Pastor Bakare explains his criticism of Justice Kutigi’s Islamic prayer, denies Islamophobia allegation

The General Overseer of Later Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said his comment on the floor of the National Conference Tuesday that Chairman Idris Kutigi should refrain from starting his speeches with a short Arabic phrase should not be interpreted to mean hatred for Muslims and their faith.

Mr. Bakare had, at the first plenary of the Conference, drawn attention to the short Arabic phrase that usually precede Justice Kutigi’s speech at the Conference’s sessions.

The  clergyman then called for a uniformed prayer at all meetings of the Conference.

“Mr. Chairman, yesterday you said something at the inauguration of the Conference and I did not understand,” Mr. Bakare said. “Today again, you said it. I think you should pray in the way all of us understand because if I stand up and say, ‘Praise the Lord somebody,’ we will turn this place into a church service.”

But in a statement Thursday morning, a group, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, said Mr. Bakare’s “attack” on Justice Kutigi was a premeditated demonstration of his hatred for Muslims and Islam.

Mr. Bakare has now denied the charge, saying he made the comment in the interest of national unity, cohesion and mutual co-existence at the conference.

“What we are saying is that let us adopt one simple language so that no one reads any religious connotation into anything we say or do,” Mr. Bakare told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone.  We are not here for regional or religious issues. We must not be divided by tribal sentiments and religious prejudices. We must focused on building a new Nigeria.”

The clergyman explained that there was no way he could hate Muslims having been born and raised a Muslim himself.

Besides, he said, many of his relatives, friends and associates are Muslims.

“If I hate Muslims, I would not have accepted to be a running mate to a Muslim in the last presidential election,” Mr. Bakare explained. “I was born and raised a Muslim. I’m well versed in the Quoran having graduated from Islamic school on April 16, 1967.

“Many of my relatives  are still Muslims. My older cousin was recently made the Are Adinni Musulumi of Egbaland and my family was well represented at the ceremony.

“I have no Islamophobia of any kind. Even in my businesses, I employ Muslims and non-Muslims and even those who don’t believe. I was born in the South but raised in Sokoto. My father was known as Sani Arewa and that is what is written on his tombstone. My uncle was Sarki Yoruba in the Sultan’s palace.

“So, you can see that I’m in no position to hate Muslims. All I’m saying is that we should be fair to one another. God created only one race. And that is the human race. We should not let religion or tribes to divide us.”

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  • Xman

    Bakare only succeeded in showing his stupidity and shallow mindedness. I pray he reads this comment. Majority of us who are following him thinking he is intelligent, wise and religious have now known that he is everything but non of these.

    What he failed to do was what Nurudeen Lemu did. Nurudeen showed the world that people like Bakare are not only stupid but are not what they claimed to be. How on earth can someone who claimed to graduate from Quranic school now saying he did not understand what the chairman said (pray) in Arabic, is that not cheer hypocrisy?

    He is just trying to pacify and gain support from the gullibles they have been deceiving in the name of religion. Their antics is sure to fail, it is a matter of time. Now who is hearing his voice, no one, and he is going down no matter what anyone thinks, not even his staunch followers will be able to safe him, he shall go the ways of his likes if he continues this way……

  • Shola

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  • Bo Sede

    I concur that whoever takes GOD out of his/her life is walking the path of destruction.

    However, it is segregational for the chairman or any delegate to address the confab in a language that is not understood by all the delegates. Actually if Pastor Bakare rose up and started his speech with “Praise the LORD”, everyone would still understand, even if some disagreed with it. Everyone would understand because it is plain English language, which is our common official and study language in Nigeria.

    It is unproductive for anyone to address the entire ‘confab’ in Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa or any other language which is not common to ALL. That is what makes Justice Kutigi’s usage of the Arabic language segregational and divisive.

    Mr/Ms Babalaje, I do not believe that Bakare was trying to incite people against one another. Rather, it seems to me that he was seeking a level playing ground for everyone. As a nation we must grow up and stop being unnecessarily sentimental, emotional and over-religious.

    I think it is rather dramatic of you to tell Bakare to stay out of politics. We need his ilk in politics; men and women who truly love Nigeria and whose passion is to build a nation that is productive, well-ordered and respected. If we had more like him in politics, we would place more value on merit, integrity and competence, and we would rise above the mediocrity fuelled by our ethnic, religious and money-bag preferences. If we had more like him in politics, we would have leaders who care to use the nation’s wealth for the development of all, rather than kleptomaniacs-in-government!

