Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Need to Restore Nigeria

I had a call from a good friend of mine (Yele) a couple of days ago, disparaging me of my 'blind' support for Pat Utomi. This post is about that conversation.

Yele stated: "Utomi is a political neophyte with little understanding of the Nigerian political terrain. He mentioned that Utomi's ideas are nothing different from IMF prescriptions, alien in concept and incapable of addressing Nigerian socieconomic woes. He concluded that Pat should mind his calling - academics!"

I'm sure a good proportion of Nigerians share Yele's opinion. I also suspect a greater proportion of this group have yet to make the effort to research the man - Utomi, and his ideas.

My response to Yele's rant weren't any different from the opinions I have already shared on this site about Pat Utomi and the Nigerian political state, and I did refer him to read more about the man so he could be better informed.

One thing must be made clear, I haven't said that Utomi is the messiah to bail Nigeria out of its economic and social predicaments. Far from that! But there is something encouraging and uplifting in his message:
"...Unless the people get out of the cynicism mode and take hold of the idea of re-inventing Nigeria, our history may be a sad historical footnote. But we can reclaim this land, we can consign the big man syndrome to history's dustbin, have high ranking politicians walk around among the people."
This is the type of rant one hears from Pat Utomi. And he has made the transition from being a mere politico-economic pundit to a presidential contender with fresh and innovative socio-economic agenda! He continues:
"Given where we are, this desired outcome will not be delivered by transactional leadership modes of negotiating power shift. It will require transformational leaders, servant leaders with knowledge who are driven by a clear vision of a triumphant Nigeria, and are impassioned about the common good."
It is interesting that the Guardian article where I lifted these excerpts was forwarded to me by none other than Yele. It appears he's finally got the message. Have you?