By ADEYEMI ADELEYE
LAGOS- The Prof. Pat Utomi led Big Tent Coalition of political parties and civil society groups for Obi-Datti, says it has held the first ever telethon on Nigeria television for political purpose.
The group, rooting for the Presidential ambition of the Labour Party Presidential Candidate, Mr Peter Obi and his running mate, Dr Yusuf Datti, said the telethon brought people of Nigeria from across the globe together on a televised 13- hours live programme to engage Nigerians on the agenda of the Obi-Datti movement.
In a statement by Mr Charles Odibo, Director of Media and Communications for the Big Tent, Utomi, at the event urged Nigerians “to own the new direction for Nigeria and fund it”.
Utomi advised the people to stop the situation of state not being able to function because some state governors who could not pay pensions would “go and borrow money and take half of the state’s budget from security account to pursue their political career interests.”
Utomi, who also used the occasion to unveil Obi-Datti Compassion Angels, said the group was one of his commitments in raising funds through the telethon to support Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps across Northern Nigeria with nutritious hot meals in this harmattan season.
He added: ” Nigeria is in the throes of unprecedented massive change, from a period of inactive citizenship to a period where citizens themselves are the ones creating political movements.
“We have reached a stage in the Nigerian society where we ask who are the citizens, who are the tribesmen, who are the idiots amongst us.
“It looks like a group of citizens decided that enough was enough in terms of how much progress Nigeria has made.
“The process needed to kick up a broad tent that will bring people together because they are human beings, into a better view of their world,” he said.
Utomi said that nothing could have facilitated the happenings more than the fact that as Peter Obi pointed out in his speech from Abakaliki, Ebonyi saying “The naked truth of our reality is that bread will not be sold differently for a Yoruba man than it will be sold to a Kanuri man.
“So, if there is going to be hunger it will get all of us. And guess what, there is hunger in the land,” he added.
Regretting the poverty index, Utomi, said that there was need for a new Nigeria under a new leadership to fix the country.
He urged Nigerian citizens to continue to rally behind the ObiDatti movement and “take back Nigeria.”
Highlighting the growth of the “Obidient” (followers of Obi) organic movement, Utomi, said,: “Labour Party and those who do not want to be partisan but wanted a new Nigeria which is possible, social movements, and labour unions, started to hold conversations.
“This led to an organic movement that has thrown up a Peter Obi candidacy to the pole position, such that every poll of seriousness that has been conducted has put this so-called outsider ahead of the traditional party candidates.”
Calling people to own the process, Utomi said: “And what a better way than a telethon in which you put your money where your mouths are to own this process.
“Own this new structure that will determine a new Nigeria in which pursuit of power is not for state capture but pursuit of power is for use of power to serve the greater good of the greater number of our people.”
Describing the telethon as engaging and entertaining, the professor said that it featured the likes of Onyeka Owenu, Tee Mac, and other promising young artistes.
He added that it also had deep-dive experts from the Policy Review and Future View team of the Big Tent also gave further insight into the seven-pronged agenda of the ObiDatti’s acclaimed Manifesto.
On the policy direction being proposed by Obi to strengthen the nation’s economy, Utomi said that two professors of economics from the Lagos Business School, Prof. Bongo Adi, and Associate Prof. Franklin Ngwu provided a brief summary of the manifesto on the economy.
He said the two professors spoke in terms of how to get the Nigerian economy working again.
According to him, viewers from across the globe who watched on Television and streamed on all social media platforms called in to ask questions which were answered by panellists, anchored by Utomi.
He said that, later, Obi joined them online and talked about his commitment to revamping education as a bedrock for sustainable development, and recalled how he revamped education as governor of Anambra during his eight – year tenure.
According to him, panellists at the day long Telethon included Dr Austin Nweze, Lead Director at Big Tent, Dr Chidi Okpaluba, a Director of the Big Tent Independent Campaign Council, Dr Ifeanyi Nzegwu of the Lagos Business School, Mr Soni Irabor, a renowned broadcaster.
Others were Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Dr Loretta Oduwa Ogboro-Okor, Dr Sam Amadi and Dr Jerry Okolo, who are experts in power amongst others. (NAN)