By Toby Prince
In his message entitled ‘Much Ado About Succession’ yesterday, the cleric said he was quoted out of context in the State of the Nation address he delivered on the first Sunday of this year.
“I am constrained to make some brief clarifications due to the unrecognisable reconstruction of my utterances in the media, and the subsequent responses to these distortions,” he stated.
Bakare stated yesterday, “My use of the word ‘succession’ has drawn curious reactions from various quarters. Apparently, and without my participation, it has been interpreted as my asking Buhari to foist his choice candidate on the nation in flagrant disregard of democratic principles. I neither did this nor did I insinuate at any point that Buhari should ‘pick’ or ‘choose’ his successor, as some news outlets have conjured.
“My exact words are ‘…the third pivotal objective of governance should be to build a strong post-Buhari legacy facilitated by accurate succession… Therefore, even as we build institutions of democratic governance, a key responsibility that history has bestowed on Buhari at this turning point in our journey to nationhood is to institutionalise systems of accurate succession that will build and sustain the Nigeria we desire. This is a task that must be done.’
“My overriding concern in offering propositions was to forestall the emergence of a new iteration of recycled enemies who will once again seek to lock us into a cycle of doom and gloom at the turn of a new decade. If we have been excellent at anything in Nigeria, it has been at creating a succession pipeline of the worst of us ruling over the best of us. On my part, I remain committed to facilitating, however God enables me, the emergence of the best, brightest, fittest and most competent Nigerians across every gamut of our national life. I am more invested in discussions on the way forward and will thus not address individual comments, particularly as they were in response to words I simply did not utter or insinuations that were the concoctions of jaundiced imaginations.”
He described succession as an expansive term that does not focus on one position alone, adding that no individual could singlehandedly solve Nigeria’s problems.