Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy, has asked the National Consultative Front (NCF), a new political movement, to “focus on its duty” rather than lament over those who dissociated themselves from the group.
The NCF was unveiled on Wedenesday but less than 48 hours after, at least four of those listed as members distanced themselves from the group, saying they were not consulted during its formation.
Femi Falana and Olisa Agbakoba, senior lawyers, Umar Dangiwa, former governor of Kaduna state, and Shehu Sani, all said they were not part of the group.
But in a statement addressed to the leaders of NCF, Utomi asked them not to apportion blames over what went wrong but concentrate on the task ahead.
“There are times in the life of an organization or community when leaders, either from the bites of experience, or anxiety about uncertainty, hold back from a move whose moment has come. But followers jump at the appearance of some stimuli and all wake up and find that the Gini is out of the bottle,” the statement read.
“Most of the time that this has happened in history, the litmus test has been how quickly the leaders shake off weariness and regain their stride.
“I have a feeling we may be at such a moment in these 48 hours since the communique of the meetings of this group ended up in the public domain. We have the option to spend time lamenting who did what wrong or rise to the call of duty. For me, the true test of leadership is in how we read the moment and respond. The outing of the Gini may not be to our timing preference but a country is out there waiting to be saved. Duty must beckon. How do we move forward?”
Utomi said the NCF should focus on critical issues that will generate the needed change in the country.
He identified some areas of focus to include decentralisation, selfless service among political leaders, accountability, and the creation of a national and subnational economic development strategy.
“We must be clear that this is First a movement. It must first put forward critical agenda issues for change and embark on massive grassroots education, and Media proselytization of people with our people on the stump armed with clear and agreed talking points,” he said.
“Next would be meetings of influence circles in every hamlet area and corporate suites to determine what the people want and orient them.
“Among the burning issues for me are; the structure of the federation with the principle of decentralization or subsidiarity as motive force. A code of ethics and conduct for political actors with emphasis on selfless service and the agency function of the politician requiring strict accountability to the electorate and the most prudent use of public resources. The culture of politics as rational public conversation with civility and the upholding of the dignity of participants needs to be enthroned as an essential of our democratic tradition.
“Extreme partisanship, use of fake news and demeaning characterization of opponents need then be frowned on, in the convention of public life.”
He added that the next NCF meeting should focus on launching a political movement for Nigerians interested in being a part of it.