Tunde Bakare And Limits Of Unfounded Assertions
By Emeka Alex Duru
On the surface, Tunde Bakare seems sympathetic to the Igbo but his assertions are unfounded.
My colleague, Ikechukwu Amaechi, in an elevated piece on February 24, 2022, raised a vital question: “What, exactly, does Nigeria want from Ndigbo? He proceeded with instances of sacrifices by the Igbo in keeping the wheel of the Nigerian nation running but have always, unfortunately, not been matched with commensurate rewards. Rather, the people have been made victims whenever it suited other compatriots.
The observation by Amaechi becomes relevant when taken from a recent outing by the General Overseer (GO) of Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare.
In a video that went viral, the clergy, took up a quixotic posture, selling the dummy of feeling for the Igbo but carefully throwing them out as a people to be watched, closely. He claimed that part of the reasons why no Igbo would be president of Nigeria is because of a curse placed on them by the late Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, on the night he was killed by mutinous soldiers on January 15, 1966. The Igbo, he alleged, poured alcohol on Balewa and forced him to drink same before killing him – an action that prompted his curse on them. Bakare said he was lifting the curse on the Igbo nation.
What, exactly, does Nigeria want from Ndigbo?
He said: “Why should anyone in this country say the Igbo man cannot be president of Nigeria? Are they not Nigerians? I was at Imo and I told them the reason why the Igbo cannot rule Nigeria and I want to remove the curse today.
“Do you know what happened? “The day they killed Tafawa Balewa, they removed his turban, poured wine on his head, forced him to drink, and shot him. And why he was being killed, he said, none of your tribe will ever rule Nigeria.
“God has instructed me to break the curse of Tafawa Balewa on the Igbos. I want to break the curse today because this generation of Igbo was not part of those people.
“You cannot overgeneralize. So, on the authority of God’s word. I reverse the curse of Tafawa Balewa over the Igbo generation. Henceforth, the Igbo will have access to the throne-like any other Nigerian.”
On the surface, Bakare appears sympathetic to the Igbo. But his assertions are absurd. And unfounded! His biography on the net indicated that he was born in 1954. He was thus, barely 12 years during the January 15, 1966 coup. He was not among the mutinous soldiers, nor part of the forces that quelled the coup. He equally did not disclose the source of his information. The assertion was not backed by any authority, making it a fraud or mere attempt at intellectual masturbation.
At no time had it been agreed that the soldiers that killed Balewa were Igbo. Documentary evidences have also shown that the putsch was not an exercise by any particular ethnic group, contrary to narratives my mischievous minds. The characters involved in the coup and their actions are already in the public domain. There is no need rehearsing the story.
But one thing that should not be glossed over is the perhaps, intended consequence of Bakare’s weird recollections. Coming close to an election year when many Nigerians of good conscience are agreed that it is the time for the Igbo to have a shot at the presidency, makes the intervention curious. The timing of the outing by the Citadel cleric, leaves room for interpretations.
Pouring alcohol on a Muslim and forcing him to drink it, is as loathsome as serving pork to him. It is not an offence that is treated lightly by the Muslim faithful.
What the Pastor has done amounts to inciting the entire North where Balewa hailed from and his Muslim brethren across the land against the Igbo. It is akin to inviting them to keep an eye on those who “humiliated and killed” their brother. This is an unkind cut from a lawyer and professed Man of God! But the sordid outing by Bakare is not entirely new.
Time and events have exposed men and women of influence who have misused their positions in the society. At the height of the holocaust, some members of the clergy, were known to have provided spiritual backing to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi hangmen. Some clerics were also in support of the apartheid regime in South Africa before the obnoxious regime was dismantled. Even with the global condemnation of racial discrimination, some priests loath administering Holy Communion to blacks in the United States and other Western countries.
You may not rule out self-interest in the shocking assertion by Bakare. Apart from being a clergy, he is also a politician. In 2011, he was the running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari, on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). He has not hidden his ambition for the presidency, ever since. Once in his Sunday sermon, he claimed anointment from God for the office.
He said; “I will succeed Buhari as President of Nigeria, nothing can change it. I am number 16, Buhari is number 15. I am saying it now and nothing can change it. In the name of Jesus, he (Buhari) is number 15. I am number 16. To this end was I born and for this purpose came I into the world. I have prepared you for this for more than 30 years”.
He perhaps sees the Igbo as likely obstacle to his dream or that of any candidate he may be rooting for. To be sure, there is nothing wrong in the pastor aspiring for the highest office in the land or supporting any person for that. Any of the options is within his constitutional rights. But he must come clean on his agenda.
There are reasons why there is need to keep an eye on his covert intention. In the 2015 elections, the Oba of Lagos, had in a bid to cow the Igbo, threatened that any attempt by them to vote any other party in the state other than the All Progressives Congress (APC), would see them drowned in the lagoons. Four years later, when some parts of the state were suspected to be voting a rival political party, hell was let loose against the Igbo in the affected areas.
With 2023 by the corner, Bakare has come with his revelations. These are not matters to be dismissed with a wave of the hand. The Church Minister is clearly out on a hatchet job or mission for mischief. Hitler in moving against the Jews employed fear and intimidation against them before his final solution.
Nigeria is a system where words attract meanings. Newspaper commentaries and even cartoon works abroad perceived to have offended beliefs had caused crises leading to loss of lives and property in the country.
Celebrated essayist and author, Arthur Agwucha Nwankwo, had in his book, “Nigeria and her path to doom”, recalled that that the violence and barbarity which led to the massacre of the Igbo in the north in 1966, was a result of two provocative articles that appeared in the Drum Magazine of May 28, 1966.
According to him, the two articles, “Why Nigeria exploded”, written by Nelson Ottah and the other, “Sir Ahmadu rose in his shrouds and spoke from the dead”, written by Coz Idapo, were said to be the raison d’etre for the Araba riots in the north, which main aim was for northern secession”. In the accompanying disturbances, more than 150,000 Igbo souls were wasted.
Bakare is on that path of inciting other Nigerians against the Igbo while appearing to be feeling for them
— Emeka Alex Duru is the Editor of TheNiche newspaper. His contact: