Abiodun OBA

 

The hardship Nigerians are going through has been blamed on the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Former presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Pat Utomi, stated this on Sunday while appearing on “Politics Today” a programme on Channels Television.

The Don said Nigerians have been duped by the nation’s two dominant parties in their quest for a good government to cater for them.

Drawing from the economic and social figures released by local and foreign organisations over the years, the professor of political economy, argued that there may not be any difference if the ruling APC and the PDP remained people’s choices in subsequent polls.

“With high expectations, the APC was voted into power in 2015 after 16 years of the PDP rule. But six years down the line, some Nigerians believe not much has changed.

Mr Utomi lamented the gradual slide of Nigeria into collapse with little or no effort from a government that promised to fight corruption to a standstill.

“Did you see the numbers just this week on leakages out of OECD figures about corruption in West Africa? You don’t even have to try. You can see it every day.

“You know, what pains me is that many of us threw everything we had into this business because we thought we’re going to create an anti-corruption regime. We ended up with a more corrupt regime than I think we have ever had in Nigeria. I can prove it. I can bring you the numbers from everywhere OECD reports and so on,” Mr Utomi noted.

With an emphasis on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, Mr Utomi, a member of the Third Force Movement, which seeks to reposition Nigeria, said the country has not really been governed with a sense of direction.

“Nigeria is not being governed. And if you look and listen to the conversation that you’ve been having, it shows you the tragedy of the fact that it’s a triumph of politics. Nigerian people are hardly in these conversations. Political parties don’t have programmes, they don’t have exactly a direction to make a difference in people’s lives that they have set up.

“In that kind of situation. You can only get what we have today in Nigeria. Now, for the avoidance of doubt, whether it’s PDP, APC, the truth of the matter is this is the most miserable place to live on Earth today. All the statistics say so,” he said.

Mr Utomi, who was announced last week as President of the Shadow Cabinet set up by the National Consultative Front (NCFront), questioned the constant exchange of blame by the APC and PDP rather than policies for national growth.

He challenged both parties to start addressing the issue of the collapse of culture and moral standards among its members.

Given the prevalent realities of the country backed by indices and statistics, he also accused Nigeria’s political class of lack of empathy.

With instances of the Roll Back Malaria Programme and the drastic cut of government officials expenses during Mr Obasanjo’s tenure, Mr Utomi extolled the leadership prowess of the former military cum civilian leader.

“If they had empathy, you would see, look, all these numbers that we are throwing out about the poverty rates; if politicians running Nigeria are politicians, they would respond in terms of their behaviour, to the fact that poverty is the number one thing ruling Nigeria.

“But look at the motorcades of governors. Look at their presidential jets as they fly around the plane. It shows that there is a complete disconnect between the political class and the people and the pain that people suffer.

“Look, President Obasanjo, as military head of state when oil prices came down, he says look, we’re going to cut our coat according to our clothes not according to our size. And he comes down as president to Peugeot 504 and that’s what he rode as president of Nigeria and everybody else was Peugeot 504 and below,” he said.

 

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