Pastor Bakare on Subsidy Removal, DasukiGate And Restructuring of Nigeria

The Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and probe him.

Bakare, who was Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 presidential election, said this while delivering his State of the Nation address, titled, ‘Roadmap to successful change,’ in his church in Lagos on Sunday.

The cleric said it would be unfair and improper to prosecute the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for allegedly misappropriating the money meant for arms while the CBN governor, who released the money to Dasuki, was allowed to remain in office.

He said, “The CBN currently contributes negatively to the Nigerian state in more ways than one. Firstly, the CBN has become a conduit for politicians to drain the nation. Otherwise, how can a letter of barely two paragraphs, addressed to the current CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, by the then NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), become the authority to incur expenditure leading to cash flow of $37m and several million euro?

“In decent climes, the CBN governor cannot continue in office while the NSA is accounting for his alleged offences.”

Bakare added that the CBN must be overhauled while the CBN Act 2007 must be amended, saying it confers too much power on the apex bank and encourages corruption.

He said the Act gives the CBN the power to decide the printing of the naira, the amount to be printed, the currency/dirty notes to be destroyed “of which the CBN staff can take as much dirty notes as they like, and inject it back into the system while keeping all of us in the dark without any checks and balances”.

Bakare, who is the Convener of the Save Nigeria Group, said although he opposed the removal of subsidy and joined in the anti-subsidy removal protest in 2012, he would support the removal of subsidy by the Buhari’s government.

He explained that under former President Goodluck Jonathan, the process of subsidy removal was not transparent as it was only a ruse to cover up the diversion of stolen subsidy funds.

He, however, urged Buhari to divert the subsidy money to other critical areas.

The cleric stated, “Given the resurgence of the subsidy conundrum, it has become needful to pre-empt and inform those who have been wondering if our January 2012 protests were organised in error. Let me reiterate that the Save Nigeria Group did not mobilise the people of this country to the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, merely to protest the removal of the fuel subsidy but to challenge the corruption that defined the fuel subsidy regime.

“We said then that it was not a deregulation, as was being claimed by the government, but a hike in fuel price. We demanded the prosecution of those indicted in the damning report of the Farouk Lawan committee, a phenomenon we refer to as ‘Kleptoric kleptocracy unlimited’, where for instance, N999m was reportedly paid 129 times totalling N128,871,000,000 to some companies by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

“Four years later, those indicted persons have not been prosecuted. Do we still need to wonder why corruption is so endemic and very pervasive in our nation today?”

Bakare commended Buhari’s anti-corruption war but argued that the best way to bring a change was to implement the report of the National Conference.

He explained that the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress and the confab report were very similar.

The cleric said states must be given more financial autonomy in the face of their inability to pay salaries.

He said Nigeria had structural defects and only a restructuring would curb corruption and waste.

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