Pastor Tunde Bakare: Unveiling the number 16 mystery

bakare

Finally, Pastor Tunde Bakare has picked the N100 million presidential nomination form of the All Progressive Congress.

 This is the first major step he would take after he declared his intention to run for the presidency. Before now, many of those who cared to listen to him have been entertained with the number 16 song.

 Will he contest, will he not contest. Is number 16 literal or figurative? What possibly could he mean by the number 16.

 Bakare has left many to guess. But at the same time, he had said unequivocally he would be the next president after President Mohammadu Buhari.

A long-standing ambition

Born on November 11, 1954, Bakare a former Muslim turned Christian, elicited some thunderous response from his church members when he made the number 16 proclamation in 2018. He said: “I will succeed Buhari as President of Nigeria, nothing can change it. I am number 16, Buhari is number 15. I never said it to you before. I am saying it now and nothing can change it.

“In the name of Jesus, he (Buhari) is number 15. I am number 16. To this end was I born, and for this purpose came I into the world. I have prepared you for this for more than 30 years”.

So he didn’t just start saying he would be president in the Year 2022. He has been talking about his desire to contest for the presidency since 2018 in some of his sermons.

 He had also announced his ambition after casting his vote during the 2019 presidential election.

 He told newsmen “I am going to throw my hand into the fray. I am just waiting for President Buhari to finish his tenure. We cannot continue this way because we have something to offer this country, and we will by the grace of God.”

Number 16 carries significance

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Pastor Bakare at the APC secretariat singning some documents

 Beyond talking in plain language, Bakare had created a myth around his presidential ambition.  He had told his congregation in one of his messages in 2018 to pay attention to the symbolism of numbers.

 He said the number 16 carries some significance for him. He recalled in that message that the staircase in his father’s house has 16 flights and a book he wrote in 1993 has 16 chapters.

 But since Bakare is a preacher of the gospel it will be nice to do some spiritual permutation here. For those who are obsessed with numbers, what does the number 16 mean from a spiritual standpoint?

 The number 16 is indicated in Hebrew by two letters, namely “Yod Vav.” These two letters are said to symbolize two hearts being joined together as one, in love.

 Those involved in numerology from the Christian standpoint believe “the number 16 indicates the association between love and its various manifestations. Most significantly, this represents a deep spiritual connection to God, along with openness and acceptance towards others.”

 From the spiritual perspective, there is nothing political about the number.

 The Joseph platform

That apart, there were no indications before now that Pastor Bakare would collect the APC nomination form. He had said in one of his old messages that he was going to use Joseph’s platform to become the president of Nigeria.

 Joseph in the Bible was not a politician in the modern sense. He was invited by Pharoah to become Prime Minister of Egypt after he successfully interpreted the dream of Pharaoh.

 Going by the Joseph model, Pastor Bakare should not have bothered in the first place to pick the APC nomination form. He should have waited patiently for God to perfect that process. But then, the Joseph model may well mean something else that would come clear to us in a matter of days.

 What is presently clear is that Pastor Bakare is going to play the game like other contestants. He will be part of the APC primaries along with the likes of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, and a host of others. Or perhaps, a miracle will happen that will throw him up among the contestants. We need to keep our fingers crossed.

 Bakare eminently qualified

 While many Thomases are still grappling with the nuances from the camp of Bakare, it is good to note that he stands tall among all the contestants.

 This is not in the sense of being a money bag or having a greater chance than others.  It is in the sense that he is perhaps one of the few aspirants across the parties whose cloth has not been tainted.

 He is also one of the prominent contestants that have not been in government. Indeed Pastor Bakare is eminently qualified to rule Nigeria.

 He is a man of ideas. His simplicity and transparency are legendary. Some have accused him of talking too much. But that seems to be a plus for him.

 You can be sure you won’t catch him by the wrist for any misdemeanor. And this is not trying to sing his praise. He goes ahead of his detractors. When you think you have a point to nail him you will be shocked that he is already waiting for you.

 For instance, his detractors had thought they would nail him on the bank loan he took for his church complex project. They thought it was a juicy news item.

 But unknown to them, he had granted a newspaper interview long before the celebrated scoop where he talked about the loan and how he built the church complex. So what his detractors released to the public was indeed something he had already leaked to the public by himself.

 His past prophecies

 In 1999 at the peak of the election that brought in former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Pastor Bakare had given a raving prophecy. He said Obasanjo represented the Biblical king Agag whose head was chopped off by Samuel. He had in a way insinuated that Obasanjo would not be sworn in as Nigeria’s president.

 The prophecy caused some panic. Some felt that was too frontal. Obasanjo on the other hand did not take it lightly. He too raised prayer warriors to plead his cause. In the end, the prophecy did not come to pass.

 But Bakare’s prophecy on the June 12 election annulment however came true. He had said none of the candidates of both the defunct Social Democratic Party and the National Republican Convention would be sworn in. And it was so.

His pulpit and his politics

 Ironically, all through the  80s and 90s, there was no indication that Bakare would one day present himself in an election.  He was so busy with the pulpit that Bishop Oscar Ossai, Overseer of the City of Refuge once told Church Times that Bakare frowned at his involvement in politics. Ossai was one of the founding leaders of the People’s Democratic Party.

 But Bakare has a political trajectory. He was a union leader while he was a Law student at the University of Lagos. He had served as a youth leader in the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria.

 He revived his interest in politics in 2011 when He contested alongside president Buhari. So he is not passing a strange terrain. What is strange to many is his confidence in the face of odds.

Bakare and APC aspirants

 Already the army of those who want the APC ticket has grown to a laughable proportion. Close to seven people are now jostling for one position.

 To show that he is serious Bakare has stepped aside from the pulpit of the Citadel  Global Community Church.; the church he founded in 1994 as Latter Rain Assembly.  

 On Sunday, May 1 he went to church like any other member and sat in the congregation to enjoy the service. He will assume that position until the political process wraps up.

 Whether he would go back to take up his pastoral role or not will be decided in later days. What is however begging for clarity is the feasibility of his ambition. Though he has said he is not ambitious, there is no better word to situate his intention.

 The reality is that he has laid his hands on the plow. He can’t look back, or rather he may not look back. Whether he will go on plowing would be determined in a matter of days.

Nigerians can only watch how this drama unfolds. But the church needs to intensify its prayers. May Nigeria get it right.  

Right now, nothing matters to our leaders apart from the presidential ambition of a coterie of people. The ASUU Strike is no issue. The kidnapping and insecurity are no issue.

It is hoped that when the coast is clear on the political terrain Nigeria will heave a sigh of relief from political permutations and intrigues.

By Gbenga Osinaike

 

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