As Nigerians prepare to elect a new president next month, the Presiding Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church (formerly Latter Rain Assembly), Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday advised them to shun those promoting ‘emilokan’ and politics of entitlement.
Bakare also pointed out that good politicians seeking for votes from the electorates do not ask others in his campaign team to respond to questions directed at them.
Bakare said this in his state-of-the-nation address.
The comment from the Lagos-based pastor came just as the Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese, Most Rev. David Ajang, on Sunday urged Nigerians to make themselves physically present during the forthcoming general election, saying the nation have not had it this bad.
Although Bakare he did not mention the name of Senator Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he gave several instances that showed he was referring to the ruling party’s candidate.
During his presentation at the Chatham House in London in 2022, some members of the audience had asked Tinubu questions bordering on insecurity, oil theft, education and economy and how he planned to address crises in those areas if he became president. As he was asked by the moderator to respond to the questions, Tinubu assigned some members of his entourage to do so.
The former Lagos State governor had assigned Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to speak on how his (Tinubu-led) government would address insecurity and asked the Director of Strategic Communication of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Dele Aleke, to respond to the question on oil theft, while he delegated a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, Wale Edun, to respond to a question on how he (Tinubu) would boost the economy if elected.
This had created a storm as critics had said the action showed he was unfit to govern, but Tinubu’s supporters defended him saying what he did show he was ready to run an inclusive government if elected.
Speaking further, in his address, Bakare warned against politics of entitlement, describing it as bad politics.
Making reference to ‘Emilokan,’ which means it is my turn in Yoruba, the cleric said politicians with a sense of entitlement evade political debate and fail to address Nigerians they seek to serve.
He also asked Nigerians to reject vote buyers in the 2023 elections and called for entrenchment of good politics which focuses on issues of development.
“This ‘emilokan’ politics that insists on one’s turn, even if circumstances do not align, is bad. Politics of entitlement also manifests as perennial candidacy, not with the intent to serve, but to gratify long personal ambitions.
“It could also manifest as insistence on a given political office as a reward for what one considers a lifetime of sacrifice to the nation. Politicians with a sense of entitlement evade political debates and do not consider it imperative to communicate with the electorate.
“Entitlement politics will breed an imperial presidency that is distant from the people and has no sense of responsibility or accountability to the people. Such imperial governance will slide towards dictatorship and will be intolerant of dissent.
“Entitlement politicians set low performance benchmarks for themselves when they secure power and are content with projecting molehills as mountains of achievement.
“Good politics, good governance, Fellow Nigerians, having completed our analysis of bad politics, bad governance and it output, let us now take a look at good politics and output of good governance. Good politics is pragmatic politics in the interest of the people.
“Politicians who practice good politics talk to the people they intend to govern; by communicating, they allay fears, restore hope, and assure the citizens. It is engaging and interactive.
“The practitioners of good politics are open to interrogation and they do not avoid debates or evade difficult questions. It is inclusive. Good politics gives a sense of belonging to historically excluded or vulnerable groups, including women, young people, the elderly, and persons living with disabilities,” he said.
Bakare said politics of entitlement was not based on any ideological leaning and could lead to a dictatorship.
He warned that when politicians get to power through vote buying, “they do not think that they owe us, the citizens, any obligation.”
“As a result, they have no business with us until the next elections. Fellow citizens, in 2023, we must reject political merchants and vote buyers,” he said.
Bakare insisted that politics of division that must be done away with.
“The politics of division or divisive politics is adopted by politicians who capitalise on the polarisation in our polity to achieve their political ambitions.
“Rather than seek to build a bridge, such politicians use ethnic, regional, religious, partisan, generational and class divisions to build dams between the people in order to appease political support bases.
“The agents of divisive politics do not hesitate to throw equitable representation and inclusion out the window because politics is a game of numbers to them, while a sense of inclusion is secondary.
“They do not take a stand on issues of nationhood when they sense that taking a stand could infuriate their extremist support bases. Fellow Nigerians, you may be wondering what kind of governance outcomes the politics of division outputs. This kind of politics can extinguish the dying embers of patriotism and further intensify the feelings of marginalisation.
“It will nurture nepotism in political appointments and sectionalism in the allocation of projects and resources. In a nutshell, divisive politics attacks the foundations of nationhood and fosters underdevelopment.”
Speaking further, he said: “The politics of deception is defined by an attempted mixture of good tree and bad tree characteristics. The purveyors of this kind of politics thrive on false premises, including forged identities, contrived statistics, deliberate misinformation, propaganda, and such post-truth anecdotes that became known as “alternative facts” in the government of former US president Donald Trump.
“In addition to false premises, deceptive politicians also deploy false promises; promises they have no intention of fulfilling designed to lure unsuspecting voters.
“It was such politicians that former French president Charles de Gaulle referred to when he said, “Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.”
“The governance implication of the politics of deception is a lack of accountability and transparency, as well as a legacy of failed promises, because deceptive means cannot bring about a credible end.
