Professor Pat Utomi who is a Professor of Political Economy and a Management expert, pointed out the failings of the Nigerian government in a recent interview with Channels Television.
Despite his membership with the country’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), Professor Utomi opposed the present administration, stating that it has not been able to proffer solutions to the raging problems of the country.
“I think that the government is crippled; it is not connecting to the solution. If there is anything absent in Nigeria, it is leadership. At every level of our society, there is a failure of leadership. Leadership is about connecting to the soul of the people and giving everything sacrificially to lift it up.”
Going further, Utomi highlighted the failures of the nation’s political class and particularly it’s inability to conform to new realities because Nigeria lacks the type of politics that would enable the government to be responsive to the needs of her citizens.
He pointed to this failed political class as one of the several other factors which led to the emergence of the National Consultative Forum – a political group that he co-chairs, and then asserted that Nigeria’s present situation is not just based on the performance of a particular government, but what we have now is a national crisis.
In his words, “We have an existential crisis. The political class has failed Nigeria let’s be honest, and it includes all of us. I am part of them but I have fought always to make it different but you don’t always win.”
Utomi had previously lost the bid for governorship in Delta State during the 2019 general elections.
He expressed his worries concerning the structure of our political system which has prevented those who want to make a difference from being successfult, stating that there is no internal democracy with the various political parties because they have been turned into the “private properties of some people whose word is law”.
He described such individuals as people motivated by personal power, influence, and search for material resources, noting that their actions have prevented the country from running as it ought to.
Moving on to the respective roles of the executive and legislative arms of government, Professor Utomi accused the National Assembly of usurping the duties of the ministries.
According to him, “There is a total collapse of separation of powers and the legislature has taken over running the executive and the executive is complicit in allowing that to happen.”
“All the times I have been asked to analyse the budget in this country for the last 20 years, I don’t do so because the budget process in this country is a joke. Today, the House Committee Chair on appropriation is more important to a national budget than the Minister of Finance because this game that is played in the National Assembly means that what comes out is really the budget of the National Assembly, not of the executive branch and the executive branch has refused to engage the matter.”
He added that “What is going on today is a hijack of the executive functions by the legislature and for most of them, it is just a game.” According to the professor, some ministers have complained to him that the lawmakers run their budget and their ministries are being run from the National Assembly.
Conclusively, he calls for a constitutional reform that would primarily reduce the legislature to the citizen and part-time legislature.