Nigeria on the threshold of massive change – Utomi *Host 13-hour global interactive parley for Obi
“Nigeria is in the throes of unprecedented massive change, from a period of inactive citizenship to a period where citizens themselves are the ones creating political movements.”
These were the exact words of Pat Utomi, Nigeria’s renowned political economist, at the opening of one of the political platforms, currently at the base of mobilising support for Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party, for next month’s presidential election.
Under the canopy of Big Tent Coalition, the group made up of political parties and civil society groups held a 13-hour-long conversation in which Nigerians from across the world gathered to give fillip to the making of the ObiDatti project a reality, through.
The first telethon on Nigerian television, between 10am to 10pm, saw the participants on a live programme to engage Nigerians on the agenda of the Obi-Datti Movement, according to a statement signed by Charles Odibo, Director of Media and Communications for the Big Tent.
Utomi, who used the event to ginger Nigerians on the project, told them “to own the new direction for Nigeria and fund it and stop the tragedy of state not being able to function because governors who cannot pay pensions would go and borrow money, take half of the state’s budget from security account to pursue their political career interests.”
At the event, the Big Tent convener also 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, while reminding Nigerians that the country was in the throes of a revolution, said: “Nigeria is in the throes of unprecedented massive change, from a period of inactive citizenship to a period where citizens themselves are the ones creating political movements.”
Utomi, who categorised the society into four categories, identified citizens as the best because, at that level that recognition is given to shared humanity, adding: “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.
“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. 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.”
Utomi, who regretted that Nigeria now had the dubious status as the poverty capital of the world, lamented: “Our own government agency 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.”
Urging Nigerians to heed the call of the ObiDatti movement to “take back Nigeria,” he said the point the LP candidate had been making was that the structure of PDP and APC had crippled the country, “because the nature of the transactions in their structure is such that committed leaders cannot emerge from them, because its only about transactions.”
Highlighting the growth of the “Obidient” organic movement, Utomi stated that the “Labour Party and those who do not want to be partisan but wanted a new Nigeria which is possible, social movements, and labour unions, started to hold conversations that led to an organic movement that has thrown up a Peter Obi candidacy to the pole position, such that every poll of seriousness that has been conducted has put this so-called outsider ahead of the traditional party candidates.
“Therefore, having come where we have come to we needed to get the people to own this process. And what a better way than a telethon in which you put your money where your mouths are to own this process, own this new structure that will determine a new Nigeria in which pursuit of power is not for state capture, but pursuit of power is for use of power to serve the greater good of the greater number of our people.”
In an engaging and entertaining day that featured the likes of Onyeka Owenu, Tee Mac, and other promising young artistes, deep-dive experts from the Policy Review and Future View team of the Big Tent also gave further insight into the seven-pronged agenda of the ObiDatti’s acclaimed Manifesto.
On the policy direction being proposed by Obi to revive the nation’s comatose economy, two professors of economics from the Lagos Business School, Bongo Adi, and Associate Professor Franklin Ngwu provided a brief summary of the Manifesto on the economy, in terms of how to get the Nigerian economy working again.
Adi, said: “What we have today is a rentier system where, because it’s difficult to place Nigeria’s economy on the spectrum of economic models, which has created a misaligned economic system, 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.”
Echoing the sentiment, Ngwu offered: “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 panelists, 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, amongst others.
BREAKING: All clear for Tinubu! S’Court dismisses PDP’s double nomination suit *Says, PDP a busy-body
For being a meddlesome interloper and a busy-body in bringing a case that was none of its business, the Supreme Court, on Friday slammed a N2million fine on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over its suit demanding that the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential election be vitiated.
The main opposition party, had claimed that Kashim Shettima, being a candidate in a Senatorial election in Borno and as well as the running mate to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate in the election, amounted to double Nomination, which is forbidden by the law.
