Sun News Interview: Let’s Crash This Democracy •Nigeria Is Dying –Pat Utomi

Pat Utomi
From Mariam Aleshinloye-Agboola, Jos

For years, Professor Pat Utomi has advocated for a change in a system he was convinced was decaying. Today, he is exasperated at a nation and its leaders unperturbed by the US prediction that Nigeria may cease to be one in a few years.

The former Director of Lagos Business School and Presidential candidate of Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP), in this interview with Magazine Editor, Shola Oshunkeye says he is convinced that what we have is no democracy and it is high time we dismantled it otherwise…

How has it been on the campaign trail?

The campaign comes as expected with many challenges but it also comes with a very firm promise in that it elevates your consciousness on why this is such an important exercise. Everyday I discover why our country unfortunately has not made much progress in spite of God’s grace.

I have particularly been struck by a number of things in recent times that go to the heart of the matter and sometimes people talking on the streets don’t connect to those kinds of things. Sometimes our elders, politicians and so-called business leaders either don’t get it or pretend not to but it’s going to catch up with all of us very soon.

Let me give you a couple of things that entered my universe of thinking in the last four days. I was reading a report from Brazil in one of our newspapers, about people trying to get the former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva prosecuted. As you know, Da Silva was an extremely popular president who worked very hard for the Brazilian people. Everything was booming. This is a hero but Brazilians have gone to court saying that while he was president he went somewhere or something and after he came back the presidency sent out thank you notes to those he saw and they said that he did at government expense what should be a private matter. They have gone to court for him to be prosecuted for using public funds to send out thank you notes.

Now while he was still president, da Silva flew from Brazilia, the capital to Rio on official assignment. It happened that his party was having a party caucus or something in Rio. He stopped over and attended, while he was still incumbent.

Some people went to court that he used public money for party matter and the court ruled against him and refunded the cost of fueling the plane. The Jonathan government has crippled the Nigerian government. All the public resources of our country are being used to prosecute private personal political campaign of the PDP. The state governors have pillaged the treasuries to advance their political interest.

So you see the collapse of the civil society is part of Nigeria’s trouble. Civil society has collapsed just like almost everything else in our country. So I look at Brazil, I look at Nigeria and I can understand why today we talk about BRIC economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China. Nobody is putting “N” in it or calling it BRINC because nobody thinks Nigeria is going anywhere. Secondly, on Saturday I was flying to Abuja and there was a small guy in Agbada surrounded by two other guys on the plane. I was wondering who he was, there was evident movement that tried to suggest that he was of some kind of importance but I didn’t pay any attention. He didn’t look like somebody I had ever met.

I was sitting in seat 1A and he sat maybe two rows behind. When we landed, there was this rush to come to the door for them to be the first people to exit. So, I stepped back so that we the lesser citizens will wait for them to go out. As we disembarked, we saw a big crowd with cameras and they started yelling oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, ah, ah. So I asked the managing partner of KPMG who was also on the flight who the short guy was and he told me it was the former MD of NPA that was released from prison that day with Bode George. He started telling me the Bode George story because I didn’t follow the thing, and I didn’t watch it. he said it was live on TV.

Now in any country where you want to bring young children up and you show them people being released from prison when it wasn’t for treasonable felony or a political trial. Whichever way you look at it, it was for stealing, simplicita. And all I could think of was a friend of mine from Shagamu who was telling a story of growing up in Shagamu in the late 1950s and somebody in the neighbourhood sighted a policeman going into a house. It wasn’t that they knew he did anything, the policeman was seen going to their house and they became lepers in the community. Nobody would associate with them because a policeman was seen going to their house.

Now I see people who are coming out of prison for criminal offence being celebrated on Live Television as if they were war heroes and I definitely knew something was wrong with the heart and soul of my country. Values shape human progress. If we have gotten that wrong, progress can’t take place.

Why can’t Professor Pat Utomi just be contented with going to the Senate and putting all his intellectual values at the disposal of his people at that level?
That is the worst question to ask because that is one place I will never want to be. God will prevent me from being in such a place.

Why?

What has the Senate ever done of any value in Nigeria?

Because people believe that with people like you and others who are of like minds coming in…

We have a fundamental problem. We have to bring this system down completely and rebuild.

How do you mean bring it down completely?
Destroy it.

Crash the democratic system?

Crash the whole thing. It is not working for Nigeria, it will not work for Nigeria.

So how do we crash it?

By proving to the world that it’s a joke. That is what this is about.

We have spent close to twelve years…

Of a joke. Show me one road that has been completed in Nigeria in 12 years. One road. The dualisation of theLagos-Ibadan Expressway? One Canadian diplomat was coming to a meeting with the Concerned Professionals and other Civil Society Groups three years ago and he had gone to speak to some group in Ibadan. When he arrived the meeting, he said that driving on the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway is a violation of the fundamental human rights of all those who travel on it.

The Lokoja/Abuja dualisation has been going on for more than eight years, it has killed half of Nigeria, literally speaking, and it’s not completed. It’s not working, the system is not working, and the country is not working. Why are we fooling ourselves?

Essentially because there are no viable institutions

Absolutely. This democratic system is just a gangster arrangement for extracting economic rent from the system. It is not working.

You just prescribed that we should crash this democratic experiment, what is the alternative?
First of all we need a new constitution. All this patching is not working. We need to start from ground level.

You need to have a system that is owned by the people. Have you ever seen a country where the people are so completely alienated from governance? The people don’t feel that the government is for them or about them. Anybody you talk to just shrugs: ‘God will catch them one day.’

So for me my role is essentially to highlight the fact that this is not a working system. You talked about Senate and all that, when I started out, my goal was to see if we could build an alternative institution, a political party that brings together progressive forces. When you have that kind of viable political force with a complete agenda of again literally starting afresh, then you can make progress.

When I woke up January 1, 2010, my New Year resolution, which I told my wife, was I’m not running for anything. I am out of it. I’ve worked with young people for so long. I will continue to work with young people in one way or the other to shape their mind so they can realize they can rebuild their country. But I kept getting pulled in. you know this Chief Enahoro’s idea, build a mega summit movement I was just a follower.

