‘Prima Donna President’: But who are these displeased benefactors Tunde Bakare is talking about?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

Pastor Tunde Bakare is turned off by the efforts of the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to outdo his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is one of only a few possible interpretations that could be given to the words of the Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly. Pastor Bakare, speaking to his Church congregation on “The birth pangs of a new Nigeria”, made a controversial statement that “the next in line does not translate automatically to become the next king”.

The statement has gathered dust in public circles especially on social media since it became public, and it has got us thinking: Pastor Bakare has implicitly accused the Acting President of “show-offs” and trying to “out-do” his benefactors. To be sure, he was not specific in mentioning any names, choosing to be plural in his description of these prima donnas.

But presuming, with good reason, that the Acting President is in fact the sole target here, who then are these benefactors whom he has been showing-off and trying to out-do?

Tunde Bakare

Tunde Bakare was a former Vice Presidential candidate of the CPC in the 2011 elections. From Segun Adeniyi’s ‘Against the Run of Play’, we have further evidence (from the words of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) that the decision by Buhari in 2011 to pick Bakare as against Osinbajo was the reason behind the collapse of the intended CPC-AC merger. In the three-party contest that ensued, President Goodluck Jonathan routed the CPC and AC to become President, leaving the Buhari-Bakare dream in tatters. In the period before and after those elections, Pastor Bakare was seen as a particularly controversial figure, with public appearances and statements opposing the Jonathan Government that, though were intended for the masses, did not always go down well.

As candidate, Vice President and presently Acting President, Osinbajo’s style has been largely of a pacific nature, choosing instead to consult and to exhort towards peace, as against the more forceful approach by Pastor Bakare. But even with all these, can we say the latter was a benefactor to the former?

President Buhari

At 60, Prof Osinbajo is a younger man than Buhari. Without the toll of a long active career in the military, he has more physical strength in him to cover greater mileage in terms of travels, tours and talks. Beside these physical advantages that have enabled the Acting President to cover such great grounds and appear more “active” than President Buhari, there has not been a world of difference in the approach of both men in their administration. The anti-corruption efforts have produced same results, with Osinbajo’s inability to make use of his own report on the Babachir Lawal case. In any case, on her return from London, First Lady Aisha Buhari did say that the President was happy with the “loyalty” of Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Cue the recent permission granted by the Acting President to the Lagos State Government to refurbish the International Airport road, and his readiness to slug it out with anybody who interferes with Osinbajo’s right to accede to the Presidency, should anything happen to President Buhari, we can’t really say the Jagaban has been unimpressed by Osinbajo’s efforts to “show-off”.

‘The Cabal’

Nobody quite has a list of the members of this usually mentioned but eternally unnamed group of individuals. Was Pastor Bakare speaking in the interest of those within the APC who feel they would be cut off from Government if Osinbajo becomes President, and are they the same group of persons who have held President Buhari hostage in London, refusing to divulge details on his health?

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