Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Tunde Bakare, has said a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, does not belong in the same class with the former Premier of Western Region, Obafemi Awolowo, and does not deserve to take the place of the late sage as the leader of the Yoruba race.
He admitted that both leaders made unique contributions in bringing the race together, but Mr. Awolowo belonged to a special breed created by God and was only in the class of world leaders like Mahatma Gandhi of India.
The Pentecostal pastor stated this in an interview published in the second edition of Abuja-based magazine, The Interview.
Mr. Tinubu, who was governor of Lagos State from 1999-2007, holds the title of Asiwaju, one of the numerous titles also held by the late premier of Western region, who passed away in 1987.
Asiwaju, a Yoruba word translated in English means “the frontline leader”.
Mr. Awolowo founded the Egbe Omo Oduduwa in the 40’s to promote the culture and unity of the Yoruba. In 1951, he founded the Action Group, a political party that ran for elections in the First Republic.
He later founded the Unity Party of Nigeria, which swept the governorship polls in all the states in the old Western State as well as the old Bendel State in the Second Republic.
Tinubu, a Senator in the botched Third Republic, apart from being Lagos governor for eight years, was the architect behind the merger of some opposition political parties into the APC, which went on to defeat the ruling party for the first time since the return to democratic rule during the last general elections.
The APC not only produced the President of the country, it controls both chambers of the National Assembly and 22 states, including five of the six states in the Southwest.
But Bakare, who was running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2011 under the platform of defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, said the APC leader was yet to cross the kind of rivers Mr. Awolowo crossed.
“What major river did he (Tinubu) cross?” Mr. Bakare fired back when asked by his interviewer if the former governor was not qualified to take the place of the sage, who is widely described as the last authentic leader of the Yoruba.
Reminded that Tinubu was the major engineer of the merger that helped to bring the Yoruba together, the fiery preacher said, “And you think it was only Bola Tinubu who made that possible. I see. Which one came first, the chicken or the egg?”
He stated further, “Well, the answer is in the Bible. You are a preacher yourself. God first created the bird of the air and not eggs. The birds laid the eggs. If you see the picture of patriots and Nigerian leaders here, they are all a collapse of his.
“The people who are attempting to wear his (Awolowo) glasses do not have his vision, they attempt to wear his cap but do not have his brain, they attempt to wear his shoes but do not walk his ways. Show me the empire that Awolowo built with public funds.
To a Yoruba man, there is no concept greater than Omoluabi.
“If you get to my father’s grave in a hut he built in 1922, which is now a museum, there is an inscription ‘bibire koshefowora” which means you cannot buy a good pedigree or familial background.
“I am not trying to take the shine off Tinubu’s efforts; he had laboured but he is not in the same class with Awolowo. Regardless of how many rivers he crosses, he is still Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Awolowo is Awolowo.
“I have seen some paintings and pictures out there of Mahatma Gandhi, Awolowo and others and I just laugh and wonder why people can’t be themselves. When God needed a Mahatma Gandhi, he created one. So he did when he wanted an Awolowo.
He created a T.D Jakes when he needed one.
“A young man once went to T.D. Jakes and said, ‘Pray for me that God will bless me and make me like you.’ T.D.Jakes asked him,
“Are you sure.” “He said ‘Yes’ and T.D. Jakes said, “Let us pray. May you be homeless, go through hardship,’ and the young man jumped up and said ‘no, no, no, no, “and T.D. Jakes said, “That is what produces results”.
Mr. Bakare said books Mr. Awolowo authored were still relevant today.
“You need to see books he (Awolowo) wrote and how they are still relevant today”, he said, adding that “Years after he left the scene, he is still the numero uno Yoruba leader. Eagles don’t flock. You see one at a time”.