A professor of political economy and management expert, Pat Utomi, has narrated how security operatives opened fire at the #EndSARS protest venue in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
Utomi, who lives very close to the toll gate area where the protest has held peacefully for about two weeks, said he was having a telephone conversation before the incident occurred.
“I live not very far from the Lekki Toll Gate and I was on the deck of the house and I was actually speaking to somebody in the United States,” he told Channels Television on Tuesday evening.
He narrated, “I have just finished speaking with a Nigerian diplomat friend here in Lagos, analysing the strategy and wondering if it was not really a worrisome strategy to take an ultimatum of how we are going to have a 24-hour curfew, bearing in mind that the young people are already accusing the authorities of being the ones sending the hoodlums so they can trigger a reason for attacking them.”
“I just finished discussing that with this Nigerian diplomat and I was talking to somebody in the US when I heard the siren, and I was wondering siren?
“It just kept going and suddenly I heard ‘pa pa pa pa pa pa’ – gunfire, and I said, ‘oh my God, they are shooting at these kids’. I could hear them saying, ‘kneel down, they are shooting at us,” Utomi added.
He advised federal and state authorities to be very careful in addressing the issues raised by the protesting youths.
According to the economist, the youths of Nigeria have become a global tribe and are all over the world.
He warned that the youths could run an asymmetrical war against the authorities in Nigeria if they don’t manage the situation carefully.
A professor of political economy and management expert, Pat Utomi, has faulted the system of governance in Nigeria.
Despite being a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Professor Utomi believes the present administration is finding it difficult to connect to the solutions to the problems of the country.
“I think that the government is crippled; it is not connecting to the solution,” he said during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
The economist added, “If there is anything absent in Nigeria, it is leadership. At every level of our society, there is a failure of leadership.
“Leadership is about connecting to the soul of the people and giving everything sacrificially to lift it up.”
He decried that the nation’s political class has failed to align itself to the new reality, stressing that Nigeria lacked the type of politics that would enable the government to be responsive to the needs of the people.
A Failed Political Class
Professor Utomi explained that this, among several other reasons, led to the emergence of the National Consultative Forum – a political group that he co-chairs.
He stated that the present situation in the country was not about the performance of a particular government, adding that it has generated to what he described as a national crisis.
“We have an existential crisis. The political class has failed Nigeria (let’s be honest), including all of us.
“I am part of them but I have fought always to make it different but you don’t always win,” said the APC member who lost the bid to be governor of Delta State in the 2019 general elections.
He was worried that the structure of the political system has prevented those who want to make a difference from being successful.
The economist stated that there was no internal democracy with the various political parties, stressing that they have been turned into the “private properties of some people whose word is law”.
He described such individuals as people motivated by personal power, influence, and search for material resources, noting that their actions have prevented the country from running as it ought to.
Hijack Of Executive Functions?
Speaking on the roles of the executive and legislative arms of government, Professor Utomi accused the National Assembly of usurping the duties of the ministries.
He said, “There is a total collapse of separation of powers and the legislature has taken over running the executive and the executive is complicit in allowing that to happen.
“Anytime I have been asked to analyse the budget in this country for the last 20 years, I don’t analyse the budget because the budget process in this county is a joke.”
“Today, the House Committee Chair on appropriation is more important to a national budget than the Minister of Finance because this game that is played in the National Assembly means that what comes out is really the budget of the National Assembly, not of the executive branch and the executive branch has refused to engage the matter.
“What is going on today is a hijack of the executive functions by the legislature and for most of them, it is just a game,” he added
According to the professor, some ministers have complained to him that the lawmakers run their budget and their ministries are being run from the National Assembly.
He, however, proposed a constitutional reform that would essentially reduce the legislative branch to the citizen and part-time legislature.
Some eminent Nigerians including Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka and Professor Pat Utomi on Monday gathered at the Muson Centre in Lagos to discuss the way forward, 50 years after the Nigerian civil war.
Tagged ‘Never Again’, the event is aimed at reminiscing on the woes of the war which ended in January 1970 and adjudged as one of the worst scenarios of civil rife across the world.
In his address, Prof Anya Anya, who is the chairman of the occasion believes violence cannot provide the solution to the problems facing the nation.
A Professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi, says the Nigerian civil war that claimed about two million lives were completely unnecessary.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Utomi noted that honest conversation would have avoided the tragic incident.
“In my view, the Nigerian civil war was completely unnecessary. It was something that honest conversation would have taken care of.
“The path of progress that the country was travelling could have continued. Many of the decisions we have taken as a country since then to prevent what went wrong have actually taken us back as a people,” he stated.
Speaking further, Utomi decried the presidential system of government the country currently operates on a four-year single term basis.
He explained that the system modelled after the United States does not work to promote the good initially meant due to its expensive nature.
“We have chosen a presidential system as a way of preventing this fracture allegiance. The idea of a presidential system is to select one person who is literally owned by all because he has gone round the whole country canvassing the votes of people.
“What has happened unfortunately is that we have created a bloated expensive political process that really does not work to advance the good that we want.
