The Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi, says the biggest danger to Nigeria’s democracy is the overrating of government and politics.
Utomi said it was unfortunate that everything in the country had been reduced to politics, adding that true leadership required shaping cultures and initiating the right values.
He spoke on Monday during a programme organised by a group of youths under the aegis of YALI Network, at the US Consulate on the Victoria Island, Lagos.
The programme was organised to stimulate interest in good governance and the directions Nigeria should take from a youth perspective.
It also aimed at connecting young leaders in the economic and political space.
He said the reckless spending of the nation’s resources was responsible for the country’s economic woes.
Utomi said, “What has happened in Nigeria in the last four years has prevented the economy from growing due to foolish choices. Look at the excuse we are giving about the drop in oil price. Do you know what oil prices were when former President Olusegun Obasanjo came to power? We have learnt to spend recklessly without saving; they bought private jets and some people were stupid enough to buy three to show who they were.”
He added, “Leaders are not people who tar roads. Any moron can sign a cheque and ask Julius Berger to tar roads. Leadership is about shaping culture so that there is human progress. The kind of value you have as a country determines (your) economic performance. It is the leaders that will initiate those values.
“Everything in our country is reduced to politics. The biggest danger to Nigeria is the overrating of politics and government. I can actually prove with case studies that the government is more responsible for preventing progress in Nigeria than for making it happen. This is not because these men hate Nigeria.
“A man cannot give what he doesn’t have. They are working hard for the good of this country but systematically preventing good from taking place because of their limitations.”
Utomi said a developed country like the United States prospered because it encouraged entrepreneurs to grow the economy.
“Most countries are not making progress because they don’t have institutional arrangements; they do not make it easier for people with no money, power to emerge with their ideas that will destroy today’s dominant players.”