    If we had more like him in politics, we would have leaders who fear GOD and care for the well-being of their countrymen/women.

  • Babalaje

    Mr Tunde Bakare if you start your speech by saying “praise the Lord somebody” you expect response from the people you are addressing and that will make a church out of the situation. If however, you say “I begging in the name of Jesus” and continue with your speech that should not bother anyone.
    So if Justice Kutigi made short islamic remarks- according to you before he started his speech and did not expect everyone to join in a situation that will make it look like an Islamic affair,what does it matter? Nigeria is a multi religious society and we should learn to have some tolerance for one another.
    Please do not unnecessarily incite people against one another. Stay out of politics!

    • Happy

      you guys are incomprehensible many times. What he is saying is in pure consonance with common sense. Nigeria is not a muslim state for God’s sake. Wont you guys complain if Bakare starts his own speech with Jesus is Lord all in the name of religious freedom? its even beta to divide Nigeria into three so that you can go ahead and practice all your ideologies, kidnap yourselves, breed more suicide bombers like Muritala and brand your own country the way you like. and @Babalaje, in case you are a southerner, you can also join them since your reasoning is alike

      • Babalaje

        I does not matter if Bakare started his speech with “in the name of Jesus” we will still listen to him anyway as long as he is not expecting everyone at the gathering to clap and sing along with him.
        Even if you choose to divide Nigeria into the North and the South, you would still have both Muslim and Christians alike making up the population of the different regions. I still say we should be more tolerant.
        Some countries that took religion completely out of their systems(schools and others) are now regretting what becomes of their youths

        • kholar

          In national issue religion should be set aside, after all, this religion things are borrow from no where and they are beginning to give us problem.

  • Wonderful

  • But in a statement Thursday morning, a group, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, said Mr. Bakare’s “attack” on Justice Kutigi was a premeditated demonstration of his hatred for Muslims and Islam

    And the killings of Christians was done out of love the Muslims have for Christians?

  • So if I come into a non-religious gathering and pray, “Rabash kani senden ma kuria ma rashidi yekini” claiming it is my religion’s official lingo, shouldn’t my sanity be queried? You muslims would have been very funny if not that this ever-recurring scenario is so tragic. Why do you get so much kicks from sniffing this stuff called Islamophobia?

  • Hmmm, a bird and a fish can leave praying if and only if they can build a house together.the christians are more disturbing than others.why are christians always praying in a public mean of transportation; buses and others. Are they forgotten in not missionary buses, or public buses not for christian alone.okay, that mean you want to erase others to replace yourselves,even in the so called first world is not done.please check EXTERNALITY.Thanks

    • Saint

      At least you understand what they are saying.

    • FM


    • OLA


  • Am ashamed reading comments, argument and counter argument on the issue, this reflect the real truth that we are not a single entity but were forced together. This is a NATIONAL conference that concerns all ethnics, religious group in diversity and other interest in Nigeria. Looking at it and in generality, Pastor Bakare understand the arabic phrase altered by the Chairman of the conference considering his background but Past Bakare is not speaking for Himself or christian member alone, what of other who are neither Muslim nor Christian but Traditionalist and none believers in attendance If each person starts expressing themselves in their own way what will be the consequence, commotion !. Religion is one of the main reason why Nigeria is like this: Both Islam and Christianity are foreign to us but unfortunately we condemned and dumped our own for them saying our own is not good, what a shame. God save Nigeria.

  • The entitlement mentality of the Hausa Muslim Fulani north is shocking. The fact that people here are attacking Pastor Bakare for demanding a common language to be used by the chairman in a National conference only goes to show that we have major problems in Nigeria. A few questions:
    Is Arabic a language native to Nigeria? No
    Is this conference a private gathering of Kutigi and his family members? No
    Should the conference chairman functioning in that capacity on authority of the president of Nigeria bring his personal religious language to a conference on Nigeria? No
    If the arguement is that he is a Moslem and the Quran is in Arabic, so does it mean that God does not understand English? No
    Should a Christian if the chairman of the conference pray in Hebrew language since the original language of the Bible is Hebrew? No
    English language is the official language in Nigeria and the national anthem and pledge are the official song and poem that are permitted in a Nigeria Conference. Period! Kutigi was wrong. Bakare was right.

