Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to change his economic policies, which he said have failed to yield the desired results in the past 18 months of his administration.
He, however, acknowledged that the present government inherited an economy in dire straits due to revenue unaccounted for, in the preceding oil boom era, with reported massive looting through oil subsidies and diverted defence budgets.
Bakare, who was a guest lecturer at the 14th year anniversary of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Asokoro, Abuja, last Saturday spoke extensively on the topic: “Church and economic recession”.
“In the past 18 months, attempts at salvaging the economy have not yielded lasting results. While the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrunk by 0.36 percent as at the first quarter of 2016, production dipped by 2.06 percent as at the second quarter. Evidently, Nigeria’s recession is largely self-inflicted and could have been avoided,” he said.
He said the recession currently experienced in Nigeria “is an opportunity for the church to take responsibility for the destiny of Nigeria”.
The vice presidential candidate in 2011 elections recalled that price of oil peaked at $145 per barrel around 2008 and, after a brief fall, rose and, subsequently, hovered around $100 until December 2014, when it began to crash. But, the biggest oil boom experience, he said, fell into the hands of an unprepared leadership.
“Hence, with our revenue unaccounted for in the preceding boom era, and with reported massive looting through oil subsidies and diverted defence budgets, the present government inherited a Nigerian economy in dire straits.
Bakare, who is the convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), said he never regretted occupying the street in January, 2012, following the fuel subsidy removal by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I have no single regret about my action in 2012. If I have another opportunity, I will do it again. Save Nigeria Group (SNG) campaign was not about fuel subsidy, but against corruption. We insisted on ‘kill corruption and not Nigeria’. It was corruption in that government that we fought.
“We simply made the then government to understand that sovereignty belongs to the people and we demonstrated it through our actions. And we will do it again and again if time demands for it,” he said.