One day I traveled, came back and was told I was chairman. I said oh is that the story? On another day, I was told that I have to be candidate because they need somebody to rally around to make the point I have been making about constructing a new Nigeria, so I said okay oh. But you see what is required is so fundamental and requires commitment. We have a dying country. People don’t realise it but we have a dying country.

This is hypothetical. Do you think it will do us well if we shift the elections and go into that conference to re-arrange things before we can say we are ready?
It is hypothetical, as you say. But they won’t do it. We are going to have an election and it is going to be a complete mess.

Jega or no Jega?

Jega or no Jega. You see, that is another part of Nigeria’s problem; this turning to Jega. What we need are strong institutions not strong men. We are obsessed with strong men. Where will Jega be? How many places can he be? They will run rings round him so much he will just be wondering what is happening.

Is Jega’s constant demand for more money part of the confusion?
That is one of the reasons I say we should crash this system. What I mean is that we have to change it completely. We cannot run such an expensive democracy. We are now living for the democracy instead of the democracy living for us. Let us go back to the parliamentary system where a group of us in our village nominate one guy who we think is good for our village to go and represent us for a total cost of next to nothing. If he doesn’t do well, he comes back. This system is not working.

You sound thoroughly sad

When I was growing up, I was raised in a country of promise. I grew up expecting the world. As I am entering the sunset of my life, I looked back and all the promises have failed. Look, (Ben) Nwabueze, a professor of constitutional law, an extra-conservative man in his 70s, says Nigeria must have a revolution. That there is no way out but a revolution! This is not a flippant statement. He is conservatism personified and he is 70, saying revolution is inevitable. He is not mad. He is talking about a country that has failed and the only thing that can save it is upturning the system.

Politicians have been campaigning but a lot of Nigerians say they are just making noise…
We have not had campaigns in this country. At the risk of sounding funny, I was the only one who campaigned in 2007. I was considered a joke but I was the only one who campaigned in the sense that Americans campaign. Maybe because I didn’t have money. I had three or four vehicles and we went round this country. I was in every state in this country in 2007... I was in Kano at least five times. At least on three occasions I travelled between Kano and Abuja about 11pm by road. I see people jump into an airplane to Adamasingba Stadium with a huge crowd of people that they had paid and given uniforms. They clown around for 45 minutes and go. That is not campaigning. They are just making a joke.

What do you think the media is not doing right?
The media should point out that what PDP is doing is not called campaigning; that it is a charade, a circus. A ruling party runs on its record, an opposition party runs on its vision, the strength of his vision. Compare the vision of the opposition with the record of the incumbent. Of course, as you know, PDP cannot run on its record. There is no record to run on. It has destroyed the country.

Call one PDP trustee and ask him to show how the quality of life of the average Nigerian is better today than it was in 1999, even him cannot justify it. Everybody knows that life expectancy in Nigeria is worse today than it was in 1999. Everybody knows that infant mortality in Nigeria is one of the worst in the world. Everybody knows that Nigeria is almost at the bottom of the African competitiveness index, that Nigeria’s economy is one of the least competitive economies in Africa. Ironically, Tunisia, where this crisis started from, is Africa’s most competitive economy. So you can imagine in Africa’s least competitive economy, Nigeria, what should be happening.

I think our problem is oil. Because it can be used to service the greed of a few and make them bent on worsening our lives it continues. The Economist interviewed me in 1996 when Abacha was in power and I said I wished Nigeria could find a way of giving the oil to its soldiers and politicians and say tackle this, leave Nigeria, leave us alone and go away that Nigeria will be more prosperous. Because oil services this corrupt bureaucracy and political machine there is a semblance like we are functioning. If it was not there Nigerians will know that they either have to build their future or they will become Somalia and I’m sure that they will vote for building their future and Nigeria will be a truly prosperous country. The endowments of this country are enormous. The endowments that can make this country truly great even without oil are phenomenal.

What are you bringing to the table in your campaign?
Ideas are the most important thing to bring to an election campaign. Barack Obama is president of United States not because of anything else he brought to the table but because he can think. You know in Nigeria they think the intellect is a disadvantage. They call it theory, but there is no practice without theory. You have to think out, see the possibility before you can put it to practice.

Nigerian politicians who are very anti-intellectual have managed to convince Nigerians, including journalists, that thinking is theory. So we have a serious problem. The problem we have is the collapse of culture. The value system has crashed completely and Nigerians cannot even tell right from wrong, what makes for progress or what distracts from. It is not that there are no roads.

So it boils down to poverty of the mind
Poverty of the mind, ultimately. In fact, I will show you the message from a priest who read the piece I had in The Guardian. He was very frustrated. He said: “Prof, your message is good but my fear is that you are talking to a people whose minds are closed. Most of our leaders are sick and their sickness is chronic poverty of the mind.

They simply cannot understand the things you say because they are blind and you are thinking normally in a country where people are so accustomed to thinking upside down. Can you imagine the hero’s welcome given to Bode George? Can’t you see the level of mental poverty and decay? Anyway don’t be discouraged because there are still some sane minds who know and appreciate the truth. Regards. Monsignor.”

What is your assessment of INEC?
To be fair, we really don’t have any empirical basis for evaluation. The only thing I know that I can evaluate is the voters’ registration exercise. It had its flaws and aany things were corrected. Overall, it left you afraid and worried about a few things. But I think the taste of the pudding is in the eating. So we may have to wait until after the elections to be able to evaluate them fairly.

What will be your priority in the first six months if you are elected President?
Job creation. But you know the beauty of job creation is that you will be solving several problems at once. When you create jobs, they won’t be doing those jobs entertaining themselves. The jobs will be solving other problems. The primary way to create jobs quickly is infrastructure development. Anybody who is a serious observer will notice that our infrastructure continue to decay in an extraordinary manner. The contracting process is so fundamentality corrupted in this country. But massive effort at infrastructure development will immediately create several million jobs.

First of all, you have take people off the streets.
As I said before, the corruption in the contracting system has made it difficult. One simple way you can solve this problem is to take it away from the contracting system. For instance, iif you want to do Lokoja/Abuja dualisation, you don’t go to the Ministry of Works to award contracts to whoever. There are people who have their own money around the world who are willing to come and build a road and collect toll. But those people will not come to Nigeria. Most of the roads in Malaysia, Indonesia are all built that way. But they won’t come to Nigeria because there is so much uncertainty here.

