have
another chance to make destiny-determining choices; choices that will have
significant effects on our nation for the vast remainder of the
twenty-first century. How to manage this second chance at national rebirth
and how to ensure that the right choices are made are the reasons for this
address.

The Road to 2019: Quo Vadis, Nigeria?
Ahead of 2019, the political space is predictably charged. The pre-election
euphoria began with the clarion call from concerned Nigerians across the
nation to every Nigerian of voting age. “Get your PVC!” became the rallying
cry, and many Nigerians have heeded the call and are ready to vote or be
voted for. As a prelude to the general elections, we have seen tightly
contested staggered elections in states such as Anambra, Edo, Ekiti and
Osun. We have also seen the rise of new faces in the political space
challenging the status quo and demanding a seat at the table. We have seen
aspirants become candidates through hotly contested party primary
elections. We have seen the adoption of direct primaries by some political
parties to allow the people decide the candidates to be fielded. These are
indications that Nigerians are bracing up for this
once-in-a-national-lifetime opportunity to shape our future.

Intrigues, Poli-tricks and Electocracies
However, we are again in the season of political intrigues. As the Nigerian
people are staking their claim in the political process, we have also
witnessed deft moves by politicians. The political space is saturated with
news of defections, alignments, realignments, impeachment threats, and
battles between godfathers and godsons. The gladiators have stepped into
the ring and the power blocs have assumed their positions by the ringside,
poised to influence the outcome. Some of such puzzling moves have already
yielded candidates for the political parties. History shows us that as the
election season unfolds further, the waters will become even more muddied.
Betrayals, character assassinations, politically-motivated crimes,
multimillion-dollar patronage, consolidation of election rigging machinery
– these are some of the sharks lying-in-wait in the deep and murky waters
ahead as the political class perfect their plans to take the people on a
joyride to nowhere.

Since the beginning of our electocracy, the strategy of the political class
has been consistent. They spend three years impoverishing the people and
cornering our common patrimony ahead of the next election cycle. As the
election season unfolds, they then deploy their so-called war chests during
massive shopping sprees for votes. Such banditry has become the synonym for
politics in Nigeria. It is why across the nation, from Lagos to Abuja and
from Ilorin to Yola, a few demagogues have continued to hold the country to
ransom.

The recently concluded gubernatorial selection, sorry, election, in Osun
State is a pointer to the ignoble intentions of this political class ahead
of 2019. What a sham, and what a shame. By what constitutional provision or
act of the National Assembly is the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) empowered to cancel election results the way it did in
Osun State? Section 53, subsection 2 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as
amended), which empowers INEC to cancel results, states as follows:

Where the votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceed the number
of registered voters in that polling unit, the result of the election for
that polling unit shall be declared void by the Commission and another
election may be conducted at a date to be fixed by the Commission where the
result of that polling unit may affect the overall result in the
Constituency.[3]

Whether the law is adequate or not, its stance on this matter is clear.
Overvoting is the only legal ground upon which INEC is empowered to cancel
results. Ife North Local Government Area was the only constituency where
overvoting was reported by INEC in Osun State and 353 votes were
affected.[4] Is it sheer coincidence that the difference in votes for the
two leading candidates before the runoff was 353?[5] Is this a case of
daylight rigging as some have cried out?[6] Did we have a rerun in Osun
State or a test run? In the 2015 elections, widespread incidents of card
reader malfunction did not warrant election cancellation; instead, INEC
resorted to manual accreditation.[7] What legal basis has therefore
warranted the Commission’s decisions in Osun State? Ought not the
reasons[8] given by INEC for ordering a rerun in Osun State be matters for
the courts? Or has the umpire become a judge empowered by incumbents to
interpret laws?

