PAT Utomi And Politics Of Bitterness
FOR many years, some of us, watching from the sidelines, took Utomi very seriously because of his knowledge and power of elocution. He identified with every progressive struggle prior to 1999 and pretended to be on the side of traumatized Nigerians who suffered untold hardship during the long years of military rule.
Today, the man is a shadow of his old self. He has not only lost popularity among broad-minded Nigerians, he has also compromised on those ideals that brought him respect and honor in those days. To imagine that Utomi supports the All Progressives Congress, APC, a party that has not only impoverished Nigerians but also supervises the daily killings of Nigerians and the on-going destruction of our hard-earned democracy is unthinkable. Now, he wants to be the governor of Delta State even when it is well known that he cannot win his ward in Umuadafe Quarters in Ibusa, where he hails from. His desperation for political power has become so evident that almost on a daily, he takes on people and institutions he considers obstacles to his inordinate ambition to govern Delta State even when he is not sure of APC ticket in the state.
What I have noticed lately is that Utomi is bitter and angry. Up till now, I still do not understand the basis of his anger and bitterness, especially towards people who mean well for him in Delta State.
Last Sunday (August 5) on Channels Television, he took on the amiable governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa who is re-inventing Delta State and rekindling hope in the people with his S.M.A.R.T. Agenda. He was particularly critical of the recently held 21st Confederation of African Athletics, CAA, which many within and outside Nigeria considered a huge success and a plus to Delta State. He took his bitterness to new heights when he called for a query to be served from Abuja on a sitting governor, elected by the people of Delta Sate. What an insult! I think most us actually overrated Utomi who by that singular statement exposed his undemocratic tendencies and ignorance on how government works, yet he wants to be governor of a vibrant state like Delta State.
For those who may not know, the Stephen Keshi Stadium, venue of the international sports fiesta was an abandoned project before Okowa became governor and decided to complete it as one of his signature projects. Today, that stadium and other laudable projects like the dualization of Cable Point Road, the Asaba Water Storm Project (designed to mitigate the perennial flood in Asaba), the on-going Okpanam-Asaba Road, the Modern Mechanic Village and some internal roads have given Asaba the necessary status of a state capital. No doubt, the gains from CAA will in no distant time, begin to manifest especially on the youth who were full of praises for the governor for accepting the hosting right and removing shame from the faces of Nigerians.
So, it is laughable for a supposed intellectual who is heavily criticized in Ibusa for being selfish and arrogant, to now turn around and condemn a government that is working assiduously to improve the welfare and wellbeing of the people in line with its prosperity for all Deltans.
Again, on 7 August, Utomi was in his elements as guest on Arise Television. He said Anambra State has overshadowed Delta State in virtually everything including infrastructure, development and quality of life, among other things with meagre allocation from the federal government. Unfortunately, his comments are unbecoming of a man who should know what the issues are, knowing full well that both states are different in many ways.
He even added that most roads in Delta State are impassable; a heresy if you ask me.
However, this is not the first time Utomi is flippantly attacking governors of the state, purely for selfish reasons. I recall his bitter battle with the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who accused him of hypocrisy and double-speak. According to the former governor, the all-knowing professor had promised to attract foreign investors in the ICT sector to invest in the Delta State’s fledgling ICT programme. Even though the wise professor was given all the necessary support by the then governor, the project was dead on arrival as it never took off. Talk, they say, is cheap.
Such is the trademark and unenviable record that trail Utomi and everything he touches. I remember that our dear brother, as Deputy Managing Director of Volkswagen of Nigeria was the undertaker that presided over the funeral of the German auto giant. Today, our loss is the gain of Rwanda, a fast-developing East African country that continues to teach fellow Africans how live without bitterness.
If Utomi continues with his invectives and anger against people who genuinely mean well for us, then he will not go far in politics, whether at the state and national levels. I would advise him to go and face the demons in his party who have vowed to frustrate his nomination, just as they did to his ministerial ambition. Among these hawks, Utomi is simply unelectable and this garment will continue to haunt him for as long as he remains in politics.