My aspiration is to be one of the builders of a world of equality, a world where diversity is respected and value for people's lives is paramount. A world where religion and culture are not used as weapons of dispute and destruction, where leaders serve and not steal, where everyone does not pretend to love each other but does so straight from the heart.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Interview Thursday: "Nigeria is crippled by a crisis of values and weak institutions" Pat Utomi
His immense contribution to development stands him out, his tiredless effort in seeing a better Nigeria makes him a force to reckon with. His TV program Patito's gang is used as an avenue to address different development issues and I commend him for such an initiative. He has added to his caps of developments by getting his own very blog. Pat Utomi is a blogger! I had lunch with him in the beginning of August with Poeticallytinted in attendance I wished we have an eloquent, focused and transformational individual like him to lead this country. I delightfully welcome PU on Interview Thursday!
Who is Pat Utomi?
I am a teacher. Forget the garnishings. I am basically a person commited to traditional notions of a teacher as transmitter of knowledge and values that can help lift the dignity of the human person.I have found many platforms for performing this traditional chore; in the classroom, in tv studios, as a so called public intellectual, newspaper columnist, a sort-of patron saint of young entrepreneurs so I can show thought can work in action; as manager traversing the nexus of idedas and praxis and as man of family, among others. My antecedents are very Pan-Nigerian; born in Kaduna on 6/2/56 with primary education in several cities of the North, secondary education in Ibadanin the Southwest and University and marriage into the southeast with origins of parents and by the Nigerian waya persorn from the SouthSouth.
Tell us about your family?
I have a fun family 'led' by a wife who looks half her age as the age range of our children go from nearly 24 to 8.My wife is a Consultant Orthodontist and senior faculty member of the College of Medicine at the University of Lagos where we met as she was finishing her studies 27 years ago. Two of our children have graduated and the others are coming along by God's Grace.
What do you think as a lasting solution to the Naija Delta crisis?
It is not as difficult as it appears. A formal acceptance that historical injustice has been done is a good first step. It has no monetary coost and can go a long way to soothe nerves. If we acknowledge that the principles of Federalism that was the basis on which the Founding Fathers agreed to a Nigeria project and that it was sidetracked because Oil was found inareas dominated by ethnic minorities, and then show sincerity in putting in place compensatory economic intiatives that provide opporunities for the majority in the region through infrastructure, business developent etc., the people will begin to focus on the path to tapping into opportunities in the region rather than destroying things. Trust is a critical element here, given the long experience of dishonesty. It can be built with contiuous posit deposits into the emotional bank account as Stephen R Covey would call it. A Lagos-Calabar rail link, the East-West Coastal highway and a few entrepremeurship extension service programmes with such support as Shell implement elsewhere as Lifewire will bring the region alive.
You will be running for presidency in 2011, I will like to know the 5 important projects you will focus on in office?
Five projects I will focus on as President. Infrastructure like rail, power and roads are important and must receive attention. But they are not the central or core keys to progress. Nigeria is crippled by a crisis of values and weak institutions. The peg is of a competent leader who earns Moral Authority through share force of personal example with the rule of law, modesty of conduct and primacy of service to the people and accountability as the hooks. IF THESE DISPOSITIONS ARE IN PLACE EVERYTHING ELSE WILL COME. It is like the passage from the good book; seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added on to you. The Singapore story is about such personal example in shaping culture and even if Ramgoolan may not be as celebrated for his work in Mauuritius as lee Kwan you it is more or less the same business of leaderhip shaping culture.