BEING TEXT OF SPEECH BY PASTOR TUNDE BAKARE,
AT THE WATER GATE SUMMIT,
ON SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2018.
VENUE: THE LATTER RAIN ASSEMBLY, END-TIME CHURCH,
4, AKILO ROAD, OFF OBA AKRAN AVENUE,
OGBA, IKEJA, LAGOS, NIGERIA.
THEME: NIGERIA: WHAT NEXT?
SCRIPTURAL TEXT: NEHEMIAH 8:1-12 (NKJV)
As with Ezra who stood on a pulpit to awaken the nation of Israel to its history and destiny, I stand here today to awaken your spirits to the times that are upon us, and to challenge you to rise to accept the weight of responsibility that has been thrust upon us as a people in these unfolding times. I am confident that God will deposit in your hearts a dose of patriotic zeal that will set you ablaze for His glory and usher in a revolution of good governance in our land.
As we read in Nehemiah 8, at the open square in front of the Water Gate, the nation of Israel was brought before the priestly anointing resident in Ezra and the priests on the one hand, and the kingly anointing resident in Nehemiah, on the other hand, and national revival was the outcome. The Water Gate encounter is reflective of the ministry to which we have been called. It is a confluence of the priestly and kingly dimensions of the anointing. It is written of the One who called us in Hebrews 7:17:
17For He testifies:
You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.
There are three distinct priesthoods in the entire Bible, namely:
The Melchizedek Priesthood
The Priesthood of Midian (the father-in-law of Moses)
The Aaronic Priesthood
The Melchizedek Priesthood is different from the Aaronic priesthood in that Melchizedek was both priest and king. See Hebrews 7:1-3:
1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, meaning king of peace, 3without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
As I have taught in times past, it is to the Melchizedek priesthood that we have been called. Proof is not farfetched. In Romans 5:17, Apostle Paul asserted the same truth:
17 For if by the one mans offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Apostle Paul also concurred in his letter to the seven churches which are in Asia in Revelation 1:4-6:
4John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
He further stated the domain of our reign in Revelation 5:8-10:
8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.
Brothers and sisters, governance is a core component of the ministry God has committed to our hands; it is an inextricable part of our DNA as children of God. At the inception of The Latter Rain Assembly, God promised to bring kings and queens into our fold. Brothers and sisters, you are the kings and queens. It is time to rise up and take your place in governance in our nation as we birth the agenda of heaven on earth. That is why we are here today.
Restoring Sanity to Our Nation
Our nation is in the valley of decision as we are about to go down a well-travelled road that has consistently led us deeper and deeper into a maze of confusion. However, I am certain that this meeting will go down in history as a tipping point in the restoration of sanity to our polity. Many of you have heard it said, that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. If we accept this working definition, it should be clear to all and sundry that the experience of our nation in the last two decades necessitates urgent examination.
Since the return to civil rule in 1999, our nation has been caught up in what I call the hypnocratic spell of an electocracy masquerading as a democracy. While I am not a political scientist, I will do my best to simplify these concepts. I will begin by explaining the term hypnocratic. The word hypnocratic is an adjective derived from a combination of the word hypnosis and the suffix cratic. A dictionary definition of hypnosis is:
the induction of a state of consciousness in which a person apparently loses the power of voluntary action and is highly responsive to suggestion or direction.
-cratic, on the other hand, relates to any particular kind of government or rule, such as democratic, autocratic, and so on. Therefore, the term hypnocratic refers to the hypnotic effect of a particular kind of government, which induces a state where citizens are unable to think for themselves. In this regard, a hypnocrat is said to be any political representative who tells their constituency exactly what they want to hear:
All campaign promises can be described as hypnocratic (when) the sole purpose is not to set up a realistic to do list once office is reached but rather, to garner support among one’s political base. Essentially any time a politician is engaging in the act of promising action as opposed to actively following through, (that politician is said to be a hypnocrat).