Based on that, the prayed the apex court to declare the ticket null and void and the votes recorded for it in the election, through which they were declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wasted, a prayer, which if it had succeeded, would pave the way for Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the party in the election to take over from Tinubu as the 16th President on Monday, when he is due to be inaugurated.
But the court, while dismissing the prayers, which originated from the Federal High Court Abuja, and travelled through the Court of Appeal, before it, agreeing with the positions of the lower courts which dismissed them on the ground of lacking in locus standi to institute the case.
But, Justice Adamu Jauro who read the Judgement, not only held that the PDP acted as meddlesome Interloper and a busy body as it is an internal affair of the APC, ordered the main opposition party to pay N2milllion, for its troubles, after establishing that its arguments tended to misleading the court, which was “sad”.
The court, which said it was aware of the case of Uche Nwosu, former governorship candidate in Imo State, the court, held that it did not applay in the instant case, as it agreed that Shettima withdrew his senate nomination on 6th July 2022 and was subsequently replaced and therefore, was no longer a candidate for the Senate before he picked up the running mate ticket, thus, making the allegation of multiple nomination untenable.
On the other hand, the court, held that Nwosu in his case, got nominated by two political parties for different positions, and having not being on all fours, PDP suit, was bound to fail right from the trial court, to the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.
Accusing the PDP of attempts to use the social media to set a trap for the apex court to blackmail it, which he said was “painful, unfortunate and uncalled for,” the court said a political party had no right to challenge the action of another party, or the decision of INEC, in respect of another party, adding that for a person to have locus standi to challenge the nomination process of a political party, the person must be a neutral person and an aspirant to that position, and a member of the party.
Nigerians must allow the love they share abroad resonate at home – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is worried that the level of love Nigerians abroad share among themselves is not replicated at home, adding that a situation where they are quick to become friends outside and enemies at home, must be stop. The former President, who acknowledged how Nigerians in the diaspora were making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour, told participants at an evening reception held at New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, that Nigerians in the diaspora must conduct themselves as good citizens wherever they domiciled.
Obasanjo, whose views were captured in a statement by, Kehinde Akinyemi, his spokesman, expressed satisfaction over the unity exhibited among Nigerians in the United States of America, urging them to reciprocate such togetherness when they are back home.
The former President, said to have spoken on behalf of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that included the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola, was quoted as saying: “Nigerian nationals are often very united when they are abroad, but something else when they return to the country, therefore, I want to urge all to be good citizens, not only where you are, but when also you come home to Nigeria.”
Uproar, social media exchange of fire, over Ooni’s handshake with Pete Edochie, KOK
The exchange of handshakes between veteran actors Pete Edochie and Kanayo O. Kanayo with Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyey Ogunwusi Enitan, has spurred a flurry of reactions on social media, The Nation, is reporting.
The paper, which reviewed the viral video shared on Thursday, where Edochie and Kanayo approached Ooni’s table at Elizabeth Jack Rich’s 40th birthday party on Tuesday and exchanged Igbo “cultural” handshakes with the monarch, acknowledged the different meanings being read into it.
Social media users on Twitter took to the comment section of the video with some knocking the actors for disrespecting the tradition by exchanging handshakes with the monarch, while others praised Ooni for showing respect to the Igbo culture.
Man of Letters said: “Igbakeji Oorisa?! It’s acceptable that he received the cross-culture respect handshake with Pete Edochie because the man Pete carry, but what’s his excuse for doing it with Kanayo O Kanayo??”
Kelvin Odanz said. “Is this ceremony holding in the Ooni palace? I mean, if an Igbo man (from a culture that doesn’t bow to another man) meets the Ooni in the UK for instance, is it disrespectful if he chooses to greet the respected Oba in a way he was brought up to respect dignitaries?”
Another user Onyemauchi tweeted: “This man supposed be King for him community”
Another tweep tracesorba wrote: “Igbos don’t bow down to any man, An evolved or wise man is their our own Chi.”