...Discloses how his 2012 Annual Lecture produced APC
A chieftain of the Labour Party, LP, and professor of Political Economics and Management at the Lagos Business School, Patrick Okedinachi Utomi, has cautioned Nigerians against voting in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2023 general elections.
Describing both parties as twins, Utomi contended that they are ill-equipped to deliver good governance and turn around the nation towards progress.
Prof. Utomi, also disclosed how his 2012 Leadership Newspaper Annual Lecture gave birth to the APC, and how he was eventually sidelined by people he claimed hijacked power.
Utomi, who spoke in Benin City, Edo State, on Saturday, at a one-day sensitization programme orgnized by “NIGERIA CAN’T CONTINUE LIKE THIS” NCC-LIT, with the theme: Supporters of Good Governance’, lamented that the present crop of politicians “have raped the nation in and out to the extent that they now wish the country dead”.
He however assured that come what may, the country must survive.
According to him, “APC started from a lecture that I gave at the Leadership Newspaper Annual Lecture, 2012 with the title, “Political Parties: Will Opposition Save Nigeria?” at the Sheraton Hotels. When I finished the lecture, Chief Paul Unongo accosted me and said ‘Can I just close this gate so that about 1,000 persons at the lecture will not go until we know how opposition political parties should be created?’ On the high table were Muhammudu Buhari, Bola Tinubu, Bisi Akande and others. In that meeting, I was mandated to go and write APC manifesto with the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo.
“But from day one, it seems that people that captured power do not want people like us around, and I just decided to stay on my own. What attracted some persons like us was the anti-corruption thing, because he said that when elected, he will kill corruption, so that Nigeria can make progress. But because of this transactional thing, we can see what has become of the government. And in my opinion , this government is the most corrupt Nigeria has ever had”.
The former chieftain of the APC said “contrary to what the ruling party, APC, told the electorate during their campaigns that the government, as headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, will wipe out corruption from the country’s polity, what we have now, seven years after, is a deep-rooted and entrenched corruption which has permeated all the facets of Nigeria polity.
“The calibre of current traditional politicians in Nigeria have raped the nation in and out to the extent that they now wish the country dead”. He however assured that no matter what their wishes may be, “Nigeria will, and must survive”.
A Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria and a former presidential candidate, Utomi, asserted that “What Nigeria and Nigerians need most at this time, is eternal vigilance which would help change our National thought process, create a new society devoid of the current ills of corruption, insecurity, among others”.
The leading light of the Third Force currently on a patriotic mission to rescue Nigeria, and which is backing the presidential aspiration of Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party, posited that “no Nigerian that meant well for the country would ever give the ruling party, APC, and it’s twin, PDP, any chance of returning to government as they are ill- equipped to deliver good governance and turn around the nation towards progress”.
As far as he’s concerned, “there is not much difference between the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, given the antecedent of those piloting the structures of both parties”.
Outlining how to build a better structure to include the labour movement, a political group with the human eccentric objective, as well as collaboration with civil society groups, Utomi stressed that “our challenge is only of vigilance”.
He was however optimistic that Nigeria woukd rise again despite its economic deficits, kidnappings, and killings as a result of insurgency.
“ASUU has been on strike forever. And look at what they are just asking for; and it is for the sake of our children. And this is what one man called Accountant General can just take from our treasury. You can see that their conscience don’t worry them again, because of the structure.
Utomi said the desire to change Nigeria made him to start working with some persons on the need for a ‘Third Force’ and that made him to start working with some groups, including the Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC) the Labour Commission from the 36 states of the country, and that was how the Labour Party was alligned to the Labour Congress.
“So, when some persons began to project me for the presidency, and Peter Obi said the PDP thing will not work for him and came to the LP, I said okay, I will step down for him because I am for anything that will make Nigeria work.”
Earlier, a chieftain of the Labour Party, Tony Akeni, said they were pleased with the partnership and status of Peter Obi, the presidential standard-bearer of the party. Akeni also commended Utomi’s contributions.
On his part, Patrick Eholor, rights activist, described Peter Obi’s movement as divinely inclined, and appealed to Nigerians to give it the necessary consideration ahead of the presidential election.