    • Yusuf Samaila

      Fairgame you call yourself? I think it is ridiculous for any Christian not to pray in Hebrew. the original language of your religion. Muslim pray in Arabic and it is always easier to pray in Arabic by a muslim. you Christian learnt your religion and pray in English. it is just by coincidence that the same English is official language of the Nigeria and thus offer an opportunity for a muslim to understand your prayer when ever you do same. For Pastor Bakare I know Buhari was making a mistake in 2011 when he nominated him as his running mate. He hate muslim and islam and he is just manifesting same here. the grandstanding will not work, but our strength will speak for us in 2015. I am a PDP apologist but come 2015 we are going for alternative.

      • After reading you response I now understand why we need to go back to regional governments! Moslems like you are so steeped in inferiority complex that they will adopt a foreign language Arabic as there religious language even though there are Christian Arabs. Arabic is not solely for Moslems. There are bibles in Arabic for the Christian Arabs because that is their native language. Hebrew is the original language of the bible but the same God who created Hebrew also created English, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Urhobo, etc. so it is an insult to say that unless you pray in the original language of the Quran which is the language of the writer of the Quran you can’t pray in another language! You can definitely exercise your right to vote as I will exercise mine. I hope that out of this conference comes the regionalism or even secession that many regions of the south want. So you all can keep praying in your Arabic language. As far as Nigeria is concerned when you are in an official Nigerian gathering you have no right to pray in Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi or whatever religious affiliation language exists out there but only in the lingua franca of Nigeria – English. Kutigi would have been better off if he even prayed in his native Nigerian language and asked an interpreter to interpret whatever he said in English. Arabic, language of the Quran as it may be, is not a Nigerian language. You are free to keep praying it in your family meetings but not in an official Nigerian gathering. Live with that! We will not be dominated by the northern hausafulani Moslem north! Never again!

      • Saint

        Deception, ignorant, fake, name it. Many do not even understand the meaning of the Arabic words they hold allegiance to. Stop all these religiosity and let this nation move forward.

    • I wish we will understand as Nigeria that the Quran is written in Arabic does not mean that a Muslim praying in English is not praying does that mean God that created all languages do not accept praying in English and most of us as just hypocrite behind our back door we practices our idle worship

  • gbam

    chairman should lead by example. this problem will never go away in( mangeria) sorry I don’t know the real meaning of name Nigeria could mean female N word. people go by the name giving to them, OJUKWU and the Biafran leaders knew all this before chosing a name for their beloved country BIAFRA or BIAFURU meaning come and see

  • omitoogun

    kutiji did not show high sense of maturity and leadership by citing islamic prayer. islam has not done us any good in nigeria. i appreciate the boldness and gut of bakare



    • It is only a fool that will add octane to a burning edifice. Note!, a bird & a fish can leave together,if and only if they can build a house together.

  • I use to think Mr Bakare was a very smart man. I am appalled at his remarks about someone saying “Bismillah” to begin speaking. It neither gives the speaker any superiority nor does it take away from the listener.
    He has truly lost the aura of “learned” gentleman I have always accorded him. If Bakare can be so combative on religion, knowing his upbringing, Then the conference is doomed and Nigeria is doomed as well.
    And he lied when he said he did not understand what Kutigi is saying if, like he claims, he graduated Islamic school in the 60s.

    What a shame….!!

    • So, if Bakare was born a muslim? Nigeria is a secular state and not an islamic state, get that into your onesided head.
      Islam always like rubbing their terrorist affiliated religion all over Nigeria as if is the right time to do. The chairman should stick his religion in his ass to stop insulting other faith or religion.

    • OLA

      What has Bismillah got to do with the conference Mr Afro? U are enmeshed in sentiments not objectively deciphering the context and content of what u’re replying to.

  • Whosoever condemn Bakare here must either be a religious bigot or jus simply stupid. What he said is rite and straight forward. Instead of trying to pray in Arabic language why not say same in English so that all can be carried along! Anyhow you want to interpret it nigeria as at the last time I checked remained a secular nation hence there’s no need trying to be more religious than other by praying in Arabic language! What if the chairman of the conference is a Christian would those of who are now talking jargon accept it if he prayed in tongues? Nonsense!

