By NBF News
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As the 2011 presidential election gathers momentum, Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly and vice presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Pastor Tunde Bakare has said he never at any time said God told him to participate in the election. He said he was contesting the election based on a personal conviction and warned that no man should use the name of God in vain.

Bakare made the clarification while addressing members of   his congregation on his decision to get involved in partisan politics. He spoke during a service of the church yesterday in Lagos.

The preacher was nominated last week as the running mate of the former head of state and presidential candidate of the CPC, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) in the April 2011 election. His nomination and decision to go into politics had attracted mixed reactions across the country.

Rationalizing his decision to get involved in politics, Bakare said all it would take for evil to flourish in the land was for godly people to refuse to get involved in the political process. He said his involvement in politics would neither change his person nor his Christian faith. The Later Rain Assembly pastor stated that if anything, his decision to participate in the forthcoming presidential election would impact on the country positively.

According to him, 'if Buhari wins,  we will make the difference. If he does not, Nigerian politics will not remain the same. We are going to influence the environment.'  Quoting copiously from various portions of the Holy Bible in a message entitled: A tale of  three priesthood, the fiery preacher said the bane of the nation had always been bad governance epitomised by corruption and other social vices.

Bakare said it was only when the righteous were in authority that the people could rejoice. But  that when the wicked were in authority, the people would groan. According to him, a wicked ruler in a country was like a bear on the prowl.  He wondered for how long Nigerians would continue to groan. Speaking further, he said a lot of people had expressed concern on how himself and General Buhari would get money to fund the campaign as both of them were known not to be billionaires.

The CPC vice presidential candidate said just as was the case during the election of President Barack Obama in America, they would be depending on the ordinary people to fund the campaign. He expressed optimism that the common people would be willing to support the campaign with the little they had because they would see a difference in the CPC team.

He said though the campaign had not started, he was already receiving support from Nigerians. According to him, about 600 Nigerians on the social networking site, facebook had volunteered to be part of the campaign to realize the Buhari/Bakare presidency. Bakare displayed before the congregation, a branded T. Shirt with the inscription 'Buhari /Bakare 2011', which, he said,  was  prepared by some individuals as part of their support to the CPC presidential ticket.

 'Ordinary people will give us money because they will see the difference. By the Grace of God, we are going to raise standards. 'The campaign has not started  and already they are volunteers.  We are going to dethrone money politics in Nigeria. We are not seeking power. We already have power.'

'It is a new day. The future is here. The hope that is shattered is returning to our country. This is going to be one of the greatest elections, because we are not depending on money bags but on God,' he declared.

 He said though many had wondered whether it was possible for the shepherd of the church to shepherd the nation?

'A pastor can actually transit from leading a church to leading an entire country. Why die a local champion when you have the opportunity to reach an entire nation?' Bakare queried.  'Nigeria will be saved. Nigeria will be great in our time. It is time to pastor the nation. It is time to restore. Let's build a great nation,' he urged.