Let me state categorically that I have no vested interest in the charade
going on among the political class across the federation. As far as I am
concerned, they are mostly birds of a feather, irrespective of their party
affiliations. In approaching this company of questionable characters, I was
well-taught by my mentor, Dr. Lester Sumrall, of blessed memory, who once
said to me: “Out of two evils, choose none.” When I take on these matters,
I do so as one mandated by a God who does not take sides but takes over
when He steps into the scene. Is it not high time we stopped this
unprecedented electocratic madness?

We go through this cycle every four years and seldom stop to ponder. Like a
mob of zombies, we wander in circles, doing the same thing again and again
and expecting a different result. We do not stop to ask if our wanderings
have translated to the realisation of our national aspirations. Since the
return to civil rule in 1999, INEC has spent N450 billion conducting five
general elections and a number of by-elections.[9] Meanwhile, N143 billion
has been budgeted for the 2019 elections.[10] Yet, we have not stopped to
ask why our nation continues to suffer a staggering leadership deficit
despite the cycle of expensive elections.

Unquestionably, in the last twenty years, we have experienced bouts of
outstanding leadership, particularly by appointment. We have also seen good
intentions and laudable development agendas. Yet, neither the five general
elections nor the wonderful intentions have translated into improved living
conditions for most Nigerians.

Five general elections, yet around 87 million of us are extremely poor,
earning our country the title “Poverty Capital of the World”;[11] five
elections, yet more than 37,500 lives have been claimed by the Boko Haram
menace,[12] 2.4 million of us are internally displaced,[13] more than
228,000 of us are refugees,[14] thousands of us have been kidnapped by
terrorists,[15] and 7.7 million of us require urgent humanitarian
assistance.[16] Five elections, yet millions of us still go to bed hungry
and over 6 million of our infants suffer malnutrition.[17] Five elections,
yet 2,300 children under the age of five, and 145 women of childbearing
age, died yesterday and will die today due to little or no access to
healthcare.[18] Five elections, yet over 13 million of our children are
still out of school,[19] over 90 million of us, half of our entire
population, have no access to electricity supply,[20] and over 108 million
of us are homeless.[21] Five elections, yet our country has one of the
worst infrastructural deficits in the world;[22] needless to say, our roads
are lavishly decorated with potholes and our airports are among the worst
of the worst.[23] Five elections, and most of our 36 states have remained
economic vegetables relying on Abuja for life support, unable to generate
sufficient internal revenue.[24] Indeed, five elections and our paradoxical
underdevelopment continues to confound the world.

Although our economy has grown significantly since 1999,[25] what is the
essence of economic growth if it does not reflect on the tables of
Nigerians? What is economic growth if it only enriches a few and leaves the
rest in abject poverty? In seventeen years, like prodigal sons, we earned
N77 trillion and squandered it.[26] We have incurred another $74.28 billion
worth of debt,[27] barely thirteen years after a debt burden of $18 billion
was lifted off our shoulders.[28] Yet, there is no commensurate development
to show for the debts we are piling up for future generations of Nigerians.
Five general elections, and ours is a tale of increasing poverty and
indebtedness!

Fellow Nigerians, we are better than this! We are better than the
retrogressive pace of one step forward, two steps back. We are better than
this sorry state of national poverty. We are better than this beggarly
nation that we have become. This is not who we are! This is not what God
endowed us to be! We are not beggars, we are not failures, we are not a
burden to the world; we are a blessed nation, we are the hope of Africa, we
are destined to give the world a civilization that will astonish humanity.
We are Nigerians!

Therefore, as we head towards another election, we must be ready to reject
who we are not and reaffirm who we are. To do so, we must interrogate the
process, ponder our progress so far, tell ourselves some home truths as to
the defects in our system, and commence the work of correcting the defects.
And so I ask, great Nigerian patriots: What time is it?

It is time to say no to a defective system that stifles our potential as a
people; it is time to say no to a defective system that throws up the worst
of us for leadership and brings out the worst in the best of us when they
find themselves in leadership; it is time to say no to a defective system
that only breeds defectors! It is time to build systems that serve the
common good, structures that work for every Nigerian, and a nation that
caters to all Nigerians. It is time to make the right choices.