  • Kareem Haruna

    I noticed that too when Idris Kutigi was called, at the opening ceremony of the conference, to deliver a vote of thanks.
    But it shouldn’t cause stir anyhow. Even though what the retired Justice said in Arabic simply means “in the name of God, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful”, it should been okay if he says that in the English format, so that religion which has been one of our albatross in this country should not mar the conference, even though the conference in itself is nothing but a charade – a facade for 2015 actualisation of some certain individuals – a waste of resources just to discuss issues that are not alien to us – a conference, which I will place my three months salary to bet that it will not yield anything positive that will better Nigerians.


    Ride on pastor.I salute your verse knowledge and roadmap from GOD.

  • I think the best way to address this issue is to recite the prayer in english language, God accepts prayers in any language, even in Hausa. This way our christain compatroits will not feel threatened.

    • One sane man remains in the north. Kudos.

  • seun

    why is it you muslem people sometime do not want to understanding your order side of religion people you will just what to turn every thing to blame who is there to correct errow made by who knows the right thing to do.may God help nigeria o.

  • oh stop pretending pastor

  • Usulor Chukwuebuka Prince

    You’ve spoken well,PASTOR TUNDE BAKARE…I know you didn’t make the objection based on sentiment or hatred but because you wanted to represent the interests of people…Religion should never be brought into National Conference because it won’t help matters as relates to peaceful co-existence and national unity.Religion is one of the factors that has caused disunity and hatred among the citizens and so,shouldn’t be used publicly…

  • Hinson

    Nigeria a land of fools, sycophants and nuts
    Where able bodied youths are without jobs and the ghosts of those killed by government get the jobs

    Nigeria a land of the slothful, deceitful and envious
    Where progress is sought through prayers rather than through hard work and forgiveness pleaded for future sins

    Nigeria a land of the enraged, bitter and vengeful
    Where the different tongues and tribes seek the doom of one another and gloat over the disaster that consumes all

    Nigeria a land of thieves, liars and delusional
    Where the commonwealth is looted by a few and their exploits acclaimed by the rest who beg for crumbs from their tables

    Who shall we send and who will go for us
    To scourge this land that lives a lie, wallows in sin and crowns failure as only the doomed are wont to do.

  • What a sweet nonsense !
    He claimed that he is well versed in the noble Qur’an, but he can’t even understand the simple prayer in Arabic.
    Tunde Bakare, you are just skating on thin ice, and it could instantly crack into pieces.

    • Nigeria is a secular state and not an islamic state, get that into your onesided head.
      Islam always like rubbing their terrorist affiliated religion all over Nigeria as if is the right time to do. The chairman should stick his religion in his ass to stop insulting other faith or religion..

  • Pastor Bakari is a lier! Muhammad Kano ur right,

  • That is well said Pastor, I pray that the main good purpose of the conference will not be defeated with exaggeration. I know that some people can still attack my saying. The most important thing is that we should be quick to hear and slow to speech. The problem is that some Nigerians are quick to speech and our journalists are giving excessive exaggeration to some issue that leads to commotion.Let us put aside Tribal sentiments and religion prejudices as the Pastor had said. One love One Nigeria. God Bless Pastor Tunde Bakare, God Bless Justice Idris Kutigi, God Bless the National Conference and God Bless Nigeria.

    • T12Bro

      Which Nigeria?…. Junk.. A country of junks…. Old school leaders with old school brain converging to decide the future of 160 Million people…. What a joke….

  • Bakare, i am afraid you may not be able to drive your points home in the midst of dumps!!!!!!!!!! ok do your best and leave the rest.

  • Sayo

    Brilliant reply.God created one race that is the human race,nothing should divide us especially in our quest to build a new Nigeria

  • Sayo

    Brilliant reply.God created one race that is the human race,nothing should divide us especially in our qiest to build a new Nigeria

  • I think Pastor Bakare’s complain about the recitation of Arabic phrases by Kutigi is uncalled for, becouse if as he claimed he is versed in Islam, then he should have known that its Allah’s injucion that before u say or do anything you should invoke his name. This shouldnt bother anybody unless you nurse a hatred towards Islam.
    Though left to me I wouldnt participate in this conference becouse Islamically its illegal, let alone start something unlawful in the name of Allah!

