Sunday, August 27, 2017 6:47 pm
By Rupert Ojenuwa
I think it was in 2002 that Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly released the prophecy about Nigeria’s messiah. I am not a close follower of Tunde Bakare’s ministry but recent happenings and the need to move our nation out of the depth of struggle, unemployment and misery warrant a lot of thinking these days. Only an unpatriotic Nigerian will say he is not bothered by the constant instability in many spheres of our national life.
It was in one of my many frustrations about our nation that made me stumble on one of the prophecies by Pastor Tunde Bakare. I still can remember it like yesterday when he said ‘Here comes Nigeria Messiah, the tender plant, the Man from Adamawa’. Years passed and I am sure that anybody who believed the prophecy would have since waved it off as ranting of a man who perhaps wanted to be in the NEWS. But who would want to be with such a prophecy when there was a sitting president. As time progressed, chances are too that even the Man who released the prophecy may have retorted, ‘May be I missed it this time’ but God’s ways are not our ways like the holy book tells us.
Is it possible in the least that we have always had and known this messiah from Adamawa and not some new entrant into our politics as some thought at the time? Could we have missed this messiah already like the Jews missed identifying Jesus as the Messiah because they wanted him to come in a particular fashion?
Tunde Bakare’s prophecy gives us another clue about the Messiah from Adamawa. He called him a ‘tender plant’. After careful study of our political actors in Nigeria, it appears I may have a clue about the Messiah from Adamawa because he shares a lot of similarities with the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and I shall share a few here and leave the rest for other opportunities in subsequent articles.
The former Vice President has always had an ambition for economic prosperity for Nigeria.
In the pre-93 era, when the military decided to conduct an election for which a president would emerge, Atiku Abubakar decided to run. His goal was a better society, one different from the military. One in which the people will be the real beneficiaries but the political permutations started and he ultimately decided to concede to the late MKO Abiola so that the military don’t take advantage of several divisions and change their mind. He even went as low as losing the Vice Presidential ticket to King Ibe and yet he supported them. He gave up his ambition to support the prospect of a better nation. Talk of the tender plant from Adamawa.
In the pre-99 era also, when the exemplary Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar decided to hand over power to a civilian government, Atiku, though being qualified and also in the fore front of the vanguard, he jettisoned his ambition for President Olusegun Obasanjo to take the stage and settled for the position of the Vice President.
Though he knew that, as Vice President, there would be a lot of limitations to performance since the final approval rests with the President, he opted to take the slot because he sided with reason. He knew that the political tension occasioned by the passing of the late business mongul Abiola was enough to tear the nation apart. The tender plant from Adamawa thought within himself, ‘I could still bring enormous change from the office of the Vice President’ little did he know that he wouldn’t be able to bring as much change as he would desire because he also didn’t understand at the time that political gladiators (being more interested in themselves than in the nation) would form the incurable habit of making the President of the day see the Vice President as a political enemy rather than a partner in progress. Talk of the tender plant from Adamawa.
Just before the expiration of Olusegun Obasanjo’s first tenure, the tender plant was also prevailed upon not to seek the office of the president yet but allow the president a second term, though it didn’t tally with the perhaps unwritten agreement they had made with him. Like before, the tender plant from Adamawa gave in to their demand deciding to wait until 2007 when his then boss would have been done with a second term and the coast clear for him to unleash his experience and expertise in the private sector in delivery of democratic dividends on a higher scale only for him to be confronted with a third term bid. A quest which he thought was against the constitution.
President Obasanjo’s desire it would appear was a quest at continuing and finishing several projects he had started for which Atiku Abubakar in his characteristics nature of being a tender plant would have probably given in to, except the fact that he knew a third term bid would deliver more harm than good. He knew that Nigeria’s democracy would be mocked and brought to disrepute and he also envisaged that if a third term bid was allowed to scale through, there may be such a time in the future when a president may decide to seek a forth, fifth, sixth or even a perpetual term in office. That was his fear and he did the unthinkable. He stood against the third term bid and many political commentators and actors praised him for it including Peter Okocha who said ‘When Atiku Abubakar fought against the third term bid, he earned himself the status of a hero but he still suffers the consequences of that heroic and statesmanlike action to date’.
So, in order to nail him and ensure that the tender plant from Adamawa never occupies the highest office in the land, they wore him a toga. They brandished him as corrupt even though he had not been convicted nor even charged, they took him to the media and tried him there but the tender plant looked on. If I must say this. It was at that juncture that one would have thought the tender plant from Adamawa should have raised his hands in objection, having been made financially before joining the slime and murky waters of politics but don’t forget Tunde Bakare’s prophecy described him as the tender plant, the man from Adamawa. Here again, he showed his characteristics of being a tender plant.
Fast forward to now, the tender plant from Adamawa still continues to lend his weight behind national discuss. He continues to seek a better haven for Nigerians, albeit from out of the corridors of power. For example, when the Northern group issued a Quit Notice to Igbos in the North, he was one of the firsts to condemn it. He didn’t mind that the group shared the same region of origin with him. He was more interested in peace and quiet in Nigeria. And when a similar notice or warning was issued from the South, he also took the time to condemn it. This tender plant sure reeks of a Messiah.
After critical examination of the Nigerian situation and the seemingly never ending cries of marginalization, unemployment and low Foreign Direct Investments in Nigeria, he took the stage long before now to sound the drums of a way forward- he told all that cared to know that restructuring will be the beginning of our collective recovery, change and prosperity as a nation but only a messiah can see that, much less speak about it publicly for restructuring is not exactly a popular topic because it undermines selfish stakes but the tender plant has a ‘messiahship’ ambition.
Let me state that one doesn’t need rocket science to agree with Atiku’s restructuring call because restructuring will ensure states or regions as the case may be focused and channeled their resources into developing their own natural resources. Can you stop for a moment and imagine what it would be like if we had 10 natural resources harnessed in commercial quantities with equivalent forex generation like crude oil does to Nigeria with comparative advantage in our favor? If that were to happen, Nigeria would be way better for it but our over dependence in Oil will not allow our State Actors and Managers see the need. How saddening. I only thank God that some notable Nigerians are already queuing behind the tender plant from Adamawa to request for restructuring of our nation.
Having said these, you would see that Tunde Bakare may not have been wrong when he so prophesied. It is likely we have been looking for the Tender Plant in the wrong places when he has always been before our very eyes. But I think that it is important for us to go to ask Atiku Abubakar, (like John the Baptist did when his belief in the Messaiahship of Jesus waned for a little bit) ‘Are you the Messiah? Or should we expect another?