“The principle of subsidiarity of authority being devolved to levels closer to the people has been lost in this presidential system,” he stated.
His remarks come after former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida (retired) lamented that all the efforts made to reconcile Nigerians in the aftermath of the civil war have had limited impact because they were not consistently pushed by the authorities.
The former Head of State called on the Federal Government to ensure that the objectives for establishing institutions like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the unity schools were met.
A former presidential candidate and founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership, Professor Pat Utomi, believes political parties are mere apparatuses to doctor the outcomes of elections in Nigeria.
Professor Utomi, who a guest on Channels Television’s special political programme, observed that the country needs a social movement to bring its people into a certain commitment to the political process.
“I belong to one and I can tell you we do not have political parties in Nigeria,” he said during the latest episode of Roadmap 2019 with Ladi Akeredolu-Ale on Monday.
“Political parties matter but we have refused to build political parties; what we have done is that we have created machines to rig elections.”
The professor of political economy noted further that Nigerian parties lack certain objectives, including ideas and how to govern a people to achieve a certain goal.
He added that such situation has compounded the problem of oligopoly in party organisation and called on politicians in the country create parties that would encourage citizens’ participation and public engagement.
He also stressed the need to prevent the nation’s political system from falling, noting that Nigeria has yet to practice democracy since the return to civil rule in almost 20 years.
Utomi was worried about the future of the country, saying the present leaders do not seem to have given the youths the needed support to play key roles in the affairs of the country.
“The future frightens me; it frightens me because we’re at the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution. Five years from now, many of us are going to be moving around in driverless cars – there will be essentially machines doing most of the jobs that we are doing today.
“Our country doesn’t seem to even have begun discussing the subject, not to talk of developing a strategy for it and this is what I expect politicians to be doing,” he said.
The founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership, Professor Pat Utomi, believes that Nigeria has yet to practice democracy, almost two decades after it returned to civil rule.
He said this during an interview on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019, special political programme which airs on Mondays.
Professor Utomi insisted that the absence of significant civic engagement has had a negative impact on the credibility and usefulness of the nation’s political process.
“I think the biggest challenge for the political process is citizenship – citizen engagement, participation; because let us be honest, we’ve not had a democracy,” he said.
The former presidential candidate argued strongly that Nigeria lacks democracy, although some people may disagree with him about the process.
He also faulted the electoral process in the country, alleging that the results of elections were written by some individuals in some corner.
According to Utomi, “Most people know that as much as possible, real citizens are discouraged from even thinking about voting and that the people who play this power game look for some poor, hapless people who don’t even know what they are doing, to collect a few N100 and cast a vote, and they would then extend whatever they’ve cast in some doctoring and call it election outcomes.”
The professor of political economy, however, noted that it was important for the citizens to participate more in politics, adding that their failure made the nation’s democracy untenable.
He warned Nigerians that it was time they up their game and get involved in the process of selecting their leaders as it was becoming obvious that what the government does affect their lives.
Professor Utomi also took a swipe at the category of individuals who feel because they could take care of their immediate needs, they worry less about the affairs of the country.
He, however, stressed the importance of a two-democracy system and the need to educate the electorate on why they should cast their votes without inducement.
Amid the calls for restructuring by some group leaders, Professor Pat Utomi has said restructuring is a continuous conversation in a Federal arrangement and it is not something to kill for.
Speaking on Monday at The Platform, a programme organized by Covenant Christian Center in Lagos, the economist said Nigerians must understand that the discussion about restructuring is not a blame game or an opportunity to hurl abuse at one region or the other.
“What we must do is understand that restructuring is part of a continuous conversation in a Federal arrangement. It is not something to abuse people about or kill people about. It is something to engage in.
“If you consider how many Nigerians are talking about restructuring today, it seems like a life or death matter. When you look at the emotions that are expressed and you can detach yourself and watch it, you will probably see that there is no better presentation on Broadway or in Nollywood, that Nigerians display while discussing this matter.”
He compared Nigerians call for restructuring as the biblical tower of Babel with the participants expressing anger in confusion but emphasised that the nation can grow if we consider the strength of each region.
“We have people who are angry because they feel that they are being shortchanged in the Nigerian project. We have people who have been ‘blessed’ by the rent economy, who think that they are going to lose something that they were getting.
“We have those who have profited from the order and think it is their turn to abuse and take advantage of things. We have people who are vigorous but not rigorous in the conversation. We have this whole array of positions on this matter,” he said.
Utomi, who is also a management expert said these array of different groups with varying opinions can be fused together to build growth if we consider the strength of each region.
“The point is that each region has its peculiarity and can grow quickly and the Federation can come from this kind of competition that is playing out.”
A renowned Professor of Economics, Pat Utomi, has blamed Nigeria’s backwardness on the lack of vision as well as absence of consultation of the masses in the budget processes which according to him, is made worse by leaders without capacity.
