February 15, 2020

Pastor Bakare’s ardent follower frowns at N13b cost of new church

Tunde Bakare

Says it should have been used to build hospital

•Your calling is to preach, prophecy and pray, not to play politics,’ he tells his pastor

•Explains why he’s no longer happy with Buhari

Tunde Bakare

By Sam Eyoboka

Human Rights activist Adeola Samuel Ilori has been a strong member of Pastor Tunde Bakare’s church, Latter Rain Assembly for more than 20 years. In this interview, he distances himself from the political interest of the popular pastor, saying that pastor Bakare’s calling was to preach, prophecy and pray and not to play politics.

He says Pastor Bakare has never been the same since his interest in politics. Ilori also frowns against the cost of the new church put at above N13 billion Naira, saying that could have been used to build a massive hospital that would serve mankind. Excerps:

You have been in Latter Rain Assembly for about 24 years, how has it been?

It’s been quite good and nice, I’ve been spiritually inclined and uplifted in the last 20 years. It has been quite inspiring. Our pastor is one I can easily confirm that he is not only called, he was ordained by God Himself because the bible says that by their fruits you will know them. And by the fruits, he produced in us, some of the people that know some of us and our actions they will know that you are Pastor Bakare’s son. Some of the times our passion, when it comes issues in Nigeria, we have the same views and ideologies and even spiritual inclination. It’s been quite interesting, inspiring and rewarding.

As far as I’m concerned, Pastor Bakare was called to preach the gospel. And when you talk about somebody that is embedded, that is loaded and can dissect the word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, he is one.

He doesn’t believe that he should lay hands on people before miracles happen. Miracles to him happen every day, it depends on the amount of the word of God inside of you. He’s the man that will tell you that ‘you don’t need me to come to me when you have problem, I have equipped you enough to be able to address the devil’.

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He equipped every member that was attentive, that was teachable and truly wanted the desire to serve God until politics came in. I’m not saying he’s not preaching the word of God now, but when you have divergent attention like the Yoruba’s will say, a dog cannot keep one eye on one house and another eye on another house.

To me, once there is conflict of interest, one will be affected, that’s why I said maybe like 20 years back, that’s as much as I have enjoyed him. I looked forward to listening to him talk about the word of God because he will break it to the level that you start wondering if it’s the word that you have been reading over and over before.

Pastor Bakare has always been an influence to the young people and regarded as the conscience of the nation; what are you saying has gone wrong?

He was a conscience of the nation at one point in time and left that to become the father of the nation at one point in time. During the military era, he was the conscience of the nation.

He spoke truth despite the fear and resultant effect of speaking the truth. He built us to the point that we also became unafraid of the military and we could speak anywhere as long as it’s the truth. After the military era, he became the father of the nation, especially in the era of the imbroglio that happened during the Yaradua era, he totally became the father of the nation. If you are conversant with him in the course of his ministry, he has prophesied that for a long time, opportunity created itself and he switched into that shoe, it was not an accident.

I remember in 1993 when he said here comes a tender plan from the north that comes unprepared that will stare Nigeria into our prophetic destiny, that the rod of judgement is in his left and right hands and will reduce the military into an errand clime and in his time the economy of Nigeria will work faster than that of Japan.

He said in the course of his ministration that he will be the father of the nation and that there will come a time when the president will have to consult him before he will give state of the nation statement. In 2010 that opportunity came in and he did not waste time to step in and brought order that brought about doctrine of necessity. I was part and parcel of that movement. I was in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government; I was the secretary of save Nigeria group before the death of my coordinator of the local government.

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I remained till 2011 when he ventured into politics. So the doctrine of necessity gave him the opportunity to step in and become the father of the nation. Thereafter he has said so many times that he is not looking for power because he already has power. As a father of the nation, he already has power because ministers and governors defer to him without having the political power. To me, that prophecy has been fulfilled.

Was his delving into politics a mistake?

Every man has ambition. Every human being is an ambitious personality. I have my Masters’ in psychology so I understand the behavioral pattern of human beings as propelled by theorists. So I can easily say that every man has a way of changing personalities depending on interest. So if someone has an interest in a thing or position, it might make you forget what you are spiritually.

Pastor Bakare had said as a pastor he is over and above all politicians in this country, he said once in an interview that if he was going to go into politics, he was going to start from his home state Abeokuta and become a local government chairman. All of a sudden all of that changed and we began to hear he was to be the Vice President. Was he consumed by any other force?

The desire to see Nigeria work may have propelled that but at the same time it is one thing for someone to stay at the cutting edge of what God is doing. He keeps saying that he wants us to be and he has always been at the cutting edge of what God is doing. As far as I’m concerned, Pastor Bakare has a position in the country physically.

