A Professor of Political Economy, Prof. Pat Utomi, has lamented that a group of young military officers ‘class of 1996’ have literarily held Nigeria into a state of capture since 1966 and therefore called on eminent Nigerians to speak out to save the country from dying.He also admitted that the recession that had left the economy almost prostrate as was induced by the policies of government.
Speaking at the second edition of the Tunji Braithwaite symposium in Lagos yesterday, Utomi said Nigeria’s present economic crisis is completely self-inflicted and policy-induced recession.
The management expert, who said Nigeria had become more divided in the last few years than the time of the civil war because of bad leadership and poor economic policy, noted that since the civil war between 1967 and 1970, Nigeria had never been as divided as it has become in the last one year.
“The economic crisis and conflict we are facing in the country were completely selfinflicted; a policy-induced recession and yet people are not raising their voices on matters and challenges of now because they don’t want to be for or against the government; and they want to watch our country die. The time is now to wake up and speak the truth to people in power.”
Utomi, who was the chairman of the symposium organised in memory of Braithwaite, who was also the founder of Nigeria Advance Party (NAP), said: “We need to think about the subject of state capture; the capture of Nigerian state by a group of people. The subject of state capture is define by the class of 1966; a group of young military officers, who have held Nigeria literarily into a state of capture since 1966. The elements within this class have defined a little bit where our country should be going.”
Also speaking on the theme of the symposium ‘Nigeria in crisis: The imperative of a new socio-economic order,’ Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife and environmental activist, Ms Anniko Briggs, reinstated the call for restructuring of Nigeria and implementation of 2014 National Conference report.
Adebanjo, Ezeife and Brigss, who were delegates at the 2014 National Conference, said the implementation of the National Conference will address the various problems in the country, nothing that Nigeria would not progress without solving the National question and restructuring the country.
Adebanjo said there is leadership crisis in Nigeria because many people in leadership positions don’t know how to implements ideas that can move the country forward, adding that the solution to Nigeria’s problem is restructuring and constitutional change.
He said those against restructuring are mischievous. “Restructuring is for those who want Nigeria to be in peace. We must compel our leaders to know that unless we solve National question, there won’t be a way forward,” he said.
Ezeife said the military ruined the country having used religion, ethnicity and tribal-ism to destroy the country and therefore called for restructuring of the country to resolve all the problems militating against the growth and development of Nigeria.
The former Anambra governor, who proffered political and economy restructure and implementation of the 2014 National Conference as solution to Nigeria’s problem said the country should go back to regional government.
Briggs said Nigerians must work toward the implementation of the 2014 National Conference, which addressed the basic problems of Nigeria for every ethnic nationalities and regions in the country to live in peace.
A professor of Political Science and Director-General of the Electoral Institute of Independent National Electoral, Prof. Abubakar Momoh, while delivering the key note address, said the struggle of the 21st Century is waged along political and economy knowledge and therefore urged government to invest in education for development.
Also speaking, the founding National Secretary of National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr. Femi Aborishade, urged all Nigerians to rise up and defend the country democracy and called on Federal Government to reverse all privatisation policy, which he described as looting from the country’s common patrimony.