'Don't be distracted' -- Utomi charges new political movement after some members pulled out/ Utomi

A professor of political economy, Pat Utomi, has called on the National Consultative Front (NCF) not to lose its focus after some of its members recently pulled out of the group.

NVS had earlier reported how prominent members of the group including Femi Falana, Olisa Agbakoba, Shehu Sani and Umar Dangiwa, dissociated themselves from the group over non-consultation.

But in a statement to leaders of the group, Utomi urged them not to allow the development affect the founding dream of the movement.

The statement read: “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.

“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?”

Suggesting the way forward, he said: “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.

“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.”