By Mansir Lawal Kaware
Pastor Tunde Bakare, the General Overseer of Later Rain Assembly, caused a stir the other day for making an issue out of what he does not know. Some of those who commented in the social media in support of Bakare have portrayed themselves as blind followers of him. The prayer by Justice Idris Kutigi during the ongoing national confab’s plenary session on March 14 which Bakare opposed was completely harmless not only to Christians, but to even non-religionists. The challenge to Kutigi on the prayer was an insult. Even if Bakare did not respect Muslims and the religion of Islam, he should respect Justice Kutigi as chairman of the conference.
He should respect the elderly man for the sake of President Jonathan, a Christian like Bakare, who appointed Kutigi as the confab chairman and as a former Chief Justice of Nigeria because attaining the position of Chief Justice of the Federation is a great thing to reckon with. Should Pastor Bakare decide to throw all these in the dustbin, he needs to respect Justice Kutigi even for the sake of his age. Besides, the prayer offered by Kutigi was a personal prayer which every Muslim is expected to offer every day, everywhere and at any time. Nothing stops Bakare from dancing and singing Hallelujah before making his contributions at the confab, if he feels shortchanged by the prayers from Kutugi. His argument that Nigeria is a secular state and a national prayer should be adopted only proves him to be a pretender. This is because as a Nigerian, Bakare knows that at any gathering prayers are offered by a Muslims or Christian or both; we never heard him preach against it. Therefore, the comment by Bakare is inimical to the peaceful co-existence of Nigeria and an invitation to religious crisis. This
may be because in the event of any trouble, Bakare will be among the beneficiaries. He will not be in the battle front himself. After the crisis Bakare and his likes will then jump to the podium and start asking for Justice on behalf of the victims.
Bakare does not know the value of that prayer to Muslims; he probably was overwhelmed by the number of Christian delegates at the conference which is by far more than the number of Muslims delegates, but has has goofed because he very well knows that even if he wants to be unfair to Nigerian Muslims he will not say Christians are more than Muslims in number. After all, the conference is
neither meant to convert Christians to Islam nor convert Muslims to Christianity, which in essence makes the argument of Bakare baseless. He is crying wolf where there is none. If he challenged Kutigi on issues being discussed at the conference nobody would care because it is aimed at achieving a common goal, but to bring religious sentiments into the matter is the least expected
of one who presents himself as a man of God.
Mansir Lawal Kaware wrote in from Katsina.