By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
Pastor Bakare has paid 100 million naira to the APC. He had paid big to serve the country. Yeah, he did it to buy forms. He wants to be president. He doesn’t mind assuming the presidency via a party he hasn’t helped nurture in the last 7 years.
Everybody in Nigeria preaches hard work and diligence but hopes for magic. Well, he claims he was a founding father. So he is not the archetypal usurper. Then, let’s not call him a wayward absentee father.
After flirting with and denying romance with a third force and then casting aspersions on the major parties, he has changed his mind and come down to reality. Not precisely a prodigal returnee. He hadn’t been frolicking and wasting commonwealth. He had been on the fence, throwing innuendos and stones.
Anyway, grace means unmerited favour. And children of God are allowed to aspire to inherit the labour of unbelievers and filthy politicians. Isn’t an inflated sense of entitlement part of being a pastor in Nigeria? So we can’t really say Pastor Bakare is presumptuous or covetous. Pastors usually come into politics flaunting God.
God owns the earth and its fullness. Let’s be consoled by the fact that most of them eventually depart the political stage back to church unnoticed. Pastor Okotie once told us God made him some fat promises. When we tried to laugh, they scowled at us.
Many years ago, our parents said gambling was sinful. They pointed at men playing the lottery and football pools and warned us not to be like them. Gambling then meant endeavours that depended heavily on chance, promising huge rewards for relatively small investments but with a slim chance of success. Our parents wanted to curtail inordinate ambitions and addictions.
The preachers of those days didn’t glorify sudden wealth and magic. They preferred sowing sweat and reaping bountifully. Not sure a pastor that has seen the impossible in a vision can be called delusional. But One hundred million naira paid for presidential forms? Sounds a little obscene. Not after Occupying Nigeria and lampooning crooked electioneering. But perhaps nothing is too much if spent to Save Nigeria.
It doesn’t seem the pastor is interested in wooing APC delegates. Those lust-filled delegates who always sell their birthrights for a plate of dollar porridge. They will think the pastor is a clown. Fortunately, the weapons of political warfare of the pastor are not carnal. He will use them to contain spiritual buffoonery in high places.
It’s heartwarming that Buhari is his personal friend. So he won’t be one of those stranger-destiny helpers. But that friendship might not be enough. He had called Buhari a failure. The pastor might have to rely on Buhari receiving an epiphany, forgiving all his trespasses, and proclaiming him the anointed.
For a long time, it had seemed his best chance was the national unity contraption. An interim government after a brief period of national confusion or calamity. But no apocalypse has happened, and none is in the offing.
The pastor is not to blame. But if the forms cost 100 million, who knows how much crowd renting and delegates will cost. In Nigeria, we factor in many incidentals. So we can’t avoid the delegates altogether because even if Buhari endorses and enforces, delegates will still need to be compensated.
So how will a pastor get the billions needed to complete the process? Has he started what he can’t finish? Well, sons and daughters exist to lift and adore their daddies and mummies. So they will sow abundantly into the project despite its slightly rotten nature. Luckily, there is always a bible verse, which, if read a little thoughtlessly and in isolation, can lend justification to every perfidy.
The APC chairman said they raised the financial bar to keep the forms out of the reach of children and clowns. But in Nigeria, the more expensive a thing, the more sought after it will be. So the party of Change that promised the inclusion of the talakwa hasn’t managed to keep the forms out of the reach of pastors. The PDP must be regretting making itself cheap. Abdullahi Adamu has now suggested that the huge demand for the APC forms was evidence of acceptability and higher win probability.
It seems the PDP has lost a bit of self-confidence. Because if they had approached it their usual way, they could have raised the price of the presidential forms to one billion. That could have generated a higher demand. The bunch of current and former governors that paid 40 million would have more happily paid one billion. At one billion, they might have attracted one or two dignified bishops who have spent the last seven years stoking the embers of division. That way, the PDP could have raised some money to finally complete their abandoned secretariat.
I wish pastor Bakare well. Nigeria needs him. If the APC folks play him out, he must endure and stay in the game to reform the party from within.