A political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Tuesday said that politicians from various parties were lobbying officials of the Labour Party with millions of naira to facilitate their defection before the presidential election scheduled for February 25.
While blaming politicians for the challenges confronting Nigeria, he said that the country had failed to build real political parties.
Utomi, convener of The Big-Tent, a coalition of political parties, social movements, and civil society organisations, in support of the presidential ambition of the LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi, stated these during the unveiling of the Independent Campaign Council Secretariat of TBT.
He said Nigerian youths that were tired of the terrible state of the country discovered Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, adding that the LP would focus on improving the lives of ordinary Nigerians, rather than serving the selfish interest of few powerful elites.
“The focus of power over purpose has led to transactions of nature where people don’t seem to matter. As we speak right now, some of those political parties have been paying millions and millions to Labour Party officials to decamp. But they still forget that what we need is a new Nigeria that our children can live in happily without insecurity,” he stated.
While accusing the All Progressives Congress of lacking ideology, Utomi said the party appeared to have only set out to grab power.
He assured that if elected, Obi would move Nigeria from a consuming nation to producing nation.
Utomi said, “Our country needs to be renewed. It is easy to blame anybody for the problems of Nigeria, but it’s time to forge ahead, look ahead and forget yesterday. The naked truth is that yesterday has been costly, extremely costly. The country that was bequeathed to us by our founding fathers was a great country of promise. I am fond of reminding people of 1960.
“Obi talks all the time about going from consumption to production. But we started in 1960 with production. I like to remind people all the time that our founding fathers looked at their endowments and realised that the main reason Nigeria was colonised was the extraction of raw materials to move to Europe. But the colonialists did not bother or try at all to industrialise Nigeria.
“Indeed, at the time of self-government, there were technically two factories in Nigeria. However, the pace with which the young men and women, who began to take charge in 1956/57, and the speed with which they moved us to production was unbelievable. I believe we can still achieve same form of transition.
“Central to the challenge of development that we have is our failure to build real political parties. I believe that was the beginning of the founding of the APC. In the founding of the APC, they focused on grabbing power over purpose which prevented a real political party from emerging and we’ve seen the damages that have done to Nigeria.”