5 years ago today, Save Nigeria Group (SNG) rose to the occasion at a time of great confusion for many Nigerians following the extended disappearance of President Yar’Adua. As we reflect on the state of Nigeria today, the words of SNG’s Convener, Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare, reproduced below are as true now as they were then.
Audio version: http://www.lrawebstore.com/messages/The_order_Ezra.html
UNDERSTANDING WHY WE MARCHED
Being text of live radio broadcast from the auditorium of the Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday, January 17, 2010.
Fellow countrymen and women, I am here this morning to give account and to explain to every Nigerian why we took to the streets of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, on January 12, 2010. Just like you, I have read in the Dailies the comments of all and sundry regarding the “Save Nigeria Group’s Enough is Enough Rally”. Many wrote and spoke in support and some dismissed it with a wave of the hand. But those of us who led the protest and everyone in our group who marched did so because all other means of getting the men and women in power to do what is right concerning the state of the nation have yielded no tangible results.
To us in the “Save Nigeria Group”, it is amazing that:
(a) It took our rally to get the National Assembly to table the matter of “The Missing President”. Or was it a mere coincidence?
(b) It took our rally to get the absentee President to allegedly speak through the BBC Hausa programme for the first time since he disappeared from the radar fifty (50) days earlier;
(c) It took our rally to generate a counter-rally in support of offshore Presidency;
(d) The day after the rally, the Federal High Court in Abuja within four days, from the time the case was filed till judgment was given, in a seemingly preemptive judgment, ordered the Vice President to carry out executive functions delegated to him by the Absentee President.
So what would have happened if we did not march? The PDP-led government would have persisted with their cacophony of lies while taking the citizenry for granted and treating us with disdain and impunity. That the rally took place at all and attracted a large number of our citizens, male and female, young and old, Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths, points to the fact that social mobility in our nation is not frozen, and that in itself is causing a tremor of unease and terror in the oppressor’s camp.
Before going further, allow me for a moment to speak to my constituency. My primary constituency is the body of Christ, Latter Rain Assembly inclusive, as well as all lovers of truth – millions of people who on a weekly basis sit or stand glued to their radios and televisions as the Word of Truth is preached from this platform to the rest of the nation and the world at large. One question is agitating the minds of the conservative arm of the church at this hour.
Should Christians or their leaders participate in civil disobedience, street marches and rallies to protest against governmental arrogance, tyranny, oppression and corruption? What is the accurate Biblical standpoint on this issue? Is there a place for proclamation and outcry in the streets or does the Bible forbid it? Let the Bible speak for itself:
1. The first time the word ‘street’ occurs in the Bible is in Genesis 19:1&2 (KJV) when the angels of God refused to enter the house of misguided but righteous Lot and preferred to abide in the street all night before destroying Sodom. That in itself was an indictment and a protest.
2. From the lamentation of David after King Saul died, it appears that when certain types of news are proclaimed on the streets of a city or nation, a sense of joy and triumph envelopes the people therein. (See 2 Samuel: 1:17-20)
3. Oftentimes, when a people and their leaders persistently disobey God, He sends His prophets to the streets. (Jeremiah 11:1-6)
4. Outcry in the streets will only stop when a nation is rescued from the hands of strange men in government whose mouths speak lying words and whose right hands are right hands of falsehood. (Psalm 144:11-15) Are we there yet? NO. But someone may quote the prophecy of Isaiah out of context to confuse and mislead religious minds from taking to the streets (Isaiah 42:1-4). If this scripture relates to Jesus Christ, how come any of His servants will take to the street and not be in rebellion? Saints and strangers, scripture is not capable of private interpretation – it takes scripture to interpret scripture. Let the Bible speak again:
i. In His earthly ministry, Jesus spoke in the streets.
ii. Not only did Jesus teach in the streets, he commanded His disciples to take to the street and make proclamations against every city that rejected the message of the gospel. (Luke 13:22-27)
iii. What then is the concealed message in Isaiah 42? What is it that Jesus would not say in the street? Let scripture interpret scripture again: Matthew 12:9-21, verses 16&17 are key – “yet He warned them not to make Him known that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah.” (Luke 10:1-12)
iv. It is in the same vein that charitable deeds and prayers are forbidden in the streets, not strong protests against injustice, crass hypocrisy and corruption. (Matthew 6:1-6)
v. Whenever truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter, the voice of wisdom will cry aloud in the streets. (a) Isaiah 59:1-15 (b) Proverbs 1:10-33.
vi. Even in troubled times, prophetic fulfillment does not happen except the street and the wall of a city are rebuilt. (Daniel 9:20-25) Brothers and sisters, we have locked ourselves in the sanctuary for too long a time, fasting, praying and preaching for good governance in our nation. That in itself is not evil, but we need to do more than that as the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We need to spearhead effective social mobilization, rebuild the spiritual streets and the walls of our nation and influence what is happening there. IT IS TIME FOR THE TRUE CHURCH TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND REBUILD ANCIENT RUINS.
