A Political Economist and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prof. Pat Utomi, has said that Nigeria risked a revolution if the attitude of the current political class did not change.
Utomi, who spoke with Sunday Telegraph in an exclusive interview in Lagos stated that it was unimaginable that while millions of Nigerians were languishing in poverty and substandard condition, politicians were nonchalant, busy living their lives as if nothing was wrong.
Utomi questioned the rationale behind plans to sink $1.5billion into the Port Harcourt Refinery, which he classified as already dead, adding that the APC did not fare any better in the governance of the country.
He said: “Unfortunately, democracy is not working in Nigeria and I know and can prove it everywhere that elections are a sham.
“All these things we call democracy are a bloody waste of everyone’s time because the individual who INEC announces has no effect on what the Nigerian people really want. So, we’re going to ask ourselves,
“What do we want?” On the possibility of a revolution, he said: “If nothing sensible happens, it (revolution) will happen. I mean, how can a country be run so poorly run as Nigeria is?
We have 33 per cent unemployment and politicians are still buying cars and doing the most stupid things ever. Those people will be killed on the streets of Nigeria. I am certain of it.”
He added: “My greatest concern for Nigeria is that instead of an organized revolution, we will have a descending anarchy, which has been predicted and written about.
There is a book written by Robert Kaplan called, ‘The Coming Anarchy.’ We believe that these guys will be smart enough to see it coming and will take proactive measures to prevent it but Nigerians are not smart enough because of the fundamental errors that occurred in 1999.”
He said that the failure of the intellectual class in 1999 to join politics was the root cause of the loss of the political platform to politicians and those without vision for a better Nigeria.
“We are all responsible for this because we thought that traditional politicians would return and seek glory through politics.
They (intellectuals) didn’t see it going anywhere. So, they remained in their homes until a gang of criminals emerged and took over the political space in 1999 and Nigeria is still hostage to them.
So, they will continue because they don’t know any better and it will happen unless someone saves us before then.”
On the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery for which the Federal Executive Council recently approved about $1.5 billion, Utomi said pumping such fund into it was akin to reviving a dead man.
“The refinery is dead. Let’s start with the basics – how much petrol do we need to refine in Nigeria? How many litres do we need? How much petrol will be used?
Ten years from now, I want to put it that 60 per cent of the cars in the world will not be using petrol.
Twenty years from now, what will happen? So, if you are going to invest $1.5 billion in anything that will not be used after 20 years from now, where are you going to recover the investment? That is the first logic that falls in your face. “Secondly, why invest N1.5 billion into it?
Why not sell it for other country for one naira and let them repair it and make sure they employ 10 per cent of people that have been working there?”
Utomi said that for Nigeria to do well going into the 2023 elections, there was the need for electoral reforms that would usher in proper democracy.
He said: “We must have electoral process reform. If people are not convinced that there is electoral reform, that there will be an election, that process is a waste of time because it is believed that election in Nigeria is a coup d’etat against the will of the people