Popular cleric, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, was at the Presidential Villa for a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, after which he pleaded with Nigerians to be less critical of the president because it is still too early to judge his performance in office.
Bakare, who was Buhari’s vice-presidential running mate on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 elections which they lost, assured Nigerians that the change they voted for in Buhari would not turn out to be chains that would tie the nation down although “pain is part of gain”.
Emerging from the parley with the president, he told State House correspondents that it was no easy task to redirect to the right path a nation that was going the wrong way, hence the need to be very patient with Buhari’s administration.
His words: “When you are driving on a wrong direction, for example, you are going to Ibadan and you face Badagry and you get to Cotonu and you realize you have gone in the wrong direction for too long a time, then you turn back and make a U-turn. There will be some suffering you have to go through.
“Pain is part of gain. No pain, no gain. The years of wastage and all that we have done wrong has finally caught up with us. All we are praying for is wisdom for this government to things right and to do the right things so that gradually, we can begin to come out of the woods.
“It is too early and to soon to begin to judge. If there is anything I know about Mr. President, it is that he has a good heart. He loves this country and he wants the country to run well. But it takes time. I know we are all impatient and in a hurry and I trust we will come out of the woods.”
Asked if he would advise the President to tinker with his cabinet given the poor rating from the public, Bakare who said he found that Buhari “is doing very well healthwise”, pointed out that “he can do what he likes when he likes it”.
He added that Buhari “knows what he has given them. For example, I have not given any appointment to anyone so I can’t judge their performance.
“But if there are yardsticks and standards given to them and if they have performed below par, definitely, the president would not mind at the right time to do those things.
“I will like to appeal to all Nigerians that we should just exercise a bit of patience. This change will not become chain that will tie all of us down.
“Change for good takes time and we should just exercise a little bit more of patience. We trust that government is listening and the leaders are listening too and they will respond to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.”
When asked to respond the raging controversy over the alleged padding of the 2016 Budget by the National assembly, Bakare replied that “I just returned to the country last Friday. I am reading about it. I will make my decision when I have checked both sides; and I will definitely speak on that”.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who is in the eye of the budget padding controversy, also met with Buhari few minutes before Bakare arrived.
It was Dogara’s second visit in two weeks at the Presidential Villa, the first being when he told reporters afterwards that he would not resign over the controversy.
On this second visit, this time accompanied by some federal lawmakers representing his home state of Bauchi, the Speaker instead chose to tactfully decline to answer reporters’ questions