Prof. Pat Utomi, founder Centre For Value In Leadership (CVL), has said that Nigerian politicians are obsessed with power and positions as against purpose and service.
Utomi, former presidential candidate, made the remark on Saturday at the 80th birthday anniversary of Senator Ebenezer Ikeyina in Lagos, where he described the celebrant as a seasoned politician, who was part of a struggle to rejuvenate the nation’s democracy, but did not make noise about it.
He advised politicians to focus more on purpose, rather than personal glory that comes with it.
Reflecting on the ongoing tussle for the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), he stated that lawmakers should not occupy themselves with positions and power, rather they should consider purpose and service to the nation.
He said that many of the senators who served during Ikeyina’s regime did not come out as wealthy as the present senators, but they served the people with great heart.
Utomi, who maintained that the insecurity situation should be a source of worry to every Nigerian, said that the primary assignment of the state was protection of lives and property.
He said it was sad that in the past one year, Nigeria had been in a state of full blown civil war, pointing out that what was being seen was exactly what played out in a state of war where many people died on a daily basis.
He suggested that Nigeria should have a war cabinet and not a regular cabinet, because people could not pretend that it was not happening.
Elaborating on the sorry state of insecurity in Nigeria, he said: “It reminds me of what happened during the civil war in Nigeria, which I experienced it on two sides.
“I was in Biafra for a season and then I was in Nigeria for another season. When I left Biafra and came back to Lagos, then I was in a school in Ibadan. The war was one distant story, we did not know that anything was happening, but when I was in Biafra, I knew there was war.
“The same mindset is still in Nigeria. The people in the North East, North West and Middle Belt are in massive civil war. Someone in Lagos would be wondering what is happening to these people over there? That definitely is not the kind of country that we want to build.”
He noted that the country was not operating on merit, stressing that the people running the nation were not the right people to do so, adding that there was need to get something done urgently.