They don’t know if the next election takes place the man nominated by this governor will not say I cancel that road arrangement because Nigerian elite have grown up feeding on corrupt extraction of rent. So they keep cancelling contracts and re-awarding. No serious business around the world will take that risk for something you collect your toll over 25 or 50 years. So they won’t come.

How do you change that? When we still had 60 something billion dollars in our reserves, I was on a flight with Chukwuma Soludo, then governor of Central Bank, and I said to him, now that you people have all this cash, instead of just keeping the thing there why don’t you take $20billion and put it in whatever bank in Europe as collateral security?

You can then invite private infrastructure companies from Australia (because Australia remarkably are the leaders in that area) to come and do a coastal highway from Lagos all the way across the Atlantic coast. People can build hotels and there will be tourism explosion. You just collect your toll. If we misbehave at any point in time between now and 50 years during which you have toll you can go to international arbitration. If we are found guilty, they can share the money in the bank and pay back.

Just the demonstration effect will lead to a flood of people even whether the collateral is there or not anymore because it has already given the confidence to open things up. We will put millions of Nigerians to work building those roads and railways and all of that opening our country for more progress.
I thought you were going to mention power

Infrastructure is also power. I started with roads because that is what I talked about earlier. Do you know how much we have spent on power and still it is not working. Same logic for power as for roads; just the same thing. Power should be decentralized. You come and build your ten megawatts plant and be collecting your tariff or whatever people pay for electricity.

How about security?

Security is very critical, very important. I mean if people are not secured they cannot do anything. Again, I will decentralize policing in Nigeria. I will go for a fiscal arrangement where the federal government will provide grants to the states and the funding of the police force will be a state matter. We need a state police force not a federal one. Policing is about being in the community, knowing the thieves. If you are in Abuja and you are sending people to Akwa Ibom to protect them, they will collude with the kidnappers. When a man from Ikot Abasi is policing Ikot Abasi, he knows that it is his personal business and at first point he knows the families that steal.

So the police need to be adequately funded and decentralized. They will say politicians used the local police to harass their enemies in the 60s. That is a naïve argument. Don’t we use federal police to harass our enemies if we are the government in the centre? The way to deal with that is that whenever any issue involves fundamental human rights it immediately becomes a federal issue as it is in America.

So decentralize policing, invest heavily in creating a new police force, re-educate the policemen and make policing a prestige institution. Right now policing is seen as some thing for any drop out to go into. I have no problem making a university degree the minimum requirement to be a policeman because you need them to be enlightened to understand what they are doing. If all that you do with your budget as government is education, healthcare and security the country will make progress.

How would you tackle the waste in the system, for instance, by trimming the size of government in Nigeria?

Well I used to say that one of the first things I will do in the first six months is to slash government massively.

By how many per cent?
It is not a matter of percentage. If I really have my way it will be by 80 per cent. But it is not a matter of sacking people, moving them to other functions where they can do real work. Seven years ago, DFID (Department For International Development) invited me to make a presentation at their London office. They were really fascinated by some of the ideas that I expressed on over-bloated public service. I said it is true that we have an over-bloated civil service.

People are in Abuja doing nothing. For instance, the Ministry of Finance is full of people who don’t understand the first thing about finance. If I got rid of 80 per cent of the people in the ministry today, bring in a few serious professionals who understand finance to run the ministry at 20 per cent of the current work force, I don’t need to sack anybody actually. I will look at the profile of all of these people that we don’t need in the ministry and probably spend a little more money retraining them.

Can you imagine what would happen in many local governments if people like that were injected into the local government administration because local governments don’t have capacity? What they are doing is just share the money and it is not just because they are greedy. It is because if you even gave them a target they won’t be able to do it with the money because they don’t know how to do it; they don’t have capacity.

These roads we are talking about, that none has been completed in 12 years since 1999, is an indictment on the public service because every year they award contracts for roads and not one has been completed.

The only road that can be completed is the Abuja airport unnecessary road. Why are you spending billions to build a road that was okay? What the hell in the rush building a ten-lane highway to the airport? It was Dr Kolade who said this to me; he said it is presidential route. So what decides what Nigeria is doing is the route the president travels on when there are serious commercial arteries in this country that are unmotorable.

Where are our foreign reserves that were built up to such a huge level? It’s gone. Where is the excess crude account? It’s gone. What was it used to produce? There is no single road that is motorable in Nigeria. There is no viable institution that is working even the judiciary has become a disgrace. Where in the world do you find judges of that level exchanging words? Nothing is sacred anymore in Nigeria and you don’t think your country is dying? Celebrating prisoners, judges abusing each other, people taking money from the treasury to run their campaigns and all of that, no accountability, impunity. The country is impunity extraordinaire.

One day young people who have been out of work for ten years will revolt. These characters are saying it is not possible in Nigeria, Tunisia started because one guy out of work was so angry he set himself on fire. I can show five hundred thousand guys who have not been at work for seven years after graduation. You think that one day they won’t get together and start burning everything. The short sightedness of these fellows just beat me.
People who said revolution is impossible in Nigeria site the example that in Nigeria we are so polarized along ethnic lines, religious divides and there’s the influence of money that the people at the top use in dividing us …

How many of the millions of unemployed Nigerians get some of the money they share? How many can you share to? How much does Nigeria earn from crude oil? Countries don’t get rich from selling one commodity like oil, countries get rich from producing things. So how much is that crude if you begin to share it? And if there are 3-4million unemployed graduates, how much will you share to them to prevent 1 million of them coming together to bring the whole system down?
It’s just short sightedness.

This thing you have said Prof we will publish you verbatim when you said we have to crash this democracy

It’s not a democracy. It’s not working. It is not a democracy
Some over zealous security agents might interpret this to mean you are canvassing alternative form of change

So, they have to catch me doing something that is unconstitutional. They have a right to think, it’s a God-given right.

Okay let’s spell it out, how do you want us to crash this democracy and start to rebuild?
We have to sit before the Nigerian people and discuss where we are which is that we are nowhere. If so many millions of Nigerians are unemployed there is no constructive plan, don’t tell me I will vote 50billion for employment to get Nigeria working, the engine has knocked but we are pretending. You know when a person is in the hospital on life support system they think he is alive because there is life support.