Therefore, on this solemn occasion, on the 7th day of the 7th month of the
Jewish ecclesiastical calendar, I present to Nigerians a seven-point
framework to facilitate robust public discourse on the choices we must make
in the 2019 elections. These seven points must not only become the
yardstick for interrogating the polity at this time; they must also guide
the reflections of those who are sticking their necks out in a bid to
salvage our nation. In addition, these points must challenge incumbents as
they attempt to seek re-election. These pivotal points are milestones on
the journey to 2019.

Milestones on the Journey to 2019
The seven milestones are the Mood, the Man, the Method, the Medium, the
Moment, the Mission, and the Mandate.

First, the mood. We must interrogate the polity in the context of the mood
of the nation. By the mood of the nation, I mean the state of the nation. I
mean the hopes, expectations and aspirations of Nigerians; the pains of
many Nigerians who do not feel the pulse of government in spite of its
self-acclaimed efforts; the anxieties of many Nigerians who do not know
where their next meal will come from; the cries and agonies of Nigerians
who are daily losing loved ones and property to criminality, terrorism,
violence, and vicious killings.

I am talking about the worries of that family man whose children are about
to be sent out of school because his minimum wage is not a living wage and
can barely put food on the table, not to talk of meeting the demands of
school fees.[29] I am talking about the fears of that woman who is about to
be retrenched because her company has been unable to survive the
recession.[30] I am talking about the conundrum of that entrepreneur who
borrowed money to start a business but cannot break even because of the
cost of running a diesel generator; now the loan is long overdue for
repayment, and the creditors have come threatening.[31] I am talking about
the identity crisis of the PhD holder who, after enduring five years
without a job, has opted to become a truck driver alongside thousands of
others who did not have the opportunity to go to secondary school.[32]

By the mood, I mean the questions on the minds of many Nigerians, who
wonder whether there is truly religious freedom in Nigeria when 15-year-old
Leah Sharibu is still being held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to
renounce her Christian faith, while other girls captured along with her
from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, were released
six months ago following the intervention of the federal government.[33] I
mean the outbreak of violence in Jos and the evacuation of hundreds of
university students;[34] I mean the fear and shame on the face of that
farmer in Benue who has since abandoned his farmland to marauding
herdsmen;[35] the despondency of the cattle owner in Zamfara whose
livelihood has been stolen by rustlers;[36] and the resentment of the
father in an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Borno, who cannot tell if
his family members are in Boko Haram’s custody or dead.[37]

By the mood of the nation, I mean the apathy of the electorate who can
neither relate to the self-proclaimed achievements of the governing party
nor the self-interested agitations of the opposition parties. I mean the
reservations of many Nigerians who now suffer from weariness and the latest
epidemic in the country: Politics-induced Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
I mean the restlessness of the majority of the youth population whose
tolerance level regarding the deprivations they face is close to breaking
point. We must interrogate the polity with these realities in mind. Any
politicking that is blind and deaf to the mood of the nation is tantamount
to the anomaly portrayed in Proverbs 25:20 (NKJV):

Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather,

And like vinegar on soda,

Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

To make empty campaign promises ahead of the 2019 elections is to be
insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.

Next, we must interrogate the man. I use the word ‘man’ in the
gender-neutral sense to refer to both men and women. By ‘man,’ I mean the
kind of persons we should select to lead us. To underscore the need to
publicly interrogate those vying for leadership, I am reminded of the
immortal words of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo:

But the competence and character of politicians must of a necessity be
examined in the full glare of public limelight because what is at issue is
the welfare of the community or nation. In the management of private
affairs, a gross mistake would only affect the fortunes of one man or a
family or a small group of persons. A serious error of judgement in the
management of public affairs might adversely affect the lives and fortunes
of millions of people.