You will soon find out whether or not this is applicable to Nigeria, but let me first differentiate between democracy and electocracy:
The term democracy first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought in the city-state of Athens during classical antiquity. The word comes from demos, common people and kratos, strength.
Simply put, democracy is a system of government where power is derived from the people and is exercised by representatives chosen by the people. This is why, centuries after the term first appeared, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, defined democracy as the government of the people, by the people, for the people
It was Victor Hugo who said, and I paraphrase, No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come. Therefore, two centuries after Lincoln, democracy has become the prevailing political philosophy of our time. All over the world, democracy, especially multi-party democracy, is regarded as the gold standard by which political governance is measured and we have seen autocracies give way to this moving train. Around the world, more and more citizens are demanding and, in some cases, fighting, for the right to participate in their governance processes.
According to Democracy Index, an index of democratic governance compiled by the UK-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), there are 115 democracies in the world. However, while 19 of these countries are ranked as full democracies, 57 are adjudged flawed due to infractions such as media infringement. The rest are described as hybrid democracies because elections are neither free nor fair. By now you may be wondering whether Nigeria is considered a full democracy or not. Bear with me we will get to that shortly.
Before I comment on the Nigerian experience, there is evidence around the world that democracy is a conundrum that simultaneously raises and frustrates peoples hopes. This inherent flaw in the democratic process is woven into the very definition of democracy handed down to us by its protagonists. Please, put on your thinking cap with me for a moment. Where in the world do citizens literally experience the government of the people, for the people and by the people? Where do you have democracies where the citizens are in charge of governance, acting for themselves, and on behalf of themselves? The fact is, this privilege is solely reserved for supposedly elected representatives of the people.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that in climes where the Voice Of The Electorate (V.O.T.E.) counts when the votes are counted, democracy can offer citizens a prime opportunity to give voice to issues that concern them. However, what happens after each election cycle determines whether democracy is tangible in its outworkings or a mirage. This brings me to the Nigerian case. On the Democracy Index, Nigerias democracy is categorised as hybrid, the kind of democracy that is characterised by:
pressure on political opponents, non-independent judiciarieswidespread corruption, harassment and pressure placed on the media, anemic rule of lawunderdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.
Out of 115 democracies, Nigeria occupies the 109th position. This reflects the frustration of the Nigerian people with the system because what we have practiced since 1999 is an illusionary and frustrating democracy which, in reality, is an electocracy, defined as:
a political system where citizens are able to vote for their government but cannot participate directly in governmental decision making and where the government does not share any power. In contrast to democracy where citizens are able to participate in the making of decisions that affect them, electocracy sees decision-making limited to an elected individual or group who may then govern in an arbitrary and unaccountable manner until the next election. [Emphasis mine]
Mark that phrase, until the next election. Fellow Nigerians, an electocracy is a system of government that runs on the fuel of elections. Electocracy thrives where a nation is deprived of statesmanly leadership; it thrives where government at every level is dominated by politicians who are clueless when it comes to laying a foundation for the next generation but full of creative ingenuity when it comes to preparing for the next elections.
An electocratic nation is one in which public policy is subject to the whims and caprices of powerful political interests; a nation where incumbents, realising that politics is a game of numbers, and that they rode to power on the back of ignorance, make policy decisions that keep the majority of the populace in the prison of ignorance so they can continue to have a ready army of uninformed voters under the control of a politico-religious complex.
An electocracy is a nation where power mongers who have lost out on the power equation deceive the people with promises they know they cannot keep, in order to retain the power they know they have no interest in wielding in the interest of the people. An electocracy exists where the mob is lord and the thinker is foe. It is a nation consumed by political apathy, a land of idiots ruled by fools, a land where the intelligentsia have turned Plato the philosopher into Plato the prophet by justifying his assertion that one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
In addition, an electocracy can also be a land where good men and women, because they are fed up with the status quo, set reason aside and join the bandwagon that puts the cart of elections before the horse of strong foundations and institutions, plunge into the electoral space, and become enmeshed in compromises they cannot wriggle out of, just to obtain political power they cannot wield because their hands are tied. Fellow Nigerians, electocracy is the true name of Nigerias so-called democracy. Electocracy has been the defining theme of our recent political history; electocracy, not democracy, has been the Nigerian story from 1999 till date.