In Nigeria there is a life support system called crude oil earning. The country has crashed. It’s all about how to share that life support and what eventually happens is that one day the doctor will pull the life support and death will officially be recognized but you were living dead anyway. That is what Nigeria is right now, a living dead on life support system of crude oil revenue.

Now if people are not able sit down and say politicians are not serving Nigeria, all of us politicians are not serving the Nigerian people, then what should they say? What is a democracy? And you don’t say it by taking up NTA airtime in song and dance. You say it by standing before the Nigerian people in town hall meetings one-on-one but they definitely won’t want it to happen. You think Nigerians will wait forever? If we don’t organize to have a true democracy, one day the youth will take it over.

Do you see that happening very soon?

I don’t know when it will happen but I am just talking as a scholar who has studied societies. I wrote a piece that was in the papers this weekend, the poverty conspiracy. All I am just trying to do is show you historically what has happened in other parts of the world. Argentina was at par with the United States in the 1930s by the 1990s Argentina was down to West African level GDP. It had moved from first world to the third. The US had gone on to become the world’s preeminent economy.

You don’t have to read Gerald Diamond to know that collapse has come to Nigeria. Unless there is a massive rethink Nigeria’s life support system is designed to last only for a short period, and what you’ll get is Somalia.

Somalia?
Nigeria is on the road to Somalia. Look at what is happening with Boko Haram, in Jos, the Niger Delta? We are using some money to sustain the so-called amnesty, how long can we continue that? Those same boys will resume. The governor of Niger was shouting the other day that Boko Haram people were coming to his state. All over the place warlords will be in charge just because the elite has not shown responsibility in the way it has governed the country.

A US report predicted a few years back that by 2015 Nigeria will be a failed state. Do you now see that happening?
It is not in my interest for that to happen. What I thought that prediction should have done is cause us as an elite to rally around and say our country must not go that way instead we just continued doing the same very things that will bring us to that point. Look there is an index a failed state index. The difference between Nigeria and Ghana is more than a hundred countries; Ghana is as far away from being a failed state as Nigeria is as close to being a failed state.

So don’t come four years from now and say ah they said in 2015 Nigeria will collapse. For many Nigeria is already a failed state.

Most South Easterners are so passionate about the homestead that they go home every month. They have their mass return in Easter, and everybody goes home for Christmas. I was at a meeting in Abuja of leading politicians from the South East; some of them had not been to their hometowns in three years because of insecurity primarily. What do you call a state that people are so in secure? A failed state.

So Nigeria is in serious trouble. I don’t want to get into the American prediction and all of that because people forget that that process is not that a group of Americans woke up one morning and said this state will be a failed state, you know how they produce those reports?

It’s global trend survey. It’s not about Nigeria. Every five years, and that is how serious countries work, they pull together the world’s smartest people to look at how the world is evolving; the trends, the possibilities, what will happen and when these people finish they take the data from their study, the US intelligence community then produces a report. And then they find some of the smartest people in the world to review that report and publish what they call global trend for the next five years. I have had the good fortune of being invited. I was the only one from sub-Saharan Africa invited that room included former European prime ministers. We spent one week together reviewing the latest global trend survey.

Nigeria in the eyes of the world has lost its relevance because it has had bad leaders, nothing else. But I cannot just roll over and die. Let history record that some Nigerians stood up and said our country cannot go on like this.

Prof when you look at the political field and you see all this retired generals, people with deep pockets and who have almost become veterans contesting for the presidency, are you intimidated?

Intimidated by their deep pockets?

Yes
Deep pockets have nothing to do with running a country.
Because you need loads of money
If I want to do it their way then I shouldn’t be informed in this business. My being in this business is an indictment of their way so if I do it their way what’s the point? I can as well go and become one of them. I have to do it differently.

Granted the way the Nigerian system works, your chances of becoming president or being sworn in on May 29, I’m sorry I’m not trying to discourage you
No, go ahead

You know your chances are so remote but by May 29 what would you have achieved by joining this race?

Let May 29 come first. Let it come.

I’m talking about you refocusing that you have spent all your energy, resources over the years, how do you intensify your efforts?
You know the thing that makes me feel my life has been worth living are not this huge things, they are the small things like waking up, being in airport which has happened to me a week before last in Washington DC and a young man running from somewhere, running up to me and I look at him, he turns out to be a Nigerian and he says are you Professor Pat Utomi? And I say yes. He says my life is what it is because of you.

You know you just look at yourself and say who am I? for me the amazing thing is that it happens with such frequency this days that I say God you must have a good sense of humor. What are you trying to communicate to me? I flew from Washington to Atlanta and as I was checking a fully kitted US Marine walks up and I was saying what have I done now that an American soldier wants to arrest me you know and he says excuse me sir are you Pat Utomi? And I said yes I am. I said see these Americans, now they have sent CIA to catch me.

He said I was actually sending you something on Facebook yesterday night.
I said you are sending me something on Facebook, which one concern me and you? Then he introduces himself. They were just arriving from Iraq. He is a US army doctor but he is Nigerian-born. So I talked with him a few minutes and he was very excited. He is in touch with me on Facebook and he goes on saying some extraordinarily kind things about without people like me, our country is dead and blah blah. I said thank you.

I get into the airplane. Coincidentally he is sitting right next to me. That one-hour plus flight to Atlanta we did talk. Then he said his family must meet me. So I went up with him; he was taking photographs. Look people were seeing him and as they were coming, you know the way Americans regard their soldiers. They were giving him flowers, all kinds but he was chaperoning me to go and take photograph with his wife. So when I go through moments like that, I say its been worth it. He is from Benin but he is a US Army doctor.

So looking back at the whole of your life now 55 years of your life do you have any regrets at all? Would you do what you have been doing all over again if you had the opportunity to?
You know that question whenever I am asked my response is not the typical one. Most people when they ask that question will say definitely if I live my life ten times I will do it all over again. I am not that em em what is the right word to use.
 

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When we are sick we go to a Doctor

Beloved Nigerians

Nigeria is Sick She went to a Doctor.

When we are sick we go to a Doctor, and the Doctor will send us to for diagnosis, to find the root of your sickness. Thesame is applicable to Nations issues but we rejected the advise of Christ the Greatest Doctor of the Nations.

