Utomi Shelves Presidential Ambition, Backs Shekarau
LAGOS, March 30, (THEWILL) - The Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) Presidential candidate, Professor Pat Utomi today withdrew from the 2011 presidential race 24 hours after participating in a presidential debate.
Utomi made the announcement during a news conference at the Colonadez Hotel in Ikoyi where he also endorsed the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential candidate, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau.
Speaking on Walking My Talk: A Cry For My Beloved Country, Utomi said those who could have voted for him should transfer the vote to Shekarau, telling his supporters that he would be sending a letter to INEC later in day withdrawing from the race.
He said: “I will be committing myself now to constitutional reforms and to building a new Nigeria. A month ago, I suggested I was rethinking how the spirit of service for the good of all could be deployed outside of partisan politics.
“Now in full view of the 2011 election campaign as failing to being our competing ideas for governance, I decided I would make a statement on my continuing participation in the process. As the 2011 elections cycle rolled around about a year and half ago, the last thought on my mind was to be candidate for ay office,” he said.
The SDMP presidential candidate said he was persuaded that offering a clear vision of a new Nigeria “will at the least result in having leaders committed to serving the people sacrificially. I was convinced that would move Nigeria away from the column of paradise deferred to new possibilities.
“When I met Late Chief Anthony Enahoro, I had been briefed about a movement to bring together the progressive opposition to form a united front to bring change about. The ideas began to circulate to bring the progressive together under one platform which was narrowed to SDMP, ACN, CPC and ANPP,” he said.
Utomi added that he entered the process with one goal of producing a formidable opposition which “has not worked hence his decision to quit. What was important was focus to have one single ticket and I was willing to step down to achieve that.
“To pretend that there will be change in Nigerian democracy is deceit. How can we pretend that we have a democracy? This is not a democracy,” he added, saying one of the challenges “to have a democracy is campaign finance reforms. Our country is not working and yet we cannot replace those who are failing the country.”
According to him, it is interesting that we use what Gowon did in 1966, bringing Nigeria’s best into one serious government. This will provide us a foundation to finding lasting democracy. Utomi said there was also need to re-invent the civil service adding that the quality of service we have today is nothing o write home about.
“Nigeria needs a citizen’s democracy,” Utomi further stated.