The Senior Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sustain his legacy by picking a successor before 2023.
The cleric in a live broadcast in his church on Sunday explained that by institutionalizing a system of succession, Mr Buhari would join the league of strong world leaders like the late Deng Xiaoping of China; the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Goh Chok Tong of Singapore.
“In three decades, that programme gave China a succession of leaders who piloted China’s economic transformation, including the current President, Xi Jinping. Without their foresight, we would not be running to China today to finance our shortsightedness,” Punch Newspaper quoted Mr Bakare to have said.
“We must also learn from Nelson Mandela who stepped aside after one term, but not without positioning the likes of Thabo Mbeki and Cyril Ramaphosa. We must learn from the success story of Singapore, whose former Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, once said, ‘Mr Lee Kuan Yew has always emphasised political succession, and when I took over, likewise, I planned for succession…Prime Minister Lee is also working very hard to plan for succession.’
“Therefore, even as we build institutions of democratic governance, a key responsibility that history has bestowed on President Muhammadu Buhari at this turning point in our journey to nationhood is to institutionalise systems of accurate succession that will build and sustain the Nigeria we desire. This is a task that must be done.”
Mr Bakare’s statement is coming about a week after he paid Mr Buhari a visit, and he has, at different fora, postured himself as a potential successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The cleric who himself was the running mate of then candidate Muhammadu Buhari in the 2011 presidential elections, last year said there was a divine arrangement for him to become Nigeria’s president when Mr Buhari’s tenure ends in 2023.
Also, in an interview published last January in Calgary, Canada, he predicted that he would succeed Mr Buhari as Nigeria’s 16th president.
Mr Buhari on his part has said has no intention of grooming anyone to succeed him in office.
“Succession is very funny because if I did find anybody, I will create more problems for him or her. Let those who want to be president try as much as I did,” the president said last July.
But Mr Bakare insisted that “anyone in government that does not concern himself about succession is destroying his own legacy.”
“Let us ask God for the grace of accurate succession; that he (Buhari) will not hand over the baton of government and governance to thieves and perverts, to corrupt and power-drunk individuals, but those who are true patriots, who will serve like our founding fathers served; though not perfect, they did their best.”
Mr Bakare also condemned the attempt by the legislature to clamp down on social media critics. He said the move was from enemies of the nation who rig the system to enthrone their stooges and use them to corner resources and opportunities.
“They are the political bandits and pseudo-democrats who are maniacal in merchandising the will of the people, from masterminding vote-buying to engineering seemingly spontaneous outbreaks of political violence. These are the true enemies of Nigeria,” he added.