THE REASON FOR THE JANUARY 12 MARCH & FUTURE MARCHES.
Why then did we march on the 12th of January 2010 and why are we determined to continue till justice prevails and righteousness exalts our nation? We marched because for fifty (50) days, the government of this nation took the citizenry for a ride, treating us with disdain and inflicting on the national psyche the latest addition to our plethora of National Maladies, namely: Power Vacuum. Not only are we in deep crises as a result of the power vacuum, our leaders are also in denial.
And to compound our problems, the whole country has been reduced to one big kindergarten class. The Executive Council of the Federation has turned our nation into one big joke as the Spin Doctors in Abuja and elsewhere fabricate one lie after the other in attempts to satisfy the curiosity of their perceived kindergarten citizenry. Let me explain this phenomenon with a childhood tragedy – the loss of both my siblings, a set of twins, in 1961 after a brief illness.
I returned from school and my siblings were nowhere to be found. I asked my mother where they were and she said to me, with grief written all over her face, “they’ve both gone to London to see the Queen”. I asked her their return date; she tried to compose herself and said, “shortly”. You know the story line. That was the last time I saw my twin siblings.
Fellow citizens, the Nigerian nation has been headless and voiceless for the longest period since Independence. We do not know the whereabouts of our missing President, Umaru Yar’Adua, or the state of his health. On a daily basis, there are confusing signals emanating from everywhere, including the seat of power. Nobody is sure whether we have a living, dying, or dead president. To compound matters, the Vice President, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, openly admitted recently at a church service that nobody is in charge of Nigeria and that God is in charge of Nigeria.
Like the story my mother told me about my deceased siblings, the comments of Dr. Goodluck may satisfy the curiosity of shallow-minded people, but it is an admission of hopelessness which simply implies that “there is no one to hold accountable for the mess we are in since there is no identifiable person in charge.”
We have just been told that: i) the ship of state is in parking mode on the high sea; ii) we are in the midst of turbulence, but the sick president, air-freighted to a foreign land, forgot to leave the key to the ship behind; iii) his co-captain is either incompetent or unreliable and therefore cannot be trusted to steer the ship aright; iv) the crew cannot access the life jackets on board, talk less of distributing them v) Fellow Citizens, in case of shipwreck, you are on your own. If you know how to swim, good luck, as the name of your Vice-President denotes, and if not, bad luck.
As if these woes are not enough load on the heads of an oppressed people, the National Assembly more or less decided to hide under the umbrella of one finger and a part of the judiciary added insult to injury by asking the Vice President to execute whatever the Missing or AWOL President delegated to him without showing us how the delegation would be done by a man who from all indications does not appear strong enough to speak coherently. These are the reasons why we marched in Abuja on the 12th of January 2010 and why we will march in Lagos this week on Thursday, January 21, 2010.
By this historic and symbolic march, we in the Save Nigeria Group are saying: i) Enough Is Enough to quick fix solutions that mask the real problems and leave our nation vulnerable to crisis upon crisis. ii) We are saying, as the Good Book says, a living dog is better than a dead lion. So if the horse is dead, the mark of honor is to bury it, instead of toying with the destinies of over 140 million people by raising a fact-finding mission in search of a missing president. iii) We are of the considered opinion that the only way to solve our problems is to understand the root cause of our national dilemma and thereafter implement permanent solutions.
If we must call a spade a spade, the root cause is not far-fetched. Our present constitution is a lie and those who swore an oath to uphold it have no respect for it, either because of its falsity, or because they only emphasize it when it favours them. Or tell me, why would a government that makes the Rule of Law a cornerstone agenda openly violate the constitution with shameless impunity and seem to be getting away with it? I’ll tell you why, my fellow citizens – it is because you have allowed them to trample upon your rights. For a long time, the worst of us have been on the leadership saddle, while the best of us have been sidelined so that the rest of us will remain in servitude for as long as the worst of us remain in power.
Through the January 12, 2010 March and subsequent ones to follow, Nigerians of all faiths and from all walks of life – East, West, North and South; male and female; young and old – are saying Enough Is Enough. Till we put in place a People’s Constitution and reinvent a True Federalism, fiscal and otherwise, there will neither be lasting peace nor predictable progress. But for now, let the government of the day obey the rules they have set and stop moving the goalpost in the midst of the game.
Let the vacant office of the President of Nigeria be filled immediately by an Acting President in line with the existing imposed constitution, till we establish the fitness or otherwise of the too-sick-to-be-bothered President. For these and other reasons, the Save Nigeria Group invites all Nigerians to a Mass Rally on Thursday, the 21st of January 2010, commencing at 10.00 a.m.
We will assemble at or before 10.00 a.m. at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Open Ground, former Sky Power Ground, G.R.A., Ikeja, Lagos, where we will be addressed by Credible Agents of Change in our country before marching to the Lagos State Governor’s office. Let us join forces together to destroy the shackles of oppression, subjugation and corruption in our land. Let us all rise in one accord to say to our oppressors, “Enough Is Enough”. (Ezekiel 45:9) God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.