Tunde Bakare, founder of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly), has said he will contest the 2023 presidential election only if God and Nigerians ask him to do so.
Bakare said this to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Anuja, on Friday.
The popular cleric also disclosed that he has communicated his future plans to President Buhari but declined to announce it.
He said: “Every Nigerian, who is of age and who is not disqualified by any means, is free. I’m a nation builder, if God wants me to do that, and the people of Nigeria will appreciate that, why not? I’m as free as anybody to do anything with my time. I’ve pastored a church for 33 years, now we raise new leaders. I want to focus on nation-building.
“The Office of the President is only one office, there are so many other things we can do as people to support whoever is there to make sure that we do not go into retrogression, but begin to make steady progress as a people. I’ve already communicated clearly, my future plans to Mr. President, and it stays between us.”
Bakare, who was the running mate of Buhari on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), insisted that it does not matter where the next President comes from as long as the President can deliver good governance.
He added that it is immature for Nigeria to continue to dwell on the rotation of power at this stage of its development and governance.
He said: “I had said it on October 3. It’s our immaturity, politically and otherwise, that makes us say power must either be in the North or be in the South, instead of looking for the best, the fittest, the most competent, and people of character, who love this nation.
“Listen to me, if where the president comes from will make the place he has come from to be better, the northern part of Nigeria should be the richest and should be the most progressive and the most developed because out of 61 years, the north has produced either the president or heads of state for 40 to 41 years, and yet see the retrogression in the North.
“If it’s from the South, why should a person like President Obasanjo freeze and seize the account of Lagos State in his own tenure? If it’s from South-South or South-East why couldn’t President Jonathan use all his powers to develop South-South/South-East?
“Not where they come from, it’s what they carry and what they have to offer. May the best of the best of Nigerians rise, whether they’re from the east, from the west, from the north, and from the south.
“If there are agreements between politicians among themselves on rotation, a bargain is a bargain. That’s between them. But as far as this country is concerned, what we need at this stage is a man who can drive us to the Eldorado.”