A professor of political economy and former presidential aspirant, Pat Utomi, has explained why he stepped down and declared his support for former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi during the Labour Party (LP) presidential primary.
KEMI FILANI NEWS had reported that Obi defected to the Labour Party after dumping the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in pursuit of his presidential ambition.
Utomi said that his decision to give up his aspiration in favour of Obi was based on “a variety of factors” and show an example of leadership.
During an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, he said he has been seeking an “alternative and creative” political platform that will challenge the dominance of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and opposition PDP to usher in an era of credible leadership in Nigeria.
The 66-year-old politician said; “Having gotten that momentum going, somebody asked me, ‘you just woke up one morning and then gave it to somebody who just came from somewhere?’ I said no. You got to put more thought into this.
“First of all, it is going to need a remarkable level of work involving everybody for us to get to where we are hoping we can get to next year. People need to come together and one of the things I teach is that in finding how to overcome certain things, be the first to show an example.
“I thought that if I show an example by saying, ‘look, hey, it is not about me’ that people will learn something from it. So, that disposes me, first and foremost, of wanting to show the possibility with a personal example.”
Utomi further explained that his stepping down for Obi was in support of the clamour for Nigeria’s president of South-east extraction in 2023.
He added: “Secondly, we have all realised (that) in the politics of Nigeria, that there have been issues of justice, equity, fair play and all of that.
“Because many people think that there are people who are trying to dominate others. In line with this thinking, clearly is the fact that somebody who is Igbo, and of course, ultimately having to deal with certain kinds of issues from the South-east, will be the person that it is more just to probably end up in the presidency.
“Yes, I am Igbo, but Peter Obi is from the South-east and I felt it might get rid of this problem of South-east agitation (for the presidency) if we get somebody like him.”
“I have known Peter Obi for a long time. While he was governor, many times when he had big challenges, he would call me and say, ‘senior, what do you think?’ So, I know that he can listen and turn to people for advice.
“So, I felt comfortable, that he being the younger person with more energy, he should go forward, but we will work together.”