Pat Utomi’s power of ideas into Nigeria’s 2011 presidential elections.
USAfrica, January 16, 2011: One of Africa’s leading management and public policy expert, Pat Okedinachi Utomi has dared Nigerians to work towards their shared dreams of a better and more productive country.
Utomi, a Professor of business management and founder of the Lagos Business School, made this call as he emerged from the January 13, 2011 national convention of Nigeria’s Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) in Abuja, as its presidential candidate for the April 2011 election.
He promised a government which will tackle the exploding crises of unemployment especially among Nigeria’s youth. Utomi who serves on the boards of several corporations in and outside Nigeria recalled in the acceptance speech which USAfrica has a copy that in November 2010 “in as far away as London…I was approached by a Nigerian with the CV of a relative who had been unable to find work more than seven years after earning a University Degree. How can anyone sleep with such a burden….”
On the issue of agriculture and food security, the creatively engaged man who was born on February 6, 1956, said he dreams and foresees “possibilities of huge opportunities for jobs in the Agriculture sector….” He argued that the sectors “are daily threatened by policy neglect of integrated rural development and low support for agriculture. I still remember agricultural extension services that made an egg for a penny promise successful in the 1960s. I cannot but dare to dream of how agriculture can fill bellies give the dignity of employment to many.”
Utomi is an eternal optimist on Nigeria and one of Africa’s leading persons of ideas. Utomi has the substance of the message, a deep public policy knowledge, the business and leadership experience and the charisma.
One of his advantages is that he has a huge network of younger Nigerian business and financial services leaders as friends and financial supporters going into the 2011 April elections.
He seeks to take on the problems of power generation and electricity supply which have been critical drawbacks for businesses and well-being. Utomi has made a promise to work towards “banishing today’s black outs” and improving the air quality and the overall quality of life for Nigerians and those who invest there. He moved further to promise on other infrastructural needs that “I dare to dream to have rapid rail transit, and PPP facilitated world class road infrastructure, just as I seek leadership example that salvages our extant collapse of culture marked by declining work ethic, a plague of systemic corruption, election rigging and derision for the dignity of the human person as life is treated of no worth.”
Utomi, a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria returned to the roots of his family values and the dedication of his late mother who was widowed, asserting that “my very life itself is an improbable dream come true. People so easily forget that I am the product of the tenacity of a widow who was a simple trader.”
One of the turning points in his professional/corporate life followed, only a few months after his return to Nigeria from his post-graduate education at the Indiana University in Bloomington, USA. In 1986, he was employed by the Volkswagen of Nigeria (VWON) as the Corporate Affairs director and later in 1991 as its Deputy Managing Director. According to several accounts, Nigeria’s former Vice-President (1979-1983) Alex Ekwueme sought Utomi’s public policy ideas on a number of issues, and later recommended his brief role and appointment as Special Assistant to former President Shehu Shagari.
Shortly after the December 31, 1983 military coup led by then General Muhammadu Buhari (also a presidential candidate in 2007 and for the 2011 election) which ended Shagari’s presidency, Utomi began investing substantially in information/media, educational and financial services interests.
In 2007, he contested for the post of Nigeria’s president under the banner of the of the African Democratic Congress of Nigeria (ADC). Prof. Utomi reflected on that experience, as published here on USAfricaonline.com on April 27, 2007, titled “How the 2007 Nigeria campaign has made a Nehemiah of me.”
A savvy networker, Pat Utomi (aka Patito) was many years ahead of me at our alma mater, the great University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) where he remains an outstanding personage among our esteemed alumni of Lions and Lionesses. Since 1987 (inside Nigeria) and the 1990s to date (here in the U.S), I have known and interacted with Professor Utomi as professionals dedicated to human development, economic empowerment, justice and transparency, respect for the environment, nationalities questions, media freedom and the enthronement of the fundamentals of democratic rights.
I know that Pat Utomi is a can-do, proud son of the Igbo from the oil-rich Delta State of Nigeria with a global dedication to the entire Nigeria.
As a matter of dispassionate assessment, I believe that Prof. Pat Utomi has what it takes to, optimally, turn Nigeria around.
But the USAfrica special series on the April 2011 Nigeria Elections on his candidacy (and others) will be incomplete is we fail to note that the SDMP party he leads with the very progressive Olu Falae (as chairman), will need to expand its alliances and base to be well-positioned to take on the very powerful and forceful PDP machine, amplified especially by the power of President Goodluck Jonathan’s incumbency and leverage.
The SDMP’s operational structure needs to be enhanced; be better positioned to optimally and aggressively engage the practical attention and aspirations of the millions of Nigerians who have suffered decades of incompetent and corrupt and poor performing governments, military and civilian.
A prayerful man of christian faith who believes in the provenance of God in human lives, the lanky technocrat Utomi believes “For what I have become, and can be, by the Grace of God, I have many, who were God’s instruments to be thankful to. From a father who taught me the meaning of hard work and a sense of duty before he passed away so young, to a mother who stood like a rock of Gilbratar, and in a quarter of a century as a widow before she too answered an early call from the creator.”
At almost 27 years old, he had his doctorate degree and two masters degree; an unusual feat. The April 2011 is another unusual challenge for this same blessed man who said: “I have inherited the courage to give of myself for the good of all.” How will Nigerians respond? Time and INEC will tell….
• Chido Nwangwu is the Founder and Publisher of USAfrica, and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; The Black Business Journal, CLASSmagazine, PhotoWorks.TV, AchebeBooks.com, Nigeria360, USAfricaTV and several blogs, assessed by The New York TImes as the largest and arguably most influential multimedia networks for Africans and Americans. He served on the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria in Lagos and worked for the Nigerian Television Authority (news) in the 1980s; served on a publicity committee of the Holocaust Museum, Houston; recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009; adviser on Africa to Houston’s former Mayor Dr. Lee Brown. Chido appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, CBSNews, ABCNews, FOXNews, NBCNews, etc. Chido@USAfricaonline.com. wireless: 1-832-45-CHIDO (24436). Office: 713-270-5500.
USAfrica multimedia networks’ Founder Chido Nwangwu and our editorial executives plan to do a profile interview of Prof. pat Utomi and his vision for Nigeria in February 2011. We welcome USAfrica readers’ questions to news@USAfricaonline.com
Special News Insight by Chido Nwangwu, USAfrica multimedia networks, Nigeria360 e-group and CLASSmagazine, Houston. http://usafricaonline.com/2010/09/08/jonathan-firing-servicechiefs-onovo2010-by-chido/