Nigerian economist and politician, Professor Pat Utomi has said the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) have agreed to form a mega party that will challenge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2027.
Utomi made this revelation in an interview on Channels Television on Sunday, January 14.
According to Utomi, the proposed new political party is not conceived to actualise the presidential ambition of any of the candidates, but “it is about Nigeria and the ordinary people on the street.”
“It’s a really clean start. You have to start from the premise that Nigeria has not had a political party since 1999. And let’s be very honest with ourselves. What we have managed is to create platforms that enable machine politics from which to grab power, usually for the purpose of state capture. If you will want to test that, check how much the quality of life of a Nigerian has improved since 1999.
“It’s frightening but the truth is a matter that in 1999, a political class managed to build a certain coalition of accommodation to keep the military out and share the spoils of power in Nigeria and somehow did not manage to create an alignment with the Nigerian people to improve the quality of their lives. This is why you can see Nigeria deteriorating, becoming the poverty capital of the world, becoming the centre of widespread violence everywhere.
“And if you want to take some clear examples, I want anybody who is a political scientist, or economist in Nigeria to look at where India was in 1999 and where Nigeria was in terms of mood, violence in politics, the quality of life of people and where they both are today in Nigeria versus India.
“In 1991, India was technically bankrupt. Foreign Reserves could not accommodate more than three weeks of trading. What has happened since 1999 is that India’s politics has managed to focus on the rational engagement of a developmental state.
“If you look at the numbers today, India is now speeding past the so-called miracle economies of South-East Asia. Nigeria, on the other hand, has been traveling in the reverse direction. What better explanation can there be than the fact that Nigeria has not managed to organise the structures for political participation that can focus on the Nigerian people and lift their lives?”
When asked if Peter Obi, will be the presidential candidate of the new coalition, Utomi said: “No, we’re not talking about candidates now. We’re talking about what the party will look like, the values that the party will stand for, the policies that the party will stand for, and a national strategy.
“I give a small example. In South Africa, up to one level of the African National Congress (ANC), they had conversations about public policy, and all these flows back to pre and post-apartheid era. Who in the APC has an idea what APC is doing, even as one of those who founded it, one of those who wrote the roadmap? I wrote more than 10 letters to the National Chairmen of APC, I never got one single reply, not one.
“And so, the APC was just a concoction, a private enterprise of a few people that was justified with the people who they got to run around, and the object was simple – state capture. So, Nigeria needs a political party, not all of these things.”
Continuing, he said:
“I’m not even thinking of 2027. Nigeria has become a circus of elections. Let’s leave elections for now. Let’s look at how our country can be made to work for everybody. And let’s create a political party that can bring the issues to the fore for all the Nigerian people to have the kind of consensus on how to solve problems. If we have that consensus, we will find Nigerians who can provide leadership positions and the provision of those positions will not be about what they get for themselves because this narcissism is a cancer that is tearing Nigerian politics down.
“What we need are people who sacrificially give up themselves to build a great country with their possible reward being immortality. I’ve had conversations with Atiku Abubakar, I’ve had conversations with Rabiu Kwankwaso, I have had conversations with Peter Obi and the people like Ralph Okey Nwosu of ADC are some of those that would probably constitute some of the base. And I’ve said to them, it’s not about you. It’s about Nigeria, it’s about the ordinary person in this state. It’s about really truly moving from this business of sharing trickles from oil sales to how we can become one of the most productive economies because our (natural) endowments allow that but our politics has not allowed Nigerian people to produce.”