In 1999, it was the story of a general brought out of prison to lead the nation so as to douse the tension caused by the annulment of free and fair elections conducted six years prior a general who had to spend the first four years learning to ride the horse. In 2003, it was the story of the same president who made compromises to obtain another four years, which he spent battling those with whom he had compromised. In 2007, it was the story of a tag team that would have plunged Nigeria into constitutional crisis in 2010 but for the revival of social mobility as the people rose up on the platform of Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and other civil society organisations to demand respect for the constitution. In 2011, it was the story of sentiments over competence and ethnically motivated choices over the best and the brightest.
That same year, 2011, it was the story of an election that divided the nation along ethnic fault lines into red states in the South and blue states in the North. In 2015, it became the story of compromise and alliances with promises of change that have so far left Nigerians shortchanged. Since then, it has been the story of three years of struggle with governance and an unfolding year of political hypnosis that is set to, once again, turn the attention of Nigerians away from the foundational matters to another cycle of elections. That is the story of our electocracy since 1999, the features of which can be summarised as Ten Dark Shades of our Democracy.
The Ten Dark Shades of our Electocracy
Since 1999, we have had five elections and almost every election has been characterised by the following ten ds:
Dread: The palpable fear that has characterised election periods in Nigeria since 1999 reached its zenith prior to the 2015 elections as the world watched in suspense as Nigeria escaped disaster by a hairs breadth;
Death: Our elections have been characterised by political assassinations as well as voter killings during and after elections;
Destruction: Election-related violence since 1999 has led to significant destruction of property and livelihoods;
Division: Indeed, since the pre-independence era, our ideologically empty elections have divided our nation along fragile ethnic and religious lines; this became most glaring in 2011 and 2015;
Deception: With politicians promising to build bridges where there are no rivers, our elections have often provided smooth-tongued politicians the opportunity to deceive and mislead Nigerian voters on a journey to nowhere;
Delusion: The three years between every election cycle have often left the majority of our people economically depressed, distressed and discontent; hence, many Nigerians see election periods as their once-in-four-years opportunity to partake of the delusive notions of dividends of democracy and stomach infrastructure;
Developmental Stagnation: Since 1999, apart from 2003 when the US invasion of Iraq raised oil prices astronomically, virtually every election year has been marked by weak economic indicators such as per capita GDP due to the fundamental flaw in our economic structure;
Debt: The year 2008, a year after the 2007 elections, shook the Nigerian economy to its core as banks reeled from bad debt. That year, we hid under the carpet of the global financial crisis; in 2016, a year after the 2015 elections, we suffered a recession and hid under the umbrella of one finger as we blamed oil prices. What we have failed to admit is that our economy has often caved in to the stress of our values-deprived and money-driven elections;
The Dapchi Syndrome: From Chibok in 2014 to Dapchi in 2018, a new trend is arising in Nigeria where, one year to elections, hapless and innocent secondary school girls become pawns in a political chess game;
Detachment: Despite repeated elections, the Nigerian people have remained detached from the political space since 1999 such that apathy prevails and those in the minority hold sway. For instance, during the 2015 elections, despite the apparent enthusiasm on election day, voter turnout in the general elections was merely 43.65%.
The result of our electocracy is that Nigeria has made no significant progress since 1999. In 1999, there were reportedly 80 million Nigerians living below the poverty line. After five elections, the number of poor people has risen by an additional 32 million, roughly the equivalent of the population of Canada. Between 1999 and 2000, unemployment hovered around 13%; after five elections, it is now over 18%. How, then, has the election cycle benefitted Nigerians? The story is the same with respect to security; after five elections, terrorism and kidnapping have attained a new high. It is obvious that something is fundamentally wrong and that our electocracy cannot deliver good governance. It would be sheer insanity to continue on this road and expect a different result. This is why the sons of God must arise, but what exactly must the sons of God do when they arise? Join political parties? Jump into the fray?
