The Leader and Convener of Big Tent Coalition of Political Parties and Civil Society Groups for ObiDatti, Prof. Pat Utomi, has said that a new Nigeria with a new direction under new leadership is imperative due to the current situation which has seen the country fall to the bottom.
Labour Party (LP) is fielding Mr. Peter Obi as its presidential candidate in the 2023 General Elections, while Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba- Ahmed is his running mate.
Utomi stated this position at the launch of ObiDatti Compassion Angel Fund Raising by his Big Tent Coalition, which witnessed the first telethon on Nigeria television for political purposes.
The event brought the people of Nigeria from across the globe together on a televised 13- hour live programme to engage Nigerians on the agenda of ObiDatti movement on Labour Party platform.
Utomi, in a statement issued by the Director, Media and Communications, Charles Odibo, for the Big Tent, urged Nigerians “to own the new direction for Nigeria and fund it and stop this tragedy of state not being able to function because governors who can not pay pensions would go and borrow money, take half of the state’s budget from security account to pursue their political career interests.”
This was just as the Convener, at the event unveiled OBIDATTI COMPASSION ANGELS as one of his commitments in raising funds through the telethon to support Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps across Northern Nigeria with nutritious hot meals in this harmattan season.
Utomi said the country was in the throes of a revolution and unprecedented massive change, whereby inactive citizens themselves were the ones creating political movements, noting that people become citizens when they make further progress because citizens are those according to philosophers, who share their humanity and recognise their shared humanity.
“What matters to them is the common good of all, not necessarily the primordial considerations.
“We have reached a stage in the Nigerian society where we ask who are the citizens, who are the tribesmen, who are the idiots amongst us,” Utomi said.
“It looks like a group of citizens decided that enough was enough in terms of how much progress has Nigeria made and that process needed to kick up a broad tent that will bring people together because they are human beings into a better view of their world.
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“Nothing could have facilitated that happening more than the fact that as Peter Obi pointed out in his speech from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, the naked truth of our reality is that bread will not be sold differently for a Yoruba man than it would be sold to a Kanuri man, so if there is going to be hunger it will get all of us. And guess what, there is hunger in the land,” he added.
Utomi lamented that Nigeria now had the dubious status as the poverty capital of the world, citing a Federal Government agency which recently “indicated that 133 million of us live in multifaceted, multidimensional poverty.”
“What happened is that we have leadership that could not exercise imagination. This is why a new Nigeria under a new leadership is important because we have fallen to the bottom and are now saying enough is enough,” Utomi said.
He, therefore, urged Nigerian citizens to continue to rally behind the ObiDatti movement and “take back Nigeria,” stressing that the point he had been making was that the structure of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) “are such that they are incapable of leading Nigeria to a better way because the nature of the transactions in their structure is such that committed leaders cannot emerge from them, because its only about transactions.”
On the policy direction being proposed by Obi to revive the nation’s comatose economy, two professors of economics from the Lagos Business School, Professor Bongo Adi, and Associate Professor Franklin Ngwu provided a brief summary of the Manifesto on the economy, in terms of how to get the nation’s economy working again.
According to Adi, “what we have today is a rentier system whereby, because it’s difficult to place Nigeria’s economy on the spectrum of economic models, which has created a misaligned economic system, so the manifesto proposes to dismantle the structure of systems for all manner of subsidy, or rather rent seeking systems so that revenue will begin to flow back to the coffers of government.”
On his part, Associate Professor Ngwu stated that “to revive an economy you have to look at three policy directions – the monetary policy, fiscal policy, and supply side policies. Unfortunately the fiscal policy side has been on the back seat.”
Viewers from across the globe who watched on Television and streamed on all social media platforms called in to ask questions which were answered by panellists, anchored by Utomi, and later joined online by Peter Obi who talked about his commitment to revamping education as a bedrock for sustainable development, and recalled how he revamped education as Governor of Anambra State during his eight-year tenure.
Panellists at the day-long Telethon which ran from 10 am to 10 pm, included: Dr. Austin Nweze, Lead Director at Big Tent; Dr. Chidi Okpaluba, a Director of the Big Tent Independent Campaign Council; Dr. Ifeanyi Nzegwu of the Lagos Business School; Mr. Soni Irabor, renowned broadcaster; Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Dr. Loretta Oduwa Ogboro-Okor, Dr. Sam Amadi and Dr. Jerry Okolo, who are experts in power, and David Hundeyin, investigative journalist, among others.