A professor of political economy and management expert, Pat Utomi, has said if the Igbo ask him to contest presidency in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, he would not have any problem with it.
He, however, stressed that he was not position-drunk, stressing that ‘office and power’ have very little attraction to him.
In an interview on Arise TV on Saturday, monitored by our correspondent, Utomi was asked if he would consider running for the 2023 polls as an Igbo candidate.
Responding, he said, “Igbo Candidacy? If people come to me and say, ‘Look! We have looked at your background. We have looked at your whole life of service and we think you are the candidate that the Igbo nation needs to offer to Nigeria, I would have no problem with that. But, am I driven by the very fact of position?
“Look, there are people who have been President in Nigeria, who if you give me their place in history; I would rather never have held any office in Nigeria than be what history would remember them as. So, the fact of office and power has very little attraction to me as a person but service to transform the lives of people matter to me.
“It is about the people. Honestly, it is not about people who would hire crowds to come and say, ‘These people have come to ask me to run.’ No. I have always seen service about people looking around them. Almost everything I have done in my life is to literally see it as a duty.”
Speaking about the political structure and electioneering process in the country, Utomi said, “Fundamental to the problem of politics is that it is believed that politics is fair game. You can cheat, lie and do anything that shows a lack of character, and they would call it politics. We must end that in Nigeria. People of character have to enter public life. This is part of the campaign that we have.
“Most times, we find people in public office who don’t have the capacity; people who haven’t developed themselves to provide that leadership.”
Utomi said come 2023, Nigeria needed leaders that would make sacrifices for the common good of all and not persons merely seeking to occupy positions.
He said, “We need leaders that we will turn to and say ‘make some sacrifice for the common good of all’ not ‘I need this position. I have to have to this position.’ That is what the challenge of our country is.
“For me, the titles don’t matter. I even created a set of values I termed ‘the LWT series’ which means ‘Leader Without Title’.”