Fellow Nigerians, distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, on the 12th of August 2019, about six weeks ago, I was prompted to address the state of the nation with emphasis on the security situation, leveraging the occasion of the 59th anniversary of our Independence.
As I began preparations for that State of the Nation Broadcast slated for next Sunday, October 6, 2019, little did I realise I would be giving a preliminary address a week before the main speech in the light of recent developments.
It is not in my character to respond to every whim and caprice of libertarians in cyberspace, but it has become necessary for me to set the record straight on the misconceptions surrounding a video on the 16th presidency that recently became a talking point. This clarification is necessary for three reasons.
Firstly, in keeping with my calling as a servant of God, I must ensure that truth soars high above falsehood and that the fellowship of the saints be not ill-spoken of by a keenly observant world.
Secondly, it is my duty as a citizen who is privileged to have the ears of fellow citizens to ensure that well-meaning Nigerians are not misinformed about our activities.
Thirdly, I do not want the ideas and solutions to our nation’s pressing problems, which, by the grace of God, I will be proposing next week, to be drowned in the noise of needless controversies, because an actionable roadmap to the stability, security and success of our nation may very well be found therein.
It is, therefore, necessary to clear the air ahead of the October 6, 2019 State of the Nation Broadcast.
Contrary to the misconceptions and misinformation, the trending video about the 16th presidency was an excerpt from a message titled “Be Grateful for Your Blessings (Part 3),” which I preached in this auditorium on Sunday, February 18, 2018. That that excerpt was released at this time, a year and seven months after the statements were made, and erroneously associated with recent developments relating to the Office of the Vice President, suggests that it was either done by the uninformed, or was a deliberately designed attempt to misinform the public by linking unrelated issues, in order to create divisions where there are none, thereby heating up the polity unnecessarily.
Unknown to the purveyors of mischief, before the video began to trend on the internet, I had cause to correspond with the vice president through two channels, spurred by a message I received on WhatsApp. The message, forwarded to me by a pastor in the United Kingdom, expressed the disillusion of a Nigerian whose major concern was not the politics of Abuja but the economics of his/her bank account, especially following the proposed implementation of the federal government’s cashless policy. To give proper context to my correspondence with the vice president, I will read out the full message forwarded to me by this pastor in the UK:
I really don’t care that The Presidency has dissolved The Economic Management Team headed by Prof. Osinbajo and replaced it with The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) which will henceforth report directly to The President, or that Prof. Osinbajo is not a member of EAC.
I don’t care that The Social Investment Portfolio, otherwise known as ‘Trader Moni’, has been moved to a new ministry, or that Trader Moni is to be audited.
I don’t care that President Buhari has dissolved The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) led by Obono-Obla and instituted by then Acting President Osinbajo.
I don’t blink an eyelid that The Vice President has been directed to seek presidential approval before administering the ministries and agencies under his portfolio. Nor do my eyelids quiver at the news that some of those agencies have been removed from his purvey, notably –
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Boundary Commission (NBC), Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) and Social Investment Programmes (SIP). All of which have been moved to the newly created Ministry of Social Development, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.
I don’t care that most of The Vice President’s aides have been approved for redeployment away from his office, to other agencies and MDA’s.
I’m not even bothered that The Vice President’s remaining aides have been ousted from their office space within The Presidency and directed to look for offices outside The Villa.
What I do care about is that The Federal Government has slammed a (punitive) 3% charge on lodgments into a corporate account of N3,000,000 and above and also a 5% charge for withdrawal from corporate accounts of like sums.
They further slammed a 2% charge on all lodgments of N500,000 and above into a personal account, while adding a charge of 3% on withdrawals from same.
What this means is that if I pay N500,000 into my personal account, I will automatically be charged N10,000.
The banks will also still charge transaction fees for withdrawals and lodgments, VAT @7.5%, account maintenance fee, stamp duty and any other fee/charges the banks decide to throw at me.
The onslaught is relentless! Nigerians are now to pay to put their money in a bank. They pay to keep it there and they pay to remove it. The Government is putting its hand in our pockets. There must be something we can do about this.