Buhari and Idiagbon crahed Shagari/Ekwueme regime after our healing from 1st Military coup of 1966, when God fought for Nigerians with the death of General Sani Abacha. Do Nigerians considered Alex Ekwueme as a right man to lead Nigeria? No, reason? unknown

The name Ekwueme is the name of Angel Gabriel who met Virgin Mary with the Power of Cash and Carry this is the meaning of Ekwueme. The Power that follows the talk. Theirfore dening Alex Ekwueme his right is dening the Apostle and Carrier of Holy Ghost Angel Gabriel his rights in Nigeria.

Both Christians, Muslims, Judaism, Secular world and others received their mission and wisdom from Angel Gabriel. Who rules the Universe through Sun. He that waters others shall water himself. Is time for Ekwueme Government in Nigeria.

Hey! Uncle Pat

Now, you woke up sir! All the while I had been admiring you from afar! From my secondary school days, until you refused to leave them, you r always with them! Now you woke up Sir!Ha! O pe oooo! Thank God, I have to remove the cobweb and start looking at you from that very fresh pre and post shagari perspectives! Kudos!

The Ignorance of the Educated in our Land

Generally, one should be tolerant of contrary views because people have the right to hold their opinions, but not when such opinions are misrepresented as facts.

I have no problems with a person being intellectually handicapped or incapable of comprehending logical synthesis of ideas because peoplpe are gifted in diverse ways. But such people should seek explanations rather than post comments that only serve to expose such intellectuall backwardness. Nothing is more annoying than reading a comment written from poor understanding of a text while at the same time such comment boastfully parades itself as a constructive criticism.

Prof Utomi's piece is not a lengthy one neither does it require deep mental processes to understand. The Prof uses vivid images for illustrations, and, except Lanre is really incapapble of comprehending some simple text like this, we all can relate with such images in Nigeria. For exampple, when a Nigerian says "God will catch them one day" the message is clear.

Prof Utomi talks about crashing the current system in the context of state failure. He draws on universally accepted democratic and economic indices in his analysis. He makes a comparison between the moral values of Brazilians and Nigerians as critical factors in ensuring accountability and curbing impunity of political office holders. What is so difficult to understand there?

Without expressly mentioning a Soveriegn National Conference, Utomi calls for a re-engagement with the Nigerian electorate by the political elite because as it stands, there is a disconnect and there is apathy on the part of the youths. Such apathy will not last for long as the revolution in North Africa shows.

The system could crash in so many ways, he argues: Stand before the peole in the Village Square or in the Town Hall Meeting; discard this Constitutional Order and craft another Grundnorm; or worse still, allow the country to drift along the road to Somalia. It is up to Nigerians which one to choose. But one thing is certain, the current "gangster arrangement for extracting economic rent" is unsustainable.

Please if you don't understand a text, don't be in a hurry to post a comment. Download it and read it later so that you can have a comprehensive understanding of the material presented.

In every country, there are political interest groups, there are economic interest groups and there are social interest groups etc. It is the business of the State to coordinate the activities of these diverse groups to achieve the developmental objectives the State has set for itself. It is the duty of the state to set the rules of the game and to make sure that the competitors do not undermine the system. People are free to compete.

The mention of Utomi's sojourn in Volkswagen, the LBS etc smacks of indolence and mental laziness because it shows that you lack basic understanding of political economy. Silvio Berlusconi is a rich man and he is Italian President. George W. Bush was US Presient, Dick Cheney was US VP and he is a wealthy man. It is not about whether you are wealthy, it is about whether the source of your wealth is questionable or not.

Until you have some evidence that Prof Utomi fraudulently enrichecd himself while he held those positions, you should do yourself a favour and go back to your A'Level economics texts.

One is forced to agree with Utomi that there is a pervasive anti-intellectualism in Nigeria and it will destroy the country if something is not done about it because every great act must first be incubated by an intellectual in the realm of ideas.

yess. for sure one day Nigerian will Rise up

Yes i strongly and surely believe that Nigeria our Motherland will rise up at sun set and So no to all this nonsence politicians and will electe our own leader the people choice I strongly believe in Nigeria ma fatherland one day all this will be history we will ve Good road water light and world class investment and become the Great peole that we re God bless Prof Pat.U and the Great Peolpe Of Nigeria

RE: ARISE O COMPATRIOTS.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@SANI MAMMAN

You are definitely the main man. I couldn't agree more with you on all you the points raised in your contribution here. I just wish that so many more people should be able to read your stuff and begin to make up their minds what they want out of Nigeria. If it is a prostrate and failed Nigerian State, then they can go on and return the PDP, but if it is progress and development, then the PDP MUST be punished in the forthcoming polls. No more, no less!

At these times Utomi is the safe Candidate for Nigeria

Saharareporters, what is happening to this my comment title - At these times Utomi is the safe candidate for Nigeria? It was sent about noon yesterday, it was not pasted. I sent it back to you in the evening. It was pasted. This morning as I opened the web to read the papers, the comment was missing. What is going on?

For the effectiveness of my comments, today, I know that those of Jonathan, Sanusi of the CBN and others that are desperate would pay anything for the papers not to publish or paste my comment. This has happened in virtually all the papers I used to send my comment. If hard hitting and effective articles or comments are shutout, how are we going to save Nigeria from the few that are not up to the job, have put her in their pockets and do not allow the country to move forward?

This general election will be different. The voting pattern will be different. At the Presidential, National Assembly and States’ levels, the people will focus more on individuals’ leadership qualities, capability and honesty rather than their political parties. A candidate could win the Presidency or some Governors could win their States without their political parties having majority at the National or State Assemblies.

However, there are only four Presidential candidates in this election. They are Utomi, Jonathan, Ribadu and Buhari. In a free and fair election, any two of them could make it to a runoff. But who fit the bill?

The PDP corruption and null performance record since 1999 make its candidate unelectable. These have been worsened by the notable leadership weakness of Jonathan. He had one year to prove otherwise but could not. So Jonathan has ruled himself out of the race.

Today, there is the assumption among some Nigerians that if you rounded up the corrupt people the problems of the country are all but solved. Nigeria’s problems transcend corruption and clamping people into jail. There are other issues that come before corruptions.

