The Game of Loyalty: What’s Tunde Bakare playing at?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

It is not so certain if there are scores to settle between both men, but there must be more to the recent statements made by Pastor Tunde Bakare in light of the performances of Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.

And we are going to play the ethno-religious card here.

Both men are pastors, from the Yoruba-speaking ethnic nationality, and have long been members of the opposition before 2015. Following the failed Buhari-Bakare bid for the 2011 Presidency, Pastor Bakare remained active in the public space, being one of the spearheads of the Occupy protests against the 2012 fuel price increments. However, with the need for the alliance between the Tinubu-led AC and the CPC, the insistence on the choice of Prof Osinbajo as running mate meant Pastor Bakare would not be featured on the ticket.

For the two years of the Buhari administration, Osinbajo has mainly played the supporting role, with a good speech there and the occasional duty to lead one committee here. But 2017 has been the year in which Nigerians have truly come to know him as a leader. Inevitably, it has led to preliminary discussions about what would happen in 2019, vis-à-vis a déjà vu of the scenario with Goodluck Jonathan in 2010.

But, with Pastor Bakare’s comment, there could be another wildcard possibility at play, and it does involve a healthy Buhari willing to seeking re-election in 2019. Though it is yet unprecedented, could Pastor Bakare be hoping to re-emerge as the favourite one to President Buhari in 2019?

It sounds absurd, even impossible, that such a thing could occur, but it surely is not more absurd than Pastor Bakare’s insinuation that Acting President Osinabjo would not automatically accede to the Presidency as next in line. Accusing certain persons of trying to outperform their benefactors, it would appear the former Vice Presidential candidate is trying to win appeal for his erstwhile co-runner in the Presidential race. Pastor Bakare probably wants the President to know that, if he were Acting President at this time, he would not have been “showing off”, whatever that could be taken to mean.

We keep watch on this one; it could get interesting.

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