Politically he is the father of the nation. Spiritually he has a mandate given to him by God in which he told us at one point in time he had to relocate his family abroad and he also relocated with them. And he came back to say God has asked him to come back to Nigeria, that Nigeria is his place of primary assignment to pray, to preach and to prophecy until revival comes.

So I believe that God has conspicuously earmarked his position to him. Politically, he is the father of the nation whether by omission or commission. 2010 provided that position for him and he maintained it because of his integrity, locality and nonconformist attitude.

We saw pastors collecting wavers for building a project in their churches. Okonjo-Iweala mentioned their names while she was finance minister at the twilight of Jonathan’s administration.

Pastor Bakare was nothing like that. It was common knowledge that he was offered ordinary 50,000 dollars by the president of Nigeria then and he rejected it. He was also offered another 600,000 dollars during the period of electioneering in 2015, he also rejected it. Such a man, you cannot say he doesn’t have integrity.

He has proved himself at all times. What I’m trying to say is very simple that Pastor Bakare has this mandate as God revealed to me on Monday, that I should tell him that he cannot preside over a chaotic nation.

That he should raise a national prayer altar that will involve other Christians, that his mandate is to preach, to pray and prophecy until revival comes and there is no revival yet in Nigeria. When I got to the office, I sent a message to the pastor next to him, Pastor Ike, till today I didn’t receive any feedback, but when I granted an interview where I spoke out my mind, it was the same pastor that called me and said he wanted to have a chat with me, and on getting there they wanted to ambush me with panel.

I went out of the respect I have for him and got there only to meet other people sitting. If I were to face panel you should have let me know. The bible says in the book of Ezekiel that if He gave you any opportunity to sound the trumpet and you refuse to sound the trumpet, if anything happens thereafter, the sins of those people will be upon you. For me, if I have sent it to that pastor, I said he also has the spirit of God so let him listen to God to know whether I said the truth or not.

As far as you are concerned, it is not yet time for him to go into politics?

In that interview I granted, I said since I joined Latter Rain Assembly in 1996, January 28, this year makes it 24 years; every Wednesday of my life, I use it to pray for only Pastor Bakare and his family. God is my witness. Some of the times I see things concerning him or the church, I will pray about them. I have a friend, Tope Fowowe, he is the only person I share things with. Some of the time, by the time he comes to the pulpit, what I shared with him will come out of the pastor. So if God tells me, it’s because God knows that I love him. You can’t take that away. My love for Pastor Bakare cannot be quantified.

Before I joined Latter Rain, I didn’t even know Pastor Bakare. In 1991 when I saw Pastor Bakare in my vision, he drew me and said we should go and evangelize. I didn’t know him then until one Sunday evening when I saw this person ministering on television and he preached about the tabernacle of the righteous and the tent of the wicked, using Job 10:15. And I said I’ve seen this man before.

Before then I was going to Wall Mount Reach which was later changed to Glory Christian Center. And I never knew they were even best of friends.

You can see the way God works. To me, Latter Rain Assembly is not just a place I just walked in to. I was not invited. I didn’t make mistake. I’ve known Christ since 1988, converted by Pastor Kumuyi. I was attending Pastor Kumuyi’s church before.

I walked into Latter Rain because there is a connection. And since I’ve been there I’ve never had any regret of being there because I never missed the word I went there to look for. My love for him is unending when it comes to preaching, but the issue of politics, I have not gotten that conviction and I am a man that doesn’t just join the band wagon. He may not need my support to become whatever God wants him to become, but personally now I have not gotten that conviction even until that Monday God spoke to me.

It was the same thing that happened in 2011 when he joined Buhari to become the Vice Presidential candidate. As the pseudo-coordinator of Save Nigeria group they called me to come and join the campaign team. I said no, I don’t see this man in politics. That is me and God. I may not be carrying the gospel to the world but the rod is inside of me and I don’t do monologue prayer, I do dialogue. When I talk to my father, He must talk to me back before I will leave wherever I’m praying.

From time to time, when you get all these revelations about Pastor Bakare, do you make any attempt to reach him?

Yes, I wrote to him. In fact, this is what happened. Yinka Odumakin happened to be self-appointed spokesperson of Save Nigeria Group at that point in time, he was first nominated to be spokesperson of Buhari, as at that time Pastor Bakare had not been called to be the Vice President candidate.

Immediately I received that message, I sent an email to him that this is not what Save Nigeria Group should do. Not long after that, he was nominated. And I wrote him through that same email. If I search my mail now I’ll get the reply from one Bose, not Pastor Bakare replying me that Save Nigeria was not a religious group. And he has said it openly that he was not saying God said he should go there.