For example, Buhari is a dangerous card and a leopard that cannot change his spots. He has antecedent for the stick. He exposes himself on daily basis to these effects. The country will be nothing but chaos in his pursuit of the alleged corrupt people. Their Muslim extremism and intolerance of others’ belief, opinion, etc will come into play. A two tier system that embraces Islam will be in operation whether anyone likes it or not.

Corruption fighting, which Bahari and Ribadu are apparently noted, is only a tiny aspect of Nigeria’s problems. Corruption is a historical issue. The solutions to it in the country are just simple good system of control and honest leader in Aso Rock. What to do about the economy, political structure, social, education, healthcare, etc. matters are the main challenges. Buhari or Ribadu is here a novice and has no any ability in these areas.

Moreover, any candidate from the North will be nothing but chaos for the country. He will be like the problems Sanusi today constitutes in our banking industry. The country will not move forward, could be stagnant or goes backwards. At these times, Nigeria is not safe in the hands of any candidate from the North or in the hands of Jonathan. The election of Buhari, Ribadu or Jonathan by accident would no doubt threaten the single entity of the country.

Utomi is best placed to lead Nigeria at these times. He has the requisite education, qualification, experience and leadership qualities. He came from a long way in democratic, etc struggle. He is acceptable in every part of the country. Most of the feasible measures for the country’s economic, political, social, education, healthcare, etc, matters are readily in him. He only needs to be followed up in some respects so as not to go rightwing overboard in few areas. Now, Utomi is the safe bet for the harmony and continued existence of the present Nigeria.

Crash is too harsh a word for the PDP abused democracy. A reformation will do. However, official leadership rotation shall be in place from this year for every acknowledged segment to take its turn to rule the country as follow:

The Greater South East 2011-2019. (South South and South East).
Middle Belt 2019-2027.
South West 2027-2035.
North 2035-2043.

Jonathan will not take this turn of the Greater South East but Utomi. There is no Presidency for the North until 2035. The Muslim extremists of the North that cut across class need time to cure themselves of intolerance, unnecessary anger and that violence is only the response to those that disagree with them. In all, it is for them to adapt to normal times and a reformed system of Government

Pat Utomi

Lanray, you sounds as if you know what you are saying but unfortunately its a pity you read this piece but did not quite comprehend or digest it properly. I can't believe you failed to understand how he said the system could be crashed. I advise you to read this interview again and again because it appears you are a bit confused unless you are biased.

Gboluwaga you are nothing but

Gboluwaga you are nothing but an empty head without brain. You can't even proffer one solution on how to run your own house and yet you can't appreciate this intellectual masterpiece. People like you are not meant to be heard but seen only.

Which way people?

Which way people?
Chief Gani of the blessed memory formed a party and contested for the presidency of this country, we laughed him off his scrotum saying that he Gani was no good to lead us. Not even Lagosians, the home of the progressives casted their votes to Chief Gani. Yet, we all beat our chests claiming that we believe in something.

Soyinka tried same thing and now, Pat is getting the same treatment.

Now let take a look at those that we said that were/are good leaders for Nigeria.
Obj, IBB, Yaradua, Gej, Atiku, Ribadu, Buhari, Shagari etc.

I wonder what made/make the above names a better candidate than Chief Gani and co. Can somebody please tell me the 360 degree separation between Obj and co. vs. Chief Gani and co.?

When will this country going to get a government that is run by the best and brightest minds that this country has to offer? Just wondering!!

PAT UTOMI'S INTERVIEW

Deri if Prof. Utomi's analysis is too sophisticated for you to understand, please look for some body to explain it to you. You are an idiot for calling the learned Prof. names for his honest analysis of the Nigerian situation. Prof. thanks so much for your deep seated and patriotic analysis. The PDP government is a failed government that has led Nigeria to become a failed state.

THE UTOMI METAMORPHOSIS

I REMEMBER GOING TO AN UTOMI CAMPAIGN EVENT IN WASHINGTON DC IN 2006 AND BEING SOMEWHAT PUZZLED AT HIS SENSE OF OPTIMISM THAT WE CAN DO IT PEACEFULLY AND PIECEMEAL. IT IS REALLY SAD BUT NOT SURPRISING TO READ HIS WORDS IN THIS INTERVIEW. PAT IS A VERY SMART AND DECENT GUY, THE KIND THAT ARE BORN LEADERS IN ANY HALF-WAY DECENT COUNTRY WITH ANY SENSE OF SELF PRESERVATION.
IT IS REALLY RATHER DISCONCERTING TO LITERALLY WATCH A GUY WHOSE LIFE STORY ALMOST CONVINCES YOU AT TIMES THAT ONE CAN BE DECENT AND REAL AND SUCCESFUL (IN THE FULL MEANING OF THAT WORD)IN NIGERIA, MELT DOWN THE WAY HE DID IN THIS INTERVIEW.
IT IS TRAGIC...THE MESS THAT IS NIGERIA HAS FINALLY CONSUMED ONE OF ITS MOST CONSUMATELY OPTIMISTIC CHEERLEADERS. HOW MANY MORE DO WE NEED TO SACRIFICE TO THIS MONSTROUS CONTRAPTION?

Pat Utomi - Not qualified

Having a PhD does not necessarily qualify the person to run an efficient government. Pat may be able to criticize, and say all he could, I don't think he is qualified to be the president of this country. I think Utomi is over-valued or over-praised.

Sorry Prof., we won't thrash the constitution; we can amend it though. No constitution is perfect; it is a learning process.