  • Jaleel OloriAje

    This is a case of confused person. ” Mr. Chairman, yesterday you said something that I didn’t understand” because Justice Kutigi prayed in Arabic. The same man who didn’t understand Arabic phrase used in prayer is also claiming” I am well versed in the Quran having graduated from Islamic school”. This is either a case of pure deceit that he is well versed in the Quran to mislead people, by telling them what is not in the Quran if he doesn’t understand simple Arabic phrases, is the Quran written in English?. Otherwise it is simply Islamophobia. He is definitely one of such employed to shoot anything Islam down at the conference. He wants to impress his pay masters.

    • Jaleel, his saying I don’t understand is an idiomatic expression as per, we are supposed to be speaking english here, what’s that phrase and where is it coming from. His warning is exactly what’s happening here – divisions and insults over the issue of religion. What he is basically saying is that if everyone here emulates you by bringing religious or tribal sentiments to bear in what we do here, we would miss the opportunity to try to create genuine unity.

  • Mayor

    Our National Anthem & the National Pledge should be the prayer @ the National conference.

  • Amb Ahmed Abdulrahaman

    Nigeria most not devide we don’t have any other Nation.

  • Joshua Dogo Kogum River

    I’m so paid the way the clergyman said the truth. In a place where different religion/language gather is only the general lange (english) is alowed in communication.

  • maimuna umar

    Nt well said at all! Our religious language is Arabic n nt man made law’s lingua franca “english” imposed on us! Our prayers r in Arabic, accept it!

    • Well the chairman can speak his Arabic in his private gatherings and not when representing Nigeria – a country of people of different faiths. This a National conference and not Kutigi’s private family gathering. Only the pledge or the national anthem should be used in such gatherings and not someone’s religious language.

    • so ur language droped from the sky, this is Nigeria and the language is English, translate ur prayer when in general gathering for other non islamic to understand. pple with oda faith are there, the herbalist, christian, pagans, all bilif in something , let dem know what your are saying. if your religion is in Arabic y did’nt you adopt d language in the conference, you are first born , human and a Nigerian before yur religion comes in…try to learn that.

  • Hypocrisy at its peak! PLEASE let’s examine his action and speech as they are (not as we are). I quote: “Mr. Chairman, yesterday you said something at the inauguration of the Conference and I did not understand,” Mr. Bakare said. NOW, if he was truly born and raised a Muslim how can he not KNOW a simple “Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim” (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)? The phony pastor is just trying to make fool of the Muslims after realizing how insensitive and heedless his earlier utterance were. May Allah save Nigeria from religious bigotry like yours. You have shamed Buhari, who picked you as a running-mate in the last election.

  • adoga anyebe

    Bakare, u are a true Nigeria and pls let that spirit flow unendingly at this confab and beyond.

  • I dont think mr Bakare ever attended any Islamic or Arabic school. The Issue was raised because he did not Understand Arabic, If someone says Bismillah meaning In the Name of God, it does not warant confrontation in a rude way. from the news I read Mr Bakare didnt make the correction in reasonable way, but saying what if he also turn the conference to church service, Implying he didnt know anything in Arabic Language. The confrontation was like a Yoruba man complaining why an Igbo man prayed with Igbo Language.

    • Igboman

      why do you people love to rein in the noble Igbo race whenever here is a yoruba/hausa problem?

    • You are wrong in your analogy. Arabic is not a Nigerian language. And in Nigeria where we have so many native languages, English is our lingua Franca. So the honorable Kutigi was wrong and clearly insensitive. You can’t come reciting a foreign language. For instance a Christian chairing the conference saying a prayer in Hebrew because Hebrew was the original language of the bible?

  • Adizo Edison Kasuwa

    Sign of true and transparent representation.

  • philade


  • Lemmy

    Well said, Pastor Tunde Bakare. That is wisdom. I believe the only language generally accepted in Nigeria is English. I thought that the chairman is well read.If care is not taking, that may be the beginning of the end of the conference.

    • Real Islamaphobia. If you were raised a Muslim as you claimed, then you ought to know what Kutigi was reading, otherwise I am afraid the big pastor might be lying.

      • Life

        when you get to your gathering, speak your language, but when you are mixed, speak the general language, if mr president begin to speak in Jesus name in aso rock, you will be one of those that will be castigating him, We serve God in nigeria and not allah, point of correction

      • ade

        Ride on Pastor! well said…There is difference between a religious gathering and the confab..Lets be reasonable..I know there are some people in the confab that will not understand the quranic citation…I understand Pastor bakare is saying for the entire members in the confab..

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