From Prudence Arobani
Prof. Pat Utomi, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has said the party has performed below expectation and called on the founding fathers to reform it to correct some of its lapses.
Utomi told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the party had to be reformed to refocus it to its founding ideals.
The founder and former presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) party said some of the founding fathers were more committed to building APC as an enduring political party.
He, however, regretted that some people were more interested in taking titles in the party, rather than building it.
“I’m a member of the APC; I’m one of the real founding members of the APC. It’s not been what we thought it would be; let’s be very honest, the party has under-performed, the party’s structure has been poor,” he said.
Utomi said APC leadership has been poor while the government and the party have not worked well together.
“But we shall reform it from within by God’s grace and make it work better.
“We have to wish on God’s grace and hope that things work differently. Anything that works, that will make a difference, I will do,” he said.
Utomi, a professor of political economy and former Special Adviser in the Second Republic government of former President Shehu Shagari, said he was not ambitious for political power. He, however, said he is more interested in whatever would relieve Nigerians from the hardship they have faced under successive administrations. “All my life I’ve always been willing to do anything, no matter how sacrificial it is, to advance the common good of our people.
“The thing I have never cared for is pursuit of power for the sake of power. I’m not looking for anything, I’m quite happy with the fortunes that my circumstance has brought to me. “I belong to a serious group of people who really are motivated by one thing alone – service to the people. “Making the life we live better, more harmony among the people of Nigeria, I will be very pleased to do anything – Councillor, President, just name anything.
“So I have no problem about engaging for serving if it will lead to real progress, not to a title, I don’t believe in titles.
“We must begin to look at leaders who don’t seek titles and who can make a difference without a title,” he said.
Utomi, who is the Director of Lagos Business School, decried what he described as “the triumph of politics” and the “politicisation of everything” in the country.
“We are not thinking development, growth of our country, our children and their future, we’re thinking politics.
“Many of the people in positions of authority are so consumed by politics; they don’t think about the Nigerian people.
“I think this obsession with who is winning the next election, can take Nigeria completely away from the path of development.
“If you say ‘good morning’, they say ‘is he against Buhari, is he for Tinubu, is he a Jonathan person’; we don’t have public conversation of quality that can help us change our country for good. “Take a very simple issue; the government is very concerned about corruption, nothing can more interest me than corruption because it’s done fundamental damage to Nigeria. “But because of the triumph of politics, if you talk about corruption, you get the spin immediately because of the way we have managed the whole corruption issue, as a flood of issues.”