ARISE O COMPATRIOTS.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You dont need a soothsayer to translate for you. PDP and their GEJ are getting desperate and in the process, are showing their true colours, which is that GEJ is a staunch believer in maintaining the status quo (perpetrating corruption), just like OBJ planned. This further justifies the suspicion which many held about him when he was hand-picked to deputize over a three-quarter dead dead man by OBJ. The plan worked quite alright, now we are seeing the truth prevailing.
Ask yourself people; why is Anenih (and so many dead woods like him), a celebrated suspected thief of PDP extraction still FIXing for GEJ? Why is GEJ still negotiating with near-irrelevant northern politicians like A-thief-KU and CHEat-ROMA? How come GEJ all of sudden is praise-singing the much spoken about International Big Barawo? Listen, all the next ministerial and head of parastatal seats have all been negotiated, the same THIEVES have been allocated to continue looting your treasury to their personal accounts in the next dispensation should GEJ win. Nothing will change, except that more people like you and me will die of poverty, or loose their jobs or not getting employment when GEJ is voted in again. Yet, I still read comments like North this, Christians that? South fii and Muslims faa? Nigeria will never run short of blind morons! Between that 1% of THIEVES who have held Nigeria hostage and are milking it to their bank accounts, while all our aged parents, friends, colleagues and children still die of road accidents, infected water and Malaria, you will never lack muslims nor will there be shortage of christians in their fold, nor atheists. If you want Northerners, they are represented and so are the southerners, middle belters are also not left behind. If you screen them properly, almost all tribes are represented, yet, they keep us blind morons at each others' throats by all sorts of sentiments, from religion to region; From tribe to taboo and temptations to tribulations. Their sole intention is to use a smoke screen to divide us, while they silently use the screen to smile to their banks! Their children wed abroad, their wives deliver outside, their parents and cronies do their medical check-up overseeas, while their children study in UK, USA and Asian universities. Their accounts are abroad so when wahala drops, they only need to escape on okada to the nearest boarder. Lately, most of their family members have second passports, thus they are assured of another nationality. It is only you and I that are stuck with the green passport, alone!
Wake up short-sighted, unthinking and sentimental population of mediocrity! I was born in the north and I am constantly surrounded with almajiris who cannot make ends meet, nor their parents. My secondary school was in the south-south where the people can no longer farm, fish nor engage in any meaningful agricultural practice, yet they are the goose that lay the golden egg? I served in the south-west and used to visit lagos where a graduate being an area boy is to make ends meet, where u see graduates holding first class or second class upper as agberos in motor parks or some other unthinkable job which does not befit their credentials. I have had to do business traveling to the east and have seen how energetic, innovative youths engage in unpleasant practices just to earn a living.
Common people, the problems are same ALL over Nigeria. You want proof? People die in accidents all over Nigeria due to bad roads. Malaria is still a killer in about all states. Unemployed youths are everywhere. Armed robbery is common place all over Nigeria! white elephant projects of government both at federal, state and local government levels are spread all over. If you think your state is worse, try going to another and you would be surprised. Listen, we are all victims, none of us is happy!
Care not about that person who rules NIGERIA, no matter his tribe, religion or region, ONLY CARE about HE/SHE who LOVES NIGERIANS and NIGERIA. Because that is our common destiny and we must do ALL we can to protect it! Dont be lured by sentiment, ACT wisely
The time to stop them is NOW...or else in 20 years, I bet you, our children may not even be educated enough to read and understand what I have just written. You know why? Yes, it will be because by then, there may even be no budget for education. All the money of our dear nation would be in personal bank accounts, while NIGERIA will be heavily indebted to ALL the lending houses all over the world.
When we get to that stage, only then will we all throw away all these so-called differences and confront the TRUTH head on, just like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen are currently doing.
That time, we would have no choice and surely it will take more casualties.
Lets do it now, it will be very peaceful and very, very rewarding!
Lets put aside all our so-called differences NOW and come together for NIGERIA, for our children and our children's children. The only way to do it is.....
DO NOT VOTE PDP, no matter what!
Even in experiments, scientists accept trials 3 times (OBJ, OBJ, YarAdua/GEJ).
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, time up PDP!

Happening Right Now: An Evening with Ribadu, Adeola and Fashola

A Youth Town Hall Meeting called ‘An Evening with Ribadu, Adeola and Fashola’ organised by Action Congress of Nigeria.

Event takes place today, 14th of March, 2011 from 7.30 – 9.00 pm. Watch the event live at http://ribadu2011.com

Venue is the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

This event will be streamed live at http://ribadu2011.com

Jonathan and Sambo are wasting state funds on Campaign

Very true Prof Utomi. Jonathan and Sambo are wasting state funds on PDP Campaign, and getting away with it, because Nigeria is worst than a Banana republic!

I was travelling from Murtala Mohammed airport, Lagos, and I saw GEJ/Sambo massive flier by the side of "dead and dirty" Escalator that is supposed to take everyone to the plane boarding area. Only the PDP flag bearers bill board arrogantly displayed there. Is that not abuse of Nigerians and waste of public funds on private persons interest? Why did they not allow Prof Utomi, Buhari, Ribadu, Dele Momudu and other presidential candidates to also display their posters in that strategic place, even though embarassing to Nigeria.

Shame on PDP, for wasting so much funds Nigeria may never get again in the last 12 years. Nigeria had more money in the last 12 years than in the 38 prior years, yet the 4 refineries, Steel companies, Ports authority which all now dead wher built with meagre funds in those days when their was sanity in governance before the PDP locust infested Nigeria and corruption took over, unchallenged!

Yes Prof there is no democracy in Nigeria; only politics of unbriddled corruption and thievery, supported by the likes of DERI in this forum!

How can Nigerians be so forgetful

You see every time I read about the self-appraised Utomi, I wonder what runs his character to see himself as the best or the mesiah, whereas worst is the mark. I am not surprise because most critics dont really make good leaders or managers. Why I hold my disrespect for Utomi is the way the man 'KILLED' Vokswengen of Nigeria (VON). It could be recalled that he fought read dirty to ensure that German dont produce more MD for the company, when he was the DMD. He succeeded. Took over and that was the end of production and existence of that company. Anyway he is lucky to have co-founded LBS and got a professor without any research work or publication. How can someone who is not even known and recognise in his community run a whole country without bringing down? He never made any contribution of growth there. My question is, Pat what can you do than any Nigerian cant do much more better than you?

Happening Today: An Evening with Ribadu, Adeola and Fashola

A Youth Town Hall Meeting called ‘An Evening with Ribadu, Adeola and Fashola’ organised by Action Congress of Nigeria.

Event takes place today, 14th of March, 2011 from 7.30 – 9.00 pm. Watch the event live at http://ribadu2011.com

Venue is the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

This event will be streamed live at http://ribadu2011.com

Meesha am sorry

Meesha am sorry, I made a mistake. Kudos to SR. Thanks for correcting me. But please, don't give your child such a name. I just picked up the name. Doesn't sound nice to me.

@Ibeagwu

@Ibeagwu, Read the headline. Does it say Sahara Reporters or Sun News...? A beg comot for road! If you were my brother, I would have told you off for embarrassing yourself on SR. Joke: I don't think I will name my son Ibeagwu... I have just changed my mind.