For this reason, there is need for the competence and character of public
men to be subjected to severer and stricter scrutiny — and that mainly in
public — than those of persons engaged in private concerns.[38]

Virtually every Nigerian can say a thing or two about the kinds of leaders
Nigeria needs. In a moment, I will tell you my position on the kind of
leaders we need, but let me start by telling you the kind of leaders we
don’t need.

We don’t need leaders who make opportunistic promises before elections,
especially at political rallies, knowing they have no intention to keep
such promises; we don’t need leaders who peddle ‘stomach infrastructure’ so
that they can ‘stomach’ the money that is meant for infrastructure – such
so-called leaders don’t have the heart to lead. We don’t need leaders who
cannot face the Nigerian people in debates among candidates, or have
intelligent conversations on our national problems, or tell us precisely
what they plan to do to solve such problems – such so-called leaders don’t
have the mind to lead. We don’t need leaders who merely daydream or
pontificate about a new nation but cannot do the hard work required to
build that nation – such so-called leaders don’t have the hands to lead.

We need a new breed of leaders. We need leaders who tick the ‘Heart, Head
and Hands’ boxes on the leadership checklist. We need leaders whose hearts
are melted by the cries and agonies of Nigerians and are burdened by the
state of the nation. We need leaders who are not distant from the people
and who are “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15;
NKJV). We need leaders who have the mental fortitude to navigate the
complexities of our national realities and conceive appropriate solutions
to our national dilemmas; we need leaders who possess the power of
execution and the ability to see to it that solutions are effected and
policies implemented – this is the breed of leaders we need in 2019 and
beyond.

Thirdly, we must interrogate the method by which such leaders are produced.
How effective is this electocracy masquerading as a democracy? Does our
current system guarantee the emergence of the best and brightest leaders or
does it constrain us to the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea?
Have we helped ourselves by asking Nigerians to get their PVCs without
paying attention to what happens at the primaries? What have we done at
this time to ensure that after elections, a president or governor is not
surrounded by people who will misadvise or incapacitate him or her? What
safeguards have we put in place to ensure that an elected leader is
surrounded by the right set of lieutenants, including ministers and
advisers? How much consideration have we given to leadership succession?
Beyond 2019, who are those trusted hands in whose care we must place our
beloved nation? How can we begin to position such leaders in the current
dispensation? Every serious political party must place these issues at the
front burner. Any party that is unable to spell out its leadership
selection criteria, as well as its long-term succession plan, should be
rejected by Nigerians.

Fourthly, we must also interrogate the medium, that is, the platforms from
which leadership emerges in our nation. What is the difference between the
major political parties? Does the mess going on during party primaries not
remind us of Abacha’s infamous “five fingers of a leprous hand”?[39] What
informs political alignment and what is responsible for the endless
cross-carpeting? Is it not because the same corrupt blood flows through the
veins of these parties? What kind of leaders can such a system throw up
other than leaders who are mainly motivated by an unbridled lust for power?
How can we midwife political party formation to ensure the emergence of
platforms built on integrity, unmistaken ideologies and uncompromising
commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians? This takes me to the concept of
The Political Family, which I have spoken about extensively in the
past.[40] In essence, a political family is a group of stakeholders
transcending ethnic, religious and political affiliations. It is a group of
patriots bound by a common DNA, which is the shared commitment to a
Distinct Nationhood Agenda. I call on Nigerians to take a stand with me in
the coming days as I pioneer one of such families in 2019 and beyond with
the sole aim of taking our nation back to her pride of place in the
community of nations.

This brings me to the next critical point – the moment. Every nation has
what, in the biblical lexicon, is referred to as its “time of
visitation.”[41] It is that point in history when our great God beams His
attention on a particular nation and transits it from obscurity to
prominence in order to accomplish His purpose for humanity at that time. It
is why kingdoms have risen, and kingdoms have fallen, empires have emerged,
and empires have collapsed; we have seen nations deplete their resources
and others transit “from Third World to First.”[42] At the heart of the
transitions of these nations were men and women whose time of manifestation
coincided with the time of visitation of their nation. I am convinced that
this is the moment for Africa, and that Nigeria is at the pivot of this
turning point in history. I believe that our heart-breaking national
challenges, including the violence threatening our national foundations,
and the confusion among the political class, are birth pangs heralding a
new nation. It is the cry for the emergence of the men and women of the
moment – men and women who can step in at this moment to begin the process
of transitioning our nation from the status quo to greatness. Therefore,
the politics of 2019 must be about galvanising such men and women of the
moment around an idea whose time has come. Anything short of this is
unacceptable.

This takes me to the mission. The mission is the idea around which the men
and women of the moment must galvanise towards the birth of a new nation.
It is more than a manifesto; it is the developmental model founded upon a
great vision that must propel our nation to prominence. I am convinced that
for Nigeria, the idea whose time has come is the restructuring of our
nation. Restructuring must be the overarching mission around which the
social, economic and political development agenda is constructed. It must
be the wheels on which Nigeria is propelled for strategic relevance.

Among the political class, there have been diverse responses to the call to
restructure. There are those who once championed restructuring but have now
restructured their opinions because they have become part of the system.
They have forgotten that the position they currently occupy is not
permanent. There are those now promising restructuring who did nothing in
that regard while they were in the system. Such politicians face the tall
order of convincing the Nigerian people that restructuring is not a mere
front for their inordinate political ambitions. Then there are those
incumbents who are diametrically opposed to restructuring because they
cannot imagine a Nigeria that is not dependent on petrodollars. I do not
have a moment to spare for such sceptics. Their political extinction is
inevitable because there is no force strong enough to stop an idea whose
time has come.[43]

Instead, let me spare a moment for those who genuinely desire to know how
to restructure; for those influential Nigerians together with whom we must
join forces to wrest our nation from the self-serving political class; and
for the Nigerian electorate who must demand allegiance to restructuring as
a precondition for supporting any party or candidate in the next
elections. For this set of Nigerians, let me, at this time, unveil the
sixteen pragmatic steps towards restructuring Nigeria.[44]

Sixteen Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria
Phase 1: The First Two Years: 2019 – 2021
Step 1: The President, by an executive order and in full consultation with
the National Assembly and the Council of State, shall establish a
Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and
Restructuring.

Step 2: To chair the Presidential Commission, the President shall appoint a
wise and discerning Nigerian who must be incorruptible, of high moral
standing, and of unquestionable integrity, highly respected among national
influencers, able to build bridges among the diverse interest groups in the
country, and willing to serve his/her fatherland without remuneration.

Step 3: The Chairperson shall devolve the Presidential Commission into six
Zonal Commissions and shall appoint for each zone a Zonal Commissioner. The
Zonal Commissioners shall be technocrats mandated to create and implement
masterplans for their respective geo-economic zones and to coordinate the
transition of the economies of the states within the zone into integrated
zonal economies, working closely with the respective state governments.

Step 4: The Presidential Commission will launch a nationwide reconciliation
and reintegration drive and shall creatively communicate the New Nigeria
narrative with a compelling national vision and brand identity.

Step 5: The Commission shall institute a social impact bond for the
implementation of the zonal economic masterplans; the financing scheme
shall be structured into key sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing,
and solid minerals development, as well as the creative, culture and
innovation industries, based on zonal competitive advantage. Education and
human capital development in each zone shall be designed to build capacity
for the socioeconomic and industrial agendas of the respective zones.

Phase 2: The Next 2 Years: 2021 – 2023
Step 6: Through policy harmonisation and coordination, the state
governments will progressively integrate the state economies into zonal
economies. The Zonal Commissions, at this point, will relate to the states
as regional development consultants, midwifing the emergence of six
geo-economic zones in line with the zonal masterplans.

Step 7: As inter