Political Parties as the Merchants of Our Electocracy
There is no doubt that the vast majority of Nigerians have not benefitted much from the five election cycles we have experienced since 1999. Yet, there have been beneficiaries for whom the last few decades have been cycles of boom. These are the politicians and their institutional vehicles known as political parties. However, political parties in and of themselves are not the problem; indeed, we need political parties to secure power to serve the public good and to establish Gods purposes for our nation. Basically, people join political parties for four main reasons:
To have a platform to aspire for political office in order to serve the public;
To contribute to the development of party politics in a democracy;
To enjoy pecuniary benefits accruing from being a loyal party member by way of contracts, opportunities and political contacts of influence; and
The most important for me as a Christian: to use politics and political parties as platforms to promote Kingdom agendas on earth; such agendas as justice, equity and fair play, especially in the distribution of national resources, so that the gap between the rich and the poor can be bridged and the weak and the vulnerable are protected.
However, the typical Nigerian politician, who is the lifeblood of our electocracy, is motivated either by the quest for power just for the sake of power or the pecuniary rewards of partisan politics. The bane of partisan politics in Nigeria is the fact that primordial interests override any cross-cutting nation-building objective. Apparently, the current major parties were founded with the intention of serving the people but have evidently lost the plot somewhere along the line, perhaps because they were infiltrated or hijacked by opportunists who do not share the founding vision. I am, therefore, persuaded that the biggest problem in Nigerias partisan political experience is that politics has been left to those who lack the values and competences for governance. It is why we lack values-based politics; it is why our political parties lack a defining ideology; it is why our politicians are nothing but political pendulums oscillating from one political party to another while the parties themselves have split into factions. These shoddy political arrangements have not served the nation well hitherto and cannot therefore act as bridge to the future we desire.
The unsatisfactory state of our nation and the contrastingly great destiny that beckons call for a different type of political association; it calls for political organisations that are rooted in strong value systems; it demands political alignments around a distinct agenda. Fellow Nigerians, what our nation needs at this crucial moment where our national destiny is at stake is a new kind of political organisation: the Political Family.
The Political Family
Let me state upfront that the concept of a political family is not synonymous with the language one hears among politicians in political parties when they seek to cover up their inadequacies and inefficiencies. When a member is accused of corruption or gross misconduct, you hear politicians classify it as a family affair as they sweep the matter under the carpet. It is not this brotherhood of banditry I am advocating. Some also see political families as political dynasties from which leaders arise from generation to generation, such as the Kennedy and Bush families in the United States. That, too, is not the kind of political family I am referring to.
By design, a family is the central organising principle of nature. Those who have watched the Discovery Channel can attest to this. Ladies and gentlemen, politics is no exception. A political family is a group of persons bound by a common DNA. In biology, DNA (or deoxyribonucleic acid) is a threadlike chain of chemicals called nucleotides, which contain genetic instructions that regulate the growth, structure, function, and, to an extent, behaviour of an organism. The nucleotide or threadlike chain in the biological DNA is built on four bases. Members of a biological family have related DNAs.
In the political family, the DNA is the value thread that runs through the political organisation. A son may decide to leave his family and join another; he can change his family name if he so desires, but he cannot change the fact that he is connected to his biological family by DNA. In like manner, even though members of a political family could be members of different political parties, they would still be connected by DNA.
In the political family, DNA is what I call the Distinct Nationhood Agenda (DNA) that unites all the individuals in a given cluster. It is distinct in the sense that, as is the case with biological DNA, it is unique to the individuals bound by the same life-blood of values. It is the shared conception and understanding of the preferred configuration of the values, the structure, the institutional frameworks, and the governmental order suitable for the given nation. Like the four bases of the biological DNA, these four basic components of the political DNA the values, the structure, the institutional frameworks and the governmental order are captured in the constitution. Basically, members of a political family are in agreement in respect of the configuration of these elements because two cannot work together unless they agree.