What I said in my mail to him was that Save Nigeria Group would become nothing thereafter, every effort made by Save Nigeria Group would be rubbish and would go into extinction.

Thank God I was not wrong. Where is Save Nigeria Group today? Where is Yinka Odumakin today? I don’t keep quiet. I try to reach out even though the process of seeing men of God these days is not easy. For me, I just look for avenue to reach out if I am convinced that I should reach out.

The one I’m not convinced, I just kneel and pray and I see answers to it. That was the reason I said in 2011 that this man was not called to become a politician, he had a distinct call to be the father of the nation and he has entered into that show. Going into politics would rubbish him and rubbish everything he has done with Save Nigeria Group and that was what happened.

Besides the political interest that he has expressed, what other bone of contention do you have?

Pastor has taught us so many times that God does not live in a house built with hands or man. He has taught us so many times that it is not where you worship God that matters but how you worship Him. He talked about the tabernacle of Moses and the tent of David. He always uses one word that you don’t build to make yourself a monument, that what some pastors are doing these days is to make a monument for themselves, that the word of God and the faith of God are a movement.

I may not be member of the church council or senate, I don’t need to. The totality of Pastor Bakare was what kept me. I usually say that the only two people that would tell me to go forward and I will not look back is Gani Fawehinmi and Pastor Bakare because I know with my knowledge of who they are at that time they won’t turn back at me. That’s as much as I believed in him because I believe the words that come out of him have weight and he makes use of those words regardless of whatever may happen. When he was saying all those words, I imbibed them.

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I was here when Winners built 50,000 capacity, I know what he said. The people you did not build with will destroy the building. He said what do you need 50,000 capacity for? It does not matter where you worship God but how you worship God.

Who you are is what matters. To me, I believe that where we are worshipping God right now in Akilo is more or less where God wants him to be, you might ask me why.

He has said it severally. Not only he said that his mother of blessed memory, without Pastor Bakare knowing that place, fell somewhere around that area inside a gutter, and the day that Pastor Bakare came to that place, God said to him this is the place I have reserved for you.

Quote me verbatim. My question that agitates in my mind when the issue of Citadel came up was that if God said this is the place I have reserved for you, has God also reserved the new place? Or has He changed His mind? I talk in facts; I talk in what I know. What I don’t know I will tell you I don’t know.

Nobody can tell me about Pastor Bakare as far as Latter Rain is concerned or the message he preached, I will tell you the day, the time, the hour, what he said and what he didn’t say. It’s just like the day I went to him and challenged him when I had issue in 2015 May, I said sir it is not from you that it’s supposed to come that you are asking for interim government, he said no, I said I recorded it live and can play it for you. I believe in word of God that was spoken directly, not the one they told me. His word came from his mouth to say God said this is the place I have reserved for you.

Nobody has sent us away from the place God reserved for us. For whatever reason, he said God is in Citadel as well. I’m not disagreeing with that, but I’m not comfortable with it. That does not stop me from the little I contribute when they are asking us to contribute. But what I’m not comfortable with, I will say it out, it does not matter who does it. He has let us realize that God needs us more than He needs building.

We can use and channel that money to something else. How I wish that that place is nothing but a state of the art hospital, internationally recognized hospital. With 13 billion naira that has been spent on that place, I’m very sure that if that place was a hospital, it’d become the cynosure of all eyes today.

Like if the place has a dialysis place, kidney transplant, eye foundation with state of the art equipment. What are you building there that has not been built by others? Yongi Choo that first built the gigantic auditorium, how good is that place again? How many people are talking about Yongi Choo anymore?

If today Citadel becomes the talk about town because of whatever might have been put there, in no time somebody else will build something bigger. That is the way Pastor Bakare taught us. That’s why he said you don’t build a monument after your name. the monument built that was called the Gigantic House of God then, now it’s a mosque that is besides it, people don’t recognize the importance of the place anymore. That is the work of monument.

Had it been our opinions were sought, had it been it was not something that was wrapped under with the cover of God says. . . Pastor Bakare that I knew before would say something and would back it up with the word of God and you will know truly he is speaking the truth.

But when you say something that is your heart desire and you want to cover it with the word of God, I will know and I will talk. Like Paul said, thank God we too have the spirit of God. The furniture of the place is the height of it now. It hit me. I’m not only angry, I was livid because I was not told, I was in the church that day when they brought the chair to the pulpit to demonstrate the chair for the congregation.

The chair is more or less like the one we use in the cinema. It has where you put your bible. I felt it was beautiful and we all clapped. He said the cost is 560 million naira and it is not to be provided here in Nigeria, it is to be imported from abroad. It is 5200 chairs, the 200 is for the leaders, the 5000 is for the congregation. That was what angered me. I told my friend this is not Pastor Bakare that I knew.

