Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare says Nigeria needs tactful and not obstinate leaders.
He disclosed this in a State of The Nation address in his Lagos-based church on Sunday.
The cleric’s address was titled, “The Building Blocks of Nationhood: A Blueprint for the New Nigeria”.
Bakare spoke following unrest generated as hoodlums hijacked peaceful EndSARS protests across the nation.
“In the spirit of the new Nigerian culture, government must jettison the leadership model of the biblical Pharaoh and Rehoboam, who ruined their nations through obstinacy. Leaders must begin to listen to the people and show empathy to their plight. We need leaders like Nehemiah who quelled a protest, not by the force of arms, but by the moral authority of exemplary, sacrificial leadership.
“We need leaders like the late Nelson Mandela, who converted institutions of division and oppression to symbols of unity and empathy. We need sensitive leaders who are not ashamed to shed tears with the wounded and who can tell the broken, ‘Your pain is my pain, and I will do everything in my power to lift your burden,’” he said.
Bakare observed that an average policeman in Nigeria is poorly educated.
He suggested an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) from a recognised polytechnic as the minimum educational requirement for recruitment into the police.
The preacher noted that the OND holder must have finished in the second-class lower division or above.
He further suggested a change of name from Nigeria Police Force to Nigeria Police Service and a radical change in police-citizen relations.
Bakare equally suggested that the Nigeria Police Academy be upgraded to a degree-awarding tertiary institution affiliated with a Nigerian university.
He said that this must go along with the reform of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
“The NYSC provides an opportunity to achieve capacity building for economic development, to beef up our national security and defence infrastructure, as well as build the bridge of trust between the people and the armed forces.
“At this juncture, I reiterate my recommendation that the NYSC becomes an optional two-year programme with the first year spent on military training for our young people and the second year spent on agro-entrepreneurship,” the preacher said.
Bakare condemned in strong terms the deployment of soldiers to “unjustly kill” #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on Tuesday.
He stressed that the Nigerian government has blood on its hands and must make amends.
In the same vein, he condemned the looting of private and public property by hoodlums that have hijacked the peaceful protests.
“Rather than destroy, we must build; rather than revel in attacks on tangible and intangible infrastructure, from buses and police stations to palaces and state-owned cyber assets, we must protect our common patrimony.
“Instead of accepting a status quo that appears to leave us no choice but to go through the backdoor, we must build enduring edifices of open governance using such bricks as the Freedom of Information Act.
“Our conduct should at all times be moral, ethical, and legal, moderated by the reality that there are no shortcuts in nation-building,” Bakare said.
In an optimistic tone, the preacher noted, “This dark chapter of our history is not how Nigeria’s story ends.”