Those intending to enter the political terrain must consider joining a political family or starting their own families, which they can then lead, nurture and expand. Family breeds loyalty and mutual support two critical ingredients for success in politics. Politics, of course, also requires massive people support and this support is better generated from within a political family.
Unlike biological families, which are basically ethnic and geographical in nature, political families go beyond the borders of religion, tribe, language and geography. The common interest that connects the members of a political family is a shared understanding of whys and hows of capturing political power and sharing political opportunities, not in the interest of personal aggrandisement, but to ensure that the frameworks of state are under the influence and control of those who share a similar view as to the appropriate configuration of the basic frameworks.
Fellow Nigerians, having laid this background, I shall now proceed to unveil to you the political family that I am inspired by God in this season to create and to invite you to join me in this great vision for the sake of our nation, for your sake, for the sake of your children and mine, and for the sake of generations yet unborn. First, I need to clarify certain issues regarding the PTB 4 Nigeria brand.
PTB 4 Nigeria
On the first day of January this year, I shared with you Gods words to me as I waited in His presence:
Politics is not over for you. There is still one thing left for you to do: Run for PresidentI will work it out Myself and make it happen in due course.
Thereafter, on January 14, in an address titled It Is Time to Renegotiate Our Union, I further clarified to you what has become known as the twelfth prophecy. Following that address and the video projecting the Nigeria of Our Dreams prepared in conjunction with the Congress for Professionals, momentum began to build around the PTB 4 Nigeria movement.
It has been my privilege to wear many hats as a pastor, entrepreneur, and nation builder. Among my several hats, I am, by Gods grace, the Chairman of the International Centre for Reconstruction & Development (ICRD) established since 2007, the Convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) registered in 2010, and I am also the Patron of the Congress of Professionals in Nigeria and the diaspora, just to mention a few.
The Congress of Professionals, alongside the Labour Direct Group, in particular, became actively involved on the platform of PTB 4 Nigeria following the State of the Nation live broadcast on the 14th of January 2018. I understand that some of you have registered on their platform.
While we appreciate their tremendous efforts, I have had to counsel the leadership of the Congress of Professionals to separate the PTB 4 Nigeria platform from that of the Congress of Professionals to eliminate any form of confusion down the line as we mobilise for the future of our countrys development.
Consequently, as I have done elsewhere, especially in the UK, I would like to affirm here what we have agreed upon: that the two are not the same. While I encourage professionals who would like to contribute their quota towards the development of our nation to freely do so in any and every way they deem fit, including joining the Congress of Professionals, we do not want to burden those who do so with an assumption that they are automatically part of the PTB 4 Nigeria movement. Having stated that, I am pleased to announce to you that the PTB 4 Nigeria movement is birthing a political family that will bring together a local and international network of progressives.
Our Political Family
On October 10, 2017, as the entire nation was engrossed in the discourse around what, at that time, was the buzzword, I delivered a speech titled Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria. I unveiled our ten-year agenda towards a progressive reconfiguration of our nation. It is interesting that, months later, hardly do we hear anyone talk about restructuring anymore. The focus has shifted from redressing foundational gaps, to the reductive PVC-isation of politics ahead of another election cycle. The elections are the talking points for majority of the movements and coalitions springing up all around us.
Even among those touting restructuring in their political agenda, there is no visible concerted effort in the direction of a long-term commitment to a fundamental re-conceptualisation and re-negotiation of the Nigerian state. Thus, once the furore of elections wanes and movements predictably lose momentum, Nigerians will once again be faced with the daily realities of a nation that is structured to fail.