The way I was passionate about Nigeria is the way he was passionate about Nigeria and the way I was passionate about him. I just packed my phone and left the service. I remember meeting Dr. Segun Osinaga on the way and I said to him that your friend has goofed. You are close to him, tell him what he did today, I don’t like it at all and I’m going to talk about it if you people cannot convince him. Number one, do we need capital flight as the person that talks about the economy of Nigeria, giving indices of how we can turn it around?

Number two, the money that we are going to use, even though he might be the one to contribute the larger size of it, are we now saying that there are no furniture makers here that can make those chairs? Are we now saying that within us in Latter Rain Assembly, there are no furniture makers that even contributed their money?

The chairs we are currently sitting on, what has changed? That’s where my anger lies. There are things I can stomach. There are things, when they comes from someone I respect, that’s why I’m having problems with Buhari today. I campaigned for him and spent my money. Two main reasons I did that were the issue of corruption and the issue of power. And when I see that nothing is coming five to six years down the line I become livid and ask where are we going?

Is there fight against corruption? No. Buhari is not yet fighting corruption, he’s only addressing corrupt issues. I have the report of Halliburton, the full report of Okiro is with me. All the people that were indicted in other countries for the same offence have been prosecuted, sentenced and jailed but their partners here are walking around and shaking hands with him in Aso Rock. That’s not the way to fight corruption.

Until I see some of these people (mentions some names) jailed over Halliburton I will not agree there’s fighting against corruption. 74 million US dollars is in the hands of one person, 76 million dollars in the hand of another while two other people are walking freely and you’re telling me you’re fighting corruption? Same thing happened with the power sector, the same set of people bought power sector and you can see the power situation here now. We are still groping from 4000 to 5000 megawatts as a nation of 200 million.

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A few weeks ago, this man still said Nigeria has spent another 1.7 trillion naira on electricity and yet we are still within the cap of 5000 megawatts. That’s why I become angry when I see somebody I love becoming something I do not expect him to be. So when I come out and say all these things about Pastor Bakare it’s because I love him.

Five years of Buhari, what’s your position?

My position remains the same, I don’t know what the service chiefs are still doing there. Unfortunately, the man Buhari allowed himself to be captured by his own appointed persons. I wrote to Mr. President saying as long as these service chiefs remain, they will not want Boko Haram to abate because somebody somewhere is making money out of that thing.

These are the truth they don’t want to talk about. There will be budget for hardware. The more they make us feel like there’s still insurgency, the more money will be in that budget. In fact, they will soon make another request to national assembly again that they want to buy some other hardware. There will be continuous allowance for the soldiers on the field, and that allowance will not get to their hands, if it will get to their hands, it will be slashed into half. And you know in the army they obey the last order. So somebody is making money from these things.

If insurgency goes down, the soldiers will be withdrawn. Another area I find so disgusting is for you to arrest Boko Haram members and you say you have rehabilitated them and you are returning them back to the society? Which society? The bible says can the leopard change its skin? Once a Boko Haram, always a Boko Haram. It’s just like a cultist that says he repented without a total renewal in Christ. Somebody even called the Boko Haram guys prisoners of war. Does that qualify him not to be punished for the killings he has done?

Do you think that you will be shoved out of Latter Rain?

Nobody can chase me out of anywhere. Latter Rain Assembly or CGCC is a house of God, except I committed an abominable offense, nobody can chase me out, because I didn’t even come there by virtue of people inviting me. There was a burning desire to serve God. I know I have a calling.

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I am realizing that when God gives you a ministry, it’s not compulsory that you have a congregation. Today, my ministry is striving in the area of saving lives through human rights activism, through consumer advocacy. To me, I am doing well in my ministry. If I wanted to leave Latter Rain, I would have left a long time ago.

In 2011 when he delved into politics, many people left, I know many people who left. Until the person that directed me there asks me to leave, I am not leaving because I will not be able to function even in another congregation.

The only thing I do these days in order to reduce the level of the words that enter into me is that I’ve reduced my service going to once in a month which is combined service. So the rest when I feel like I go to the internet and I join them live. Every leader, especially our spiritual leaders, must have a committee of people who tell them what they want to hear and also those that will tell them what they don’t want to hear concerning the same policy.

That is the only way they will know whether they are a leader or they are not. Many of the church leaders are rulers. Governors and elected people still have checks and balances. When we make noise against them, they react.

When you make noise against those people that call themselves men of God, they invoke Psalms 115 vs 5 against you saying touch, not my anointed.

I don’t know who is anointed among them. You don’t use your faith to merchandise the word of God and think you are anointed. In the book of Ezekiel, the bible says woe unto my pastors for you have ensnared my children. He said come unto me and I will give you a pastor after my own heart.

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