“If you have ever wondered why some political leaders have their countries, regions or states in the palm of their hands as though such territories were their private estates and the people their zombie subjects, then welcome to the workings of the politics of manipulation.
“Manipulative politicians are masters at the art of mind control. They deploy various means, from the hypnotic to the philanthropic, to maintain loyalty to such an extent that defies rationality. Such politicians are adept at state capture and the weaponisation of poverty. They loot the treasury and use the looted funds to win loyalty through acts of generosity.
“One cannot but agree with Joseph Addison who posited: ‘Is there not some chosen curse, some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven, red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man who owes his greatness to his country’s ruin!’
“The governance outcomes of the politics of manipulation include a descent into dictatorship, human rights violations, grand corruption, lack of accountability, and the perpetuation of poverty.”
In addition, Bakare warned against the politics of exploitation, saying such politicians exploit otherwise non-partisan institutions such as security agencies to carry out their political shenanigans.
“It is also common to find exploitative politicians denying the opposition legitimate use of facilities. The politics of exploitation erodes confidence in institutions. It depletes patriotism, fosters corruption, and sabotages critical sectors of the economy.
“The politics of betrayal is a brand of transactional politics deployed by candidates who lack a sense of loyalty. Politics of betrayal is what is at play when political leaders sell out members of their political party for political gain.”
He also noted that practitioners of the politics of intimidation use violence and scare tactics to undermine opposition and disenfranchise voters.
According to him, the result of such politics was voter apathy and the avoidance of the political landscape by competent and credible candidates, especially women.
“Five decades after the end of the civil war, unanswered questions that border on national reintegration continue to stare us in the face even as the true political inclusion of the south east remains a strong imperative in our quest for nationhood. “The momentum around the candidacy of the Labour Party’s Mr Peter Obi has further brought this to the fore, reminding us that, as a nation, we cannot face our future with the structural imbalances and inequities that defined our past.
“Moreover, the ‘Obidient’ movement has also become a memory jogger in the generational context, reminding us of how the undesirable state of the nation and the inadequacies of the old political order can push the youth to the wall, provoking a younger generation that does not pull punches in confronting whoever appears to represent the old order. Unfortunately, nationhood has historically been the casualty and Nigeria has been the loser in such inter-generational wars.
“Furthermore, the growing support for the candidate of the Labour Party by Nigerian Church communities is worthy of note. However, while the awakening of political consciousness among Christians is commendable, in a religiously diverse polity, the optics of a political strategy that is identified more with one religion than the other is a sad reminder of the lingering divisions clogging the wheels of our journey to nationhood.
“This divisive and illogical religious rhetoric also has its propagators among Muslim clerics who seek to rally their congregations in support of the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) simply because it gratifies their quest for the domination of one religion by another.
“Those who adopt such a retrogressive religious paradigm that relegates development and good governance to the background have failed to see the link between the massive poverty and underdevelopment in northern Nigeria on the one hand and their brand of Islam on the other hand which is different from the type practiced by forward-thinking nations like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.”
We Haven’t Had It This Bad; Vote, Catholic Bishop of Lafia Tells Nigerians
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese, Most Rev. David Ajang, yesterday urged Nigerians to make themselves physically present during the forthcoming general election, saying the nation have not had it this bad.
He has equally advised the citizens to take into consideration the prevailing insecurity and hardship in the country and take the upcoming general election seriously by decisively voting the right candidates.
The Catholic Bishop, who is also the Episcopal Chairman of Social Communications, gave the advice in an interview.
He observed that “as a country, Nigeria has never been at a crossroads as it is at the moment.”
He added that this was one of the most important and crucial election in the country.
Reviewing Nigeria’s journey so far, the prelate noted that, “if you compare where we are now to where we were in the last four years, we are worse off.”
The Bishop, who decried the prevalent insecurity, lawlessness and lack of commitment on the part of those in government to improve on the wellbeing of the people, noted that these reasons account for the importance of next month’s elections.
He urged Nigerians to take the hardship, insecurity high cost of living and other vices into consideration as they make their choices during the coming elections.
He, further warned Nigerians against making wrong choices, saying that things will get worse than they are now.
“Everybody will suffer. Our future, the future of our children and the future of our grandchildren depends on the choices we make.
“If we want a better Nigeria, we must take the 2023 elections seriously,” Bishop Ajang stated.
While lamenting the seeming lack of confidence and skepticism being displayed by the public towards the elections, the Bishop encouraged the media organ of the Catholic Church, the National Directorate of Social Communications to play the essential role of mobilising Nigerian citizens to become responsible citizenship.
According to him, “responsible citizenship entails exercising their civic responsibility, getting registered, collecting their PVCs, going out to vote and ensuring that their choices are informed by their love for Nigeria and where they want to see the country in the next 10 years.
Meanwhile, the priest in charge of Saint Johns Independent Mission, Father Lawrence Soja Anyembugu, has tasked believers to cultivate acts of thanking and praising God for His numerous blessings upon them in and out of season.
Segun James and Dike Onwuamaeze