In his message titled: "The Gathering Storm and Avoidable Shipwreck: How To Avoid Catastrophic Euroclydon" delivered in his church at Ogba, Lagos Sunday, Pastor Bakare quoted Section 135 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, which provides that if the federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may by resolution extend the period of four years mentioned in sub-section (2) of this section from time to time; but no such extension shall exceed a period of six months at any one time.
According to him: "The argument against this would be the notion that the country is not at war. If indeed the country is not at war, how can one explain the invasion and annexation of Nigerian territory by insurgents launching attacks from our borders and neighbouring countries?"
The cleric said Nigerians should not forget that on May 14, 2013, while declaring a state of emergency in three states, President Goodluck Jonathan said of the activities of terrorists: "These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten its territorial integrity. As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this."
Bakare, who noted that records indicate that since that declaration the situation has only worsened, explained that the proposal for suspension of elections is not with a view to giving President Jonathan an avenue for undue tenure elongation "but for the purpose of building a coalition that will bring lasting solutions to our problems."
He hinged his position on the fact that whichever way the outcome of the coming election between the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner and the incumbent president, Dr. Jonathan from the South-South goes, "it is certain the country will erupt in crisis."
"If the election favours Jonathan, the North will raise the issue of incumbent sentiment to foment trouble and if otherwise, the Niger Delta region would also react", he said.
Bakare, however, canvassed for the creation of transitional government and insisted that the President must not act with the intention to seek re-election but "rather, he should, within the period, commit himself to building a non-partisan coalition comprised of major stakeholders and competent statesmen from each geo-political zone."
According to him: "This coalition, headed by the President, will constitute a combined force that will tackle terrorism and address what I have earlier referred to as the fundamentals, within a time-frame of two years or less."
In addressing the fundamentals, Bakare calls for immediate implementation of the report, or part thereof, of the 2014 National Conference, especially as it relates to:
- Restructuring with a view to achieving true federalism under zonal commissions as well as fiscal federalism;
- Ensuring as proposed by the report of the National Conference that adequate allocation is given to a Solid Minerals Development Fund in addition to other recommendations geared towards economic diversification;
- Achieving national reconciliation and integration by adopting, constitutionalising and propagating the national charter for reconciliation and integration;
- Conducting accurate census;
- Establishing a truly independent electoral body;
- Creating a true people's constitution that will reflect the aforementioned features; and
- Conducting free, fair and credible elections in the consensually accepted constitutional arrangement.
-The Guardian (