By Dapo Akinrefon
Lagos—Senior Pastor, Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare has said that with Nigeria currently in the midst of the predicted socio-economic and political quagmire, a re-examination of the configuration of her nationhood, among others is urgently needed.
He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to institute a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring that will midwife a process of constitutional rebirth, culminating in a new constitution.
Bakare said this yesterday, in his State of the Nation address to mark the 27th anniversary of establishment of the church, pointing out that the time had come, once again, to ask whether Nigeria was appropriately configured to survive present and coming upheavals, not to talk of fulfilling her great destiny.
Flaws of 1999 constitution
This was just as he contended that the 1999 Constitution was hurriedly put together by the military without the input of Nigerians, recalling that the clean copy of the document was only ready after President Obasanjo and governors, who served under him had long been sworn into office.
Bakare said the presidential commission, which should comprise of highly respected opinion leaders of high moral standing and unquestionable integrity, and having bridge-building antecedents, should also be mandated to undertake other critical assignment for the country, while working closely with stakeholders and power blocs, as well as legislative houses.
According to him, the commission should be mandated to “create a new national identity for the Nigerian people; promote forgiveness and reconciliation among contentious interest groups in Nigeria; foster the integration of the diverse sectional groups in Nigeria into true nationhood; facilitate the creation of an acceptable governmental structure for the country; and midwife a process of constitutional rebirth that will culminate in a referendum by which the people will adopt a new constitution.”
2014 national conference
This was just as the man of God suggested that the report of the 2014 National Conference, with its Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Integration, will provide a ready-made operational springboard for the team to work on.
The Pastor, maintained that the national rebirth process could go on seamlessly alongside socio-economic development.
According to him; ‘’The socio-economic development should be championed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led economic team, while the national security and anti-corruption strategy should be headed by the President himself.
“However, within the allowance provided by the current constitution until it is replaced, socio-economic development and national security strategies will be channelled in line with the cutting-edge national philosophy from which the new constitutional order will emerge.
“Very importantly, this process will also result in the adoption of a long-term constitutionally-backed national vision that will subsequently guarantee accurate succession as well as guide policy-making for many generations, irrespective of the party in power. Partisan elections and leadership selection will then be based on determining which political party and which candidates have the best strategies to achieve the national vision. That is the pathway to the New Nigeria.”
Speaking on the current power configuration in the country, Bakare stated that power must be devolved to the levels of government closest to the people at the grassroots, maintaining that was the best way to deliver public goods to the people.
“Central to the delivery of public goods is the devolution of powers. Political power is the vehicle through which economic value is allocated. Therefore, power must be devolved to the levels of government that are closest to the people and that can best deliver public goods.
“Political power must then be used to facilitate the development of clusters. Clusterisation arises from the need to factor into the value creation process the cultural, geo-economic and bio-geographical peculiarities of the various sub-national entities as well as the need to create competitive economies of scale. This necessitates the formation of zonal or regional structures.”
“The zonal blocs will become distributors of governance, channelling good governance to states which will act as wholesalers. Local governments, functioning as retailers of governance, will deliver public goods directly to the grassroots,” he said.
While recalling that the idea of a new Nigeria, built on the pillars of righteousness and peace, among others, had always been canvassed by successive leaders but had failed to materialise up till, Bakare said President Buhari had the opportunity now to leave a legacy of a new Nigeria, even as he prayed he got the priorities and strategies right.
“President Buhari has the opportunity to leave a legacy of a new Nigeria. I pray he gets the priorities and strategies right,” he said.
“It is obvious to all that there is a new sheriff in town and that this is not an era of business as usual. Now, all that is required to give Nigeria a national rebirth is the political will of a president who enjoys a great deal of respect from the Nigerian people, including those who do not support him,” Bakare added.