Professor Utomi who was a guest speaker at the maiden Budget Roundtable Seminar of the UNIzik Business School of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Speaking on the theme: Budget Processes in Nigeria, Challenges and Implication in National Development, he trailed the problem of the country from the military era to over dependence on oil and to the cluelessness of some Nigerian leaders.
He stated that as a matter of urgency, a complete and total reform of government is what the country needs.
Furthermore, he advocated leadership brilliance and disciplined execution of budgets which would have peoples’ priorities reflected in order to save the economic situation in the country.
Other speakers also insisted that a budget must contain what the people want, while putting in perspective, future economic challenges and changes for easy and proper adaptation and adjustment.
Keynote speaker and House member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo federal constituency, as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Mr Chris Azubogu, noted that asides poor funding of budget, lopsided budgeting, deficit and high profile debt profile, citizen participation is a major factor affecting the actualization of the national budget.
He however gave an assurance of imminent budget reforms.
A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, and Professor Pat Utomi, are demanding the immediate release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Both men spoke on Tuesday at a media briefing in Abuja under the aegis of the Nzuko Umunna, a group of Igbo professionals.
They also condemned the alleged killing of IPOB members in the southeast and urged states where the alleged killings took place to set up a panel of inquiry in their various states.
The call for Kanu’s release followed a series of protests, including that of members of the IPOB in Southeast Nigeria.
The pro-Biafra leader was arrested in Lagos on 14 October, 2015 and has been held in prison since then, despite various court orders that ruled for his release.
Participants in a conference held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, have identified critical issues they said must be addressed for the nation to come out of current economic recession.
Lack of political will to develop the manufacturing sector of the economy is a major reason the nation is in recession, they said.
The former Coordinator of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), Mr Magnus Kpakol, was one of the participants in the conference that focused on ‘the Role of Monetary Policy in Job Creation’.
It was organised by the Economics and Business Strategies Limited in Abuja.
Lack Of Ability To Produce
According to Mr Kpakol, dearth of foreign exchange and high inflation rate in Nigeria is caused by the lack of ability to produce for export.
Nigeria’s currency, the Naira, has continued to decline against the dollar since the nation’s foreign exchange policies made it difficult for importers to have access to the dollar like they used to.
Most of the items in Nigeria are imported. Poor power supply and other factors had stifled manufacturing, with most companies having to generate their own power. The high cost of production has made locally manufactured goods expensive.
The conference had series of lectures targeted at driving the economy seen as the largest in Africa.
Other discussants, a professor of economics, Pat Utomi, and a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, emphasised the need to improve involvement in agriculture and manufacturing in the nation that had depended largely on crude oil sales for revenue.
Agriculture was the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the discovery of crude oil.
Meanwhile, the keynote speaker, Anita Campion, stressed the need to have a policy that encourages production, processing and export of agricultural products.
The conference came at a time that unemployment is on the increase and the economy is in recession.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 12.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 to 13.3 per cent at the end of the second quarter.
Despite the situation, experts at the conference believe that right economic policies that encourage private investments could turn the situation around.
The Founder of the Centre for Value and Leadership, Professor Pat Utomi, has joined the league of those in the diamond age.
The one-time presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Mega Party, called up friends, family and admirers for a celebration of the new era in his life.
Known for being outspoken, he is a professor of Political Economy, a Management Expert and Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria.
Born in Kaduna, the north-western part of Nigeria, the professor who is an indigene of Ibuzo in Delta State, served as a Special Adviser to former President Shehu Shagari during Nigeria’s second republic.
He cuts a jack and master figure in all his trades, leaving a trail of excellence as he moves on to the next one.
Professor Pat Utomi spoke to Channels Television’s Metrofile and reflects on the state of the nation as he marks another milestone in his life.
“We are not where we should be,” he said.
Enjoy the interview and happy scenes from the 60th birthday celebration.
Here, the usually serious minded professor shows the other side of him with unbelievable dance steps to upbeat Nigerian hip hop music.
Renowned economist and former presidential aspirant, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Thursday said the tragedy of the Nigeria revolves around the endless appetite of the average Nigerian to engage in corruption.
He also noted that the Nigeria is on the threshold of history and every individual owes the country a duty to make it work.
Speaking during The Platform, a programme that reflected on Nigeria’s past in order to fashion out the right polices for the future, Prof Utomi noted that “the part of the challenge we have developed here is that we have not developed an appropriate cultural vision for dying a little for the next person.
We have developed a culture of me, myself and I and that is part of the tragedy of the situation that we live in”, he said.
He further noted that “also very important is the disposition to learning; unless we have a learning culture, we are going to keep making the mistakes of yesterday”, insisting that “we have to have people who draw from yesterday’s experience and say never again”.
Prof Utomi maintained that corruption is big on the agenda today and part of the challenge is that people do not realize that the culture that have come to accept corruption is hanging itself in a fundamental way.
He wondered “why we have for 30 years talked about diversifying the base of our economy and not done anything about it”.
The Platform is an annual programme conveyed by the Senior Pastor of the Covenant Christian Centre, Mr Poju Oyemade.