There is no stopping the vultures

PAT, where was your voice when Buhari closed Volks wagen in Lagos state? U were hired by the Germans to do a job, based on the CV you sold in the national dailies to us. Do you have any pains as to what befell that hundreds of Lagosians who were laid off? Where was your voice when instead of creating Anioma state for you, to enable your likes become governors, IBB established Delta state. With the capital in far away Asaba? Which democracy do you want to crash? Yours, ours, theirs, Buharis, IBBs, or Ribadus? Which one-the one in Anioma state? Toddlers first learn to creep before they talk. They dont talk before they creep brother me.

@ LANRAY

Before I crucify Pat Utomi for his choice of words in this interview, I should first ask him for a thorough definition of what he means by crashing the system.

Clearly, the system as it is now is NOT working. That cannot be denied by any observer no matter how casual. To that extent therefore, I am for re-engineering the entire Nigerian system (perhaps another word for crashing).

If you live in Nigeria, you would understand that ordinary Nigerians are almost irrelevant to the system. They are routinely pushed off the roads by politicians, military personnel, even traditional rulers with a noisy escort. No jobs for the ordinary Nigerian graduate; you have to know some big gun before you can be offered a job. Their votes do not count in elections. Utilities that are taken for granted in any normal country is non existent here, no infrastructures etc, etc. The list is endless!

Let us indeed crash the system if it would mean putting the ordinary Nigerian citizen back in the driving seat of this country. Chikena!

Pat Utomi is right on

SR should credit the source of this interview, which is Sun Newspapers.

Pat Utomi is right on.

Let's crash this system...

It is the village idiot who does not know from where the rain started to drench him. It is no good 'crying over spilled milk' but crashing the system offers us no alternative hope for salvaging the country.

The first question is, who will bell the cat? For in as much as we may gloss over ethnic and religious allegiances, they play significant roles in the theatre of the absurd called Nigeria.

The second issue here is the monetary angle whereby only those will bags of 'loot' have any hope of getting past the post of party primaries. When the chips are down, sympathy will resolve around such mundane lines as adequate funds for 'campaign', ethnicity and religion. Otherwise why are our legislative houses (federal and state) populated by people of questionable antecedence?

Crashing any system will require an 'overload' of sort and the prosaic nature of the make-up of country will hardly allow for this to happen. Not even self-immolation can trigger the required change.

For until and unless the beneficiaries of this lopsided system see the futility of their continues existence as a static unit, no appreciable progress will be made. The corrosion in our value-system is so endemic that our social fabric has been corroded while we tend to look the other way.

As you rightly observed, the boko haram problem in the North, the resurgent 'MEND' and the unmitigated spate of kidnappings in the South-East portend immediate and future problems but whose fault is it? Militancy had never been adequately challenged in Nigeria, neither under a parliamentary, military nor presidential system.

In my modest view what can change Nigeria is a strong leadership at the Federal level that is willing to take-on and subdue the various miscreants that 'pop-up' here and there while addressing the problem of job creation and investment in infrastructure. It is not an impossible task. It is a pity that the erstwhile last but one leader who showed such an ability went on to pursue his private agenda.

Let Us Crash The Country

The people who designed the constitution and those who set up the government processes in Nigeria did not plan for it to be successful. The system is overloaded with booby traps to the extent that I consider it a miracle, that the entire system has not imploded and exploded at the same time. Now what do we do? From Pankshin to Iseleuku to Iseyin and even Talata Mafara, people are in absolute despair. I cannot begin to catalogue the woes on this page. The entity called Nigeria is no longer viable. If the Niger deltans carve their own territory away, the Yorubas can do the same and the middle beltans can go their separate ways. Our values are not the same, our destinations are different. Truly, let us crash this system.

If Only!!!!!!!!!

If I was a politician or support politic in
any form, Mr Utomi spoke well in all his
Quest for good governance.if only a chance
Will be given to men like Utomi and Utomi
sticking to his actions for good governance,
then it will be Brinc not Bric.for now let's
support GEJ with all we have.

Let's stop this

Let's stop this grandstanding. If he is the kind of leader you want, as someone said here, what are you doing about it. Meanwhile millions of Nigerians are hording around Jonathan knowing he does not have anything to offer us. We are not there yet. We have to get to ground zero to understand that we are wasting our time.

Nigerians think of themselves

Nigerians think of themselves as a great people, although they are just a nation of idiots. When they should fight their rogue leaders, they fight themselves. When they can get a dollar, they settle for a cent. If Nigeria is great, how can it be what it has become - a corrupt and underperforming nation without respect for laws?

Powerful ideas are just a theory to a foolish and dying nation. Wait until the oil dries up in value; their eyes will open. A foolish people must suffer.

See Libya, Egypt and Tunisia- they are better than Nigria, yet the people fight for a decent society.

Nigerians, what do they fight for? Egunje. The problem with Nigerians is that they want the best society but will not do anything to get it. I laugh because I know someday they will grow up and fight. For now, they will continue to live in the jungle they call a nation.

Absolutely thought-provoking!

Nigeria is in dire need of urgent resuscitation from the throes of serious misfortune, but alas, the ruling clique will not see reason to turn a new leaf thereby making the fate of Nigeria inevitable.

If you crash the democracy

If you crash the democracy what have you at your hand now? Nigeria Democracy is the sword of Saul that will kills Saul.Since Buhari/Idiaghon crashed President Shagari and Ekwueme's regime, in the end they denied Alex Ekwueme his chance to leads Nigerians. Has Nigeria be at peace since then? Nigeria is highly spiritual place that God of justice is closer than other nations. You forgot the case of Sani Abacha and his group?

You are looking for God to come from heaven to tell you that denial of Alex Ekwueme his right has kept Nigerians in darkness.

Are you looking for peace in Nigeria; seek the true justice because that disobedient Man the Sun who was a rebel to Christ has agreed to work with Jesus Christ to bring all people and nations to justice of equal rights.

Well grounded Interview

SR, pls try to make reference from the media where this interveiw was culled. It came from daily sun of saturday. We researchers want to keep records striaght while SR should observe intelectual property thing.

Yes the interveiw is coming from an inteligent guru and a somplified man the type the new generation is missing in government.

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