I have been relentless [in] my opinion that these people have nothing good for this country than sorrow, tears and blood. Even their defenders/supporters are short of words to use in defending them as before. We were labelled wailers thus every sensible Nigerian complaining is now a wailer.
A deposit of N500k will cost you N10,000 in deposit charges in addition to SMS, COT, VAT, Acct. Maintenance, Stamp duty, money transfer & all other covert charges.
In Nigeria you now pay to deposit your own money in the bank, your own money o, not stolen money but worked for.
NIGERIANS PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR FUEL PRICE INCREASE
BUHARI’S SUPPORTERS ARE NOT EXEMPTED…..
GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE IS NON DISCRIMINATORY
NEXT LEVEL OF SUFFERING COMING OUT STEALTHILY.
A number of you may have also received this message. In the interest of minimising misinformation, according to cbn.gov/cashless, the true state of affairs is that the policy affects “cash-based transactions which stipulates a cash handling charge on daily cash withdrawals that exceed N500,000 for Individuals and N3,000,000 for Corporate bodies. The new policy on cash-based transactions (withdrawals) in banks, aims at reducing (NOT ELIMINATING) the amount of physical cash (coins and notes) circulating in the economy, and encouraging more electronic-based transactions (payments for goods, services, transfers, etc.).” In any case, when I read the WhatsApp- forwarded message, I noted the underlying frustrations of the anonymous author. I did not, however, agree that the issues allegedly affecting the office and person of the vice president were unimportant,
particularly given our relationship. I, therefore, replied the message with the following words:
Every man will care about what bothers him most or bites him hardest.
My concern presently is that come rain, come shine, the VP, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo must not be disgraced and humiliated out of office except he has truly and flagrantly violated his oath of office which I find difficult to believe.
I fear for those who rejoice at the “fall” of others. Those who sow such seed are unmindful of the consequential definite law of harvest.
I truly grieve for my brother and pray for God’s goodness, mercy and grace to surround him at this moment.
May the present overwhelming challenges, trials, afflictions and or guilt by association be resolved in such a manner that God’s name will be praised and glorified in him at the end whether or not he remains as VP till the end of this term
Every time I remember that God is just, I fear for my country and her people. Shalom. Tunde Bakare
In keeping with the need for integrity, and in an attempt to reassure the vice president, I forwarded the conversation through his aide-de- camp and through a mutual friend, who happens to be my mentee, Pastor Yomi Kasali of Foundation of Truth Assembly (FOTA). The messages were pleasantly acknowledged, with Pastor Yomi Kasali sending an additional response:
This is very good and timely, you have written as a patriarch of faith and voice of heaven. I learn from you daily and hope to be more like Christ while learning from you.
Your spirit is pure and heart is clean, I’m proud indeed to call you ‘My Pastor’, thanks a lot sir.
Although this was an entirely private conversation, it resurfaced in the media as an official statement and I was surprised to find it circulating and coloured with various interpretations and misinterpretations. Let me state categorically that I never granted an interview on the issues affecting the Office of the Vice President. When approached by Gentlemen of the Press for a response to these issues, I declined to speak publicly because I have spoken in private. I continue to have no other motivation than the wellbeing, peace, unity and stability of our beloved nation in line with her God-ordained destiny. To reiterate: the “Number 16” video predated recent developments and was thus not 8
inspired by them. Furthermore, my private comments were misinterpreted as a public statement. In essence, the entire episode has been much ado about nothing.
Finally, overnight on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, as I prepared to honour an invitation by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to attend the Goalkeepers 2019 Summit which was held in New York last week alongside the commencement of the United Nations General Assembly, God showed me a vision for Nigeria. I saw a rainbow across Nigeria with the word “RE-SET” written boldly across the land. It is against this backdrop that I invite Nigerians from all walks of life to join us next Sunday, October 6, 2019, as we conduct a national security and governance audit as a first step towards resetting Nigeria on the path of predictable progress. The timely State of the Nation Address will be delivered at 11 a.m. in this auditorium and will be broadcast live on select TV channels and streamed live on our social media handles.1 I look forward to your presence and participation.
I continue to trust God that Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great in my lifetime.
Thank you for listening; God bless you, and God bless our nation, Nigeria.
Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare