Founder of the Latter Rain Assembly, now Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said he never asked President Muhammadu Buhari to choose his successor.
Bakare, who ran with Buhari in the 2011 presidential election, said he believed firmly that accurate succession in a democracy could only be achieved through free and fair elections.
The cleric was reacting to the controversy that trailed his nationwide address on 5 January.
“My use of the word ‘succession’ has drawn curious reactions from various quarters. Apparently, and without my participation, it has been interpreted as my asking Buhari to foist his choice on the nation in flagrant disregard of democratic principles,” he said.
“I neither did this, nor did I insinuate at any point that Buhari should ‘pick’ or ‘choose’ his successor as some news outlets have conjured.
“Succession is an expansive term that does not focus on one position alone, mindful as I am that no individual can singlehandedly solve Nigeria’s problems. Instead, it focuses on the institution of systems of predictable progress, and the sustainable replacement of capable hands with capable hands across the entire system, whether through elections or appointments.
“Unfortunately, some have chosen to place leadership succession on the one hand, and free, fair and credible elections on the other, as mutually exclusive issues when, indeed, the latter is the strategic vehicle for arriving at the former.
“In a democratic society, you cannot achieve accurate succession without free, fair and credible elections.”
He also said, “Over the years, inaccurate succession has been the bane of institutional leadership in Nigeria. Decades after the selfless leadership of our founding fathers, the citizenry has remained disillusioned with the self-aggrandisement of politicians who lack the values of the founding fathers.
“In the South, these politicians are quick to wear the cap and glasses of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, but lack the mental capacity and foresight of the late sage. In the North, these politicians affiliate themselves with the legacy of Sir Ahmadu Bello, but lack the heart with which the Sardauna worked for the progress of his people.
“In the East, they associate themselves with the giant strides of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Michael Okpara, but their governance accomplishments are dwarfed compared to those of these heroes. These are signs of leadership succession failure.”