The General Overseer of The Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has revealed that leaders of the church opposed him when he agreed to be President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 Presidential election.
The blunt clergyman who also doubles as the convener of the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, contested at the 2011 election on the platform of the Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, but ex-President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, emerged the winner.
However, speaking at the public presentation and launch of ‘Pendulum 1’, ‘Pendulum 2’ and ‘Fighting Lions’ by Dele Momodu, Bakare said elders of the church considered him as a “traitor” and his decision “sacrilegious.”
He said though the move was condemned by the church, his decision paved way for the resounding support received by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, a pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, who accepted to run with Buhari in 2015.
According to Bakare, “I understand that Fighting Lions captures Dele Momodu’s disappointment at the lack of support from his own constituency, the media and entertainment industries, in the 2011 elections.
“I am pleased to let you know that I am not a brother who is not touched by the feelings of your infirmity, for I also faced the same temptation you did, and so did my friend, Fola Adeola, but the grace of God saw us through.
“It is no news that I participated in the same election as running mate to our current president, Muhammadu Buhari. With the negative image associated with the then General Buhari, especially the allegations of religious fundamentalism, being his running mate as a pastor was not an easy task at all.
“Need I tell you that my strongest critics were from my constituency? To most leaders in the church, aligning with a man they considered an opponent of Christianity against another they considered a Christian was sacrilegious, to say the least. To them, I was a traitor, undeserving of support. Therefore, I understand Dele Momodu’s disappointment. Our experience mirrors that of Joseph who was sold by his brothers because of the dream he had.
“Four years later, when the mantra became ‘Anything but Jonathan’, the same church leaders who had said it was inconceivable for a pastor to participate in politics, especially in alignment with a perceived Islamic fundamentalist, ate their words and threw their weight behind the same Muhammadu Buhari, with my brother, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, as running mate,” he continued.
“I am also aware that, in 2015, the press, represented by the likes of Dele Momodu, played a role in redefining the narrative and presenting to the Nigerian public a Buhari they could relate to. That year, in addition to other things I did in the background to ensure that the will of the people counted irrespective of the outcome, I recall telling the nation of ‘The Buhari I Know’ just to ensure he was given a fair chance untainted by a negative brand image.
“Now, three years later, it appears, once again, that the people are experiencing buyer’s remorse. Interestingly, the likes of Dele Momodu and I are being blamed for allegedly packaging the current dispensation. It is, however, necessary to remind the nation that there were warnings. We had warned then that plunging headlong into another election cycle without addressing what I called the fundamentals was tantamount to putting the cart before the horse; but when the nation was adamant and wanted its way, like the prophet Samuel did when Israel demanded a king against divine counsel, we played our part to ensure that the interest of Nigeria was kept paramount.
“I am glad that neither the disappointments of the 2011 elections nor the stiff-necked response of those in power to his propositions and warnings have been strong enough to deter Dele Momodu in his steadfast service to the nation from his power slot as a media icon. Instead, he has intensified his contributions just so Nigeria can rise to her potential as a great nation regardless of who is in government. It is that dogged belief in the Nigerian dream that has brought us here today, at a time when the countdown clock to elections reads 219 days but the Nigerian dream is yet asleep and her structural defects glaringly acute.”