Big Tent for Obidatti holds inaugural televised fundraising event
The Professor Pat Utomi-led Big Tent coalition of political parties and civil society groups for ObiDatti has held the first telethon on Nigerian television for political purposes.
The initiative is geared at bringing Nigerians across the globe together on a televised 13-hour live programme to engage them on agenda of the ObiDatti movement.
In a statement yesterday by Charles Odibo, Director of Media and Communications for the Big Tent, Prof. Utomi urged Nigerians to own the new direction for the country and fund it.
He said it was time to put an end to the situation of states not being able to function because governors, who can’t pay pensions, borrow money, pocket half of the state’s budget and corner security votes to pursue their political aspirations.
The Big Tent convener also unveiled Obidatti Compassion Angels as one of his commitments in raising funds through the telethon to support Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps across Northern Nigeria with hot nutritious meals during the harmattan season.
Utomi said: “The country is in the throes of a revolution. Nigeria is in the throes of unprecedented massive change, from a period of inactive citizenship to a period where citizens themselves are the ones creating political movements.”
He noted that said when people make progress, they become citizens, adding that citizens are those, according to philosophers, who care about humanity.
The Professor of Political Economy went on: “What matters to them is the common good of all, not necessarily the primordial considerations. We have reached a stage in the Nigerian society where we ask who are the citizens, who are the tribesmen, who are the idiots amongst us.
“It looks like a group of citizens decided that enough was enough in terms of how much progress has Nigeria made and that process needs to kick up a broad tent that will bring people together to create a better view of their world.
“Nothing could have facilitated that happening more than the fact that as Peter Obi pointed out in his speech from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, the naked truth of our reality is that bread will not be sold differently for a Yoruba man than it would be sold to a Kanuri man. So, if there is going to be hunger, it will get all of us. And guess what, there is hunger in the land.
“Our own government agency recently indicated that 133 million of us live in multifaceted, multidimensional poverty. What happened is that we have leadership that could not exercise imagination. This is why a new Nigeria under a new leadership is important because we have fallen to the bottom, and are now saying enough is enough.”
Urging Nigerians to continue to rally behind the ObiDatti movement and “take back Nigeria,” he emphasised that “the point I have been making is that the structures of PDP and APC are such that they are incapable of leading Nigeria to a better way because the nature of the transactions in their structures is such that committed leaders cannot emerge from.”
On the policy direction being proposed by Obi to revive the nation’s comatose economy, two professors of economics from the Lagos Business School, Prof. Bongo Adi and Associate Prof. Franklin Ngwu, provided a brief summary of Obi’s manifesto in terms of how to get the Nigerian economy work again.
Adi observed: “What we have today is a renter system where, because it’s difficult to place Nigeria’s economy on the spectrum of economic models, which has created a misaligned economic system, the manifesto proposes to dismantle the structure of systems for all manner of subsidy, or rather rent seeking systems so that revenue will begin to flow back to the coffers of government.”
On his part, Ngwu stated: “To revive an economy, you have to look at three policy directions – the monetary policy, fiscal policy and supply side policies. Unfortunately, the fiscal policy side has been on the back seat.”
Viewers from across the globe, who watched on television and streamed on social media platforms called in to ask questions which were answered by panellists, anchored by Utomi, and later joined online by Obi, who talked about his commitment to revamping education as a bedrock for sustainable development, and recalled how he revived education as governor of Anambra State during his eight year tenure.
Panellists at the day-long telethon which ran from 10 am to 10 pm, included Dr. Austin Nweze, Lead Director at Big Tent, Dr. Chidi Okpaluba, a Director of the Big Tent Independent Campaign Council; Dr. Ifeanyi Nzegwu of the Lagos Business School; Mr. Soni Irabor, renowned broadcaster; Pastor Ituah Ighodalo; Dr. Loretta Oduwa Ogboro-Okor; Dr. Sam Amadi and Dr. Jerry Okolo, who are experts in power and David Hundeyin, investigative journalist.