Few months into this administration, we presented a framework that would have helped the government implement the pragmatic approach. For years, we expected the government to act to no avail. Unsurprisingly, about a year to the 2019 elections, while the president kept insisting that restructuring was not the need of the hour, the ruling party instituted a committee that has now made recommendations towards certain constitutional amendments. Not only does the output fall short of the geo-economic, geo-social, geo-political and geo-strategic elements of the pragmatic approach, there is no demonstration of the conviction or political gravitas required to see it through. Other than this being a mere campaign agenda and the machinery of hypnocratic politicians masquerading as progressives, there is no guarantee that the current government is prepared to restructure this nation.
Fellow Nigerians, I am here to announce to you that the time has come for the true progressives to arise; the time has come for the true progressives to say enough is enough to political hypnosis; the time has come for the true progressives to get out of their caves; the time has come to drive out the political Jezebels who have enchanted the nation hitherto. Fellow Nigerians, it is time to take our country back. We are stepping in to shape the national conversation beyond elections and to begin to lay the groundwork for the restructuring of this nation. We are going to every nook and cranny of this nation with our agenda and our message.
John F. Kennedy was allegedly once asked: What does one need to succeed in politics? He replied: There are only three things you need to succeed in politics: Number 1: money; number 2: money; number 3: money. Fellow Nigerians, we have only three points on our agenda: Number 1: restructuring; number 2: restructuring; number 3: restructuring.
Therefore, our DNA our Distinct Nationhood Agenda is simple. It is: Restructuring for a United Nigeria (RUN). For those wondering what I was going to do when I said at the beginning of the year that I was going to run, now you have it: Restructuring for a United Nigeria RUN is the cause I am set to advance.
Ladies and gentleman, I am running: I am leading a movement called the New Nigeria Progressive Movement (NNPM) and our mandate is Restructuring for a United Nigeria (RUN). By the grace of God, we shall RUN to every facet of our national existence. We shall RUN to the professional groups, to the business community and to policy groups in every sector; we shall RUN to the campuses and to the youths of this nation in every city; we shall RUN to the grassroots, to the market women, to the artisans, to the small business owners and to hardworking Nigerians in every local government area; we shall RUN with this one compelling message: Restructuring for a United Nigeria (RUN). We shall RUN from Nigeria to the rest of Africa; we shall RUN to Europe; we shall RUN to America; we shall RUN to Asia; we shall RUN to Australia; we shall mobilise a new army of progressive forces from every country that hosts a Nigerian to join forces with progressive forces at home in Nigeria, in readiness to take the nation by storm.
By the grace of God, we shall champion the reintegration of the diverse groups of Nigerians into a true Nigerian identity until every Nigerian is proud to say, I am Nigerian; we shall reconcile warring groups with our message until every Nigerian sees other Nigerians not as enemies but as fellow compatriots in the call to build a great nation; we shall spearhead the reorientation of every Nigerian until at least 50 million Nigerians will rise up to say: NO to the hypnocratic spell of an electocracy masquerading as a democracy! We shall ensure that the members of our political family, the best and the brightest with the skill and competence to lead the reconstruction of our nation in line with our Distinct Nationhood Agenda (DNA), emerge to lead our nation. Therefore, in due course, our political family shall provide the political vehicle by which such leaders shall emerge.
Why You Must Be a Part of This Family
Brothers and sisters, friends who have joined me on this journey of destiny, none is more qualified than you to lead this revolution with me. Like the ragtag army of David who became mighty men, you have stood with me through this journey of destiny, and we are now in the final battle to usher in the New Nigeria. Who among you is coming with me to take the crown of victory?
My objective today has been to prepare you ahead. In the days to come, we shall be unveiling the structure of the movement and announcing to you the various units in which you can function as we begin a revolution that will usher in the New Nigeria. By the grace of God in whose Name we advance, Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed and Nigeria will be great in our lifetime. Amen.
Thank you for your time and presence this evening; God bless you, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Pastor Tunde Bakare
Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly (LRA);
Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG).