The Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday, urged President Bola Tinubu to root out the corruption that has bedevilled the nation’s economy and save Nigerians from sufferings.
“Mr President, even though you have announced some palliatives, let me remind you that palliatives cannot address the root cause of the problem,” Bakare said in an ideologically charged “State of the Nation” address broadcast on Sunday.
“Therefore, we demand that you address the root cause of the problem. Take the yoke off the neck of the poor, go after the loot, recover the loot, and retool it to the benefit of Nigerians. In simple terms, Mr President, kill corruption, not Nigerians.”
Bakare’s comments echoed sentiments across the country, which have played out in a shortlived nationwide protest and protracted negotiations between organised labour and the Federal Government, following fuel price hikes occasioned by the removal of subsidies and the rising cost of living.
In reaction, the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ajibola Basiru, questioned Bakare’s competence to criticise such economic decisions by the President.
“I must quickly comment on what you played that Pastor Bakare said, although I don’t see him as a politician and, with respect to him, I don’t see him as even competent to say what he has said,” Basiru said.
“The fact that you are talking of palliatives does not mean that we’re not confronting the headlong of correcting the dysfunctions and imbalances in the economy. So, we’re both addressing the issue of palliative as an immediate step and addressing the fundamental problem.”
Alongside former Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, former Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and 12 other aspirants, Bakare contested the APC presidential primary on June 7, 2022, which Tinubu won.
‘Emefiele Must Not Be Made A Scapegoat’
Bakare also said even though the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, may have made wrong judgement calls in the management of Nigeria’s monetary policy, he must not be made a scapegoat by the Federal Government.
He said that considering the provisions of the CBN Act 2007, there is every possibility that the erstwhile CBN governor did not act without presidential authorisation.
While the cleric maintained that Emefiele should be prosecuted if found guilty of any crime, he noted that events before the 2023 presidential election pointed to the direction of political vendetta against the suspended CBN governor by Tinubu.