PROF. Pat Utomi is the presidential candidate of Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP). He’s also one of the strong advocates of social change.
ENCOMIUM Weekly ran into the two-time presidential hopeful at an event on Saturday, March 12, 2011, where he talked about his political aspiration as well as some issues facing the country.
How are you preparing for the forthcoming election?
It is very hard. It is by ensuring that the Nigerian people come to better understanding of the major issues that challenge the process of governance. We are disappointed that so far most of the candidates haven’t even begun to think about the issues, not to talk about discussing them. That is dangerous for our democracy. However, we will continue to define what the issues are from the channel of economy to the collapse of values in our society which is a very fundamental problem to infrastructure and education. So, we will continue to do that and expect that it is reflected on how Nigerians feel about the whole issue.
There are cases of bomb explosions all over the country and recently, out-right violence during campaigns. What is your reaction to these problems?
It’s a very sad experience. We should never have gotten to that point. We should see this as a process of engaging intelligently in discussions and resolving between conflicting ideas towards the common good of all. So, I think it’s a very sad thing that it is done the way it has been done.
What’s your assessment of INEC and Prof. Attahiru Jega so far?
That is for time to give us the room to evaluate. I think it is unfair to judge now. I think we need more time for this.
We learnt that INEC has gone to court to challenge some governors’ tenure elongation. What’s your stand on that?
I agree with INEC. People should not profit from their bad behaviours. I think if we have proper electoral law, annulment of the original election should be rigid to prevent them from running again because it shows that they were involved in electoral frauds.
What are we expecting from Pat Utomi’s presidency in2011?
The expectation is that it will be a government that is connected to the people in order to get rid of poverty and have the best interest of people as the fundamental focus of governance.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, March 22, 2011