Yesterday, Pastor Tunde Bakare was officially announced as Major General Buhari’s running mate in the upcoming elections. Nigerians were shocked, elated and indifferent as can be seen in our recent sampling of tweets by some Nigerians who reacted to the news.
Nigerian newspaper, NEXT recently interviewed Pastor Tunde Bakare in an exclusive interview. Check out some memorable quotes from the interview and afterwards, read the full interview on NEXT.
By Ifedayo Adebayo, NEXT
Why did you accept to run with Muhammadu Buhari?
If you understand my passion for this country, demonstrated over the years, I want to see a Nigeria that works in my lifetime and that was one of the motivations that started the Save Nigeria Group. In all my ministerial life, maybe three quarters of my messages are all on Nigeria and what is happening to the country at large.
In October last year, after meeting so many political gladiators, some of them are now party candidates. I came across so many of them, and I can say today that so far, one of them that I have found worthy in terms of credibility is Buhari. He needs to just build bridges with others so that we can win this election. All the time I was doing that, I never knew that I was going to take part in the political process other than just mobilizing people to vote in the 2011 elections, but all I know is that he wants me and when he made the call to ask me if I would consider running with him, I made consultations, and at the end of the day, I felt this is one way to contribute to the future of my country.
Before he called you, did you ever contemplate seeking an elective post or going into politics?
Not in 2010, not in 2011. I never considered running for any offices. As a matter of fact, in all that you have been reading or listening to, I said so that I am not going to take part in the political process other than mobilize the people.
So it was his call that led to your change of mind?
Well, I think so, and because of the situation in my country. Whether one person is running or the other person is running, I think that all Nigerians should be running. I am being modest. I think that all Nigerians should wake up and rise up now to do what is right.
Critics are saying that religious leaders should not go into politics. What do you say to them?
In Romans 13, the Bible says that every authority that exists is ordained by God and he calls those in government, ministers of God almighty. So ministry is not limited to the pulpit. Ministry is whatever you are doing to serve God and humanity.
Was the Save Nigeria group created for the purpose of Buhari’s presidency as it has been speculated?
Well, you can do some investigation yourself, because now you want me to be a judge in my own court. At the time Save Nigeria Group began, it was to address a major and vital issue — the issue of power hijack. Those who were not elected to serve in the office of the presidency of the country were exercising the authority to do what they liked. It was the health issue that took President Yar’Adua away that brought us into the streets. It was not PDP or CPC that took us to the streets. It was after that time that we now began to start thinking of 2011 to be the year of the voters and the year that our citizenship must be enlightened; social mobility must be restored and sovereignty must be the lot of our people. We must choose the best, the most competent and the country people must be free to express themselves at the polls. That was the purpose for the SNG; it has nothing to do with this party or that party and it has never teamed up with any political party.
Many believe that Buhari is a religious fanatic. How do you see him?
I have had the privilege of sitting with him, to see his environment, to see what he does. He relates with all kinds of people from different backgrounds, different walks of life and different religious persuasions. To be fair to him, yes, he is a good muslim. As you know, by God’s grace, I am also a practising Christian and if such a man can say today that he is appointing a pastor to be his running mate, does that not confirm he is not? So that is it.
Read the full interview on NEXT here