By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
REACTIONS have continued to trail recent pronouncement by the founder/Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare that he would be running for president of Nigeria based on divine directive.
While speaking to his congregation during New Year’s Eve service at the Latter Rain Assembly in the Ogba area of Lagos State, the renowned televangelist revealed that God wants him to run despite his plan to quit politics for good.
He was, however, not specific about whether he would be running for next year’s presidential elections, but just urged the congregation to pray for him and promised to update them. It will be recalled that Pastor Bakare entered the political foray in 2011 when he was picked as the running mate of current President Muhammadu Buhari, on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) during the 2011 presidential election which he lost to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
When asked to comment on the development, the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Musa Asake simply said: “Let’s wait to see. If God has ordained him to be the president, fine, it’s next year, so let’s wait and see. I don’t know how they read their bible. The Bible is very clear. Anybody who says he’s a prophet and prophesies and it doesn’t come to pass, the Bible stated that you take him out of the city and stone him.
“These people that are just making a name and playing with God’s name, they don’t know that when their end begins to crumble, they will have no place to stay. It was the same God that asked him to run with Muhammadu Buhari in 2011 and they didn’t win, so, why then will he declare that God sent him? Don’t let me think his God is different from the God we worship. That’s not my God,” Asake stated.
The CAN Scribe emphasized that “there’s nowhere my God has said anything and it failed. These people must be serving a small letter god. God asked him to run with Buhari and that they were going to make it, finally he did not. Buhari later picked another pastor, Yemi Osinbajo. Maybe he was wishing they would have picked him but it was the same God that was misdirecting him. And now God is bringing him back again so we will wait to see that God again next year God willing.”
The immediate past Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Most Rev. Sunday Ola Makinde also responded by adopting the wait-and-see stand, saying if Bakare is the Moses that will take the nation into the Promised Land, it will soon be obvious to all Nigerians.
According to him, if God had told Bakare to come out of retirement, “let him go to the field and try. I’m not saying God does not call anybody. The only thing he needs to do is to go to the field and present himself and see if people will vote for him. Let him go and then show us his manifesto and see if he’s the savior of Nigeria; we will know because what we know is his manifesto. He has been in politics ever since. I will not say no but Nigerians will decide. This time 2019, God will decide for us and Nigeria will be His instrument.”
Asked whether such proclamations actually represent the mind of God, the retired Prelate said: “That’s why I said let him present himself to Nigerians first, let us know his political party. It’s not enough to say God has said I will be the president. There are certain steps you have to take before people will believe your prophecy. Which party do you belong to? What political ideology do you have? What are your manifestos to bring Nigeria out of the woods? I want a savior, somebody who will bring us out of slavery. We need a savior and that savior will be examined by Nigerians.
“Some people said when they were voted in, there would be no power failure, one naira will be equal to one dollar, what have they done? We don’t want any fake promises again. If Bakare believes he’s the Moses, let him come as well, by their fruits we shall know them. If I know he’s the savior, I wouldn’t mind but he has to tell us his manifesto and his ideologies,” Makinde explained.
When asked to comment on the New Year proclamation of the General Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly, a former CAN president and retired Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie dismissed it as a day dream, urging Nigerians to be focused and “don’t mind all these prophets and prophetesses who are more interested in their pecuniary gains. There’s only one God. If we are all serving the same God, God is not a liar, all of the so called prophets will be prophesying the same thing because God is the truth. But what they are now giving us, they are making God a liar.
“If it is the same God we are all serving—-the same God who made heaven and earth—-He will not tell different things to different prophets and cause confusion among His people because God is not a confusionist. I don’t know what is wrong with Nigerians, we are very gullible. Somebody got up the other day and said ’I want ten of you to give me one billion each, if you are ready, wait for me in my office, if you cannot do that, give me a hundred million each.’ What about that?
“I was trying to put one and one together to say are these people turning their churches to political parties? Are they preparing for the election? What is he going to do with all that money? Recently I read in the newspaper where he said we should all get registered and bring your Voters card and we will tell you what to do with the party. Should a newspaper publish that kind of thing? Is that news? I don’t know what is happening to this nation,” Okogie asked.
National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Rev. Felix Omobude would rather want Nigerians to wait for the manifestation of the Pastor Bakare’s New Year prophetic utterance, maintaining that as a Nigerian, he has the inalienable right to say what he believes, if God asked him.
“We are in this country, let us wait, watch and see. We have been hearing people saying God said this or that.
Reminded of the Rev. Chris Okotie’s episode and asked what such unfulfilled declarations portend for the Christian faith, the PFN helmsman said nobody should conclude that people like Rev. Okotie, who contested three times and lost, has failed.
“Rev. Chris Okotie is still alive; maybe God told him a time frame when he would become president. As long as he lives, he has the right to contest and still look forward towards it. If it is God, it will surely come to pass. Nigerians should not easily judge but wait to see as time unfolds. From time to time, there have been fake and original prophets but time will prove each,” he noted.
On the other hand, the head, Media and Publicity at the Methodist Church Nigeria, Rev. Dapo Daramola was of the opinion that Pastor Tunde Bakare was at liberty to voice his interest in any political office of his choice, pointing out that even traditional religionists have at one time or the other claimed to be directed by God to do some specific things.
“Every politician, whether he’s a Muslim or Christian have often laid claim to divine direction when they are seeking any office. Even a collapsed marriage when you counseled the couple they will always tell you they heard it from God.
So, anybody can actually lay claim to divine direction. It’s not new. So, if Pastor Tunde Bakare now claims that God directed him to run for President, when he ran for Vice president, was it God that told him? Or when Oga Justice Party, FRESH Party, how many parties has he formed already…and told the nation that God said to him that this was right time and he didn’t win, who arrested him?
“Bringing God’s name in all of these things is nothing new or strange. Time will tell if God actually directed him to run for the presidency of this country. People can call God even in their individual endeavors. We will know whether it’s God who spoke to him or not.
The Bible is very clear on unfulfilled prophecies. It says ‘Woe unto those who says thus says the Lord what the Lord has not spoken,’ and because He is a God that is slow to anger many people tend to take Him for granted. So, it’s very easy for many people to lie against this very God, whether those we look at as true and credible pastors or those who are nonentity pastors, but the truth is somebody had made similar claim that God had told him to contest, he failed. Another four years came, He came and told the world that God asked him to form a new movement which he named FRESH Party and he still failed.
“So, if you aggregate some of these things you will only come to one realization and that is that our God is so patient with us.
But I know; it’s not as if He doesn’t punish apostasy, blasphemy, or other similar infractions….but He does it in His own way and time. If not by grace, who can stand in His presence? It’s quite unfortunate that people are making a mockery of God through all manner of comic pronouncements. Allow them and we will wait and see whether their prophecies will come to pass,” Rev. Daramola stated.