19th March, 2022
The Big Tent Coalition of Political Parties, Civil Society Organisations, and Social Movements said Nigeria must move from politics of ‘big men’ to politics of big ideas and issues for greatness.
The group also said that Nigeria still has potential for greatness.
The coalition made this known at its Big Town Hall Meeting held physically and virtually on Saturday in Lagos.
The Convener, Prof Pat. Utomi, a former presidential candidate and political economist, said the existential challenges facing the country spurred some idea-driven leaders to begin to have meetings to restore the nation to its pride of place among the comity of nations.
Utomi, founder of Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) said: “We need a political class that adopts the simple life. Our country must be ready for this change.
“It must be a time of healing and building. Our country must be healed from the damage of our recent history. We must build afresh.
“It is a time we look through the windshield and not looking at the rear blue mirror most of the time, because in focusing on yesterday, we are getting away from tomorrow.
“What matters is that this country still has the potential for greatness. Nigeria is a country of enormous potential, yet it is being crippled by the kind of politics that we have.”
He said that Brazil, which initially looked hopeless, bounced back, built a new society, and came back to life by a repentant turned-around leader.
Utomi added: “If Brazil can come back to life, Nigeria surely will surely up again.
“To get Nigeria to rise up again, we must begin to remind ourselves that it is about what individuals can do to give to build a great new tomorrow for Nigeria not what about what can get.
“We have a duty of care to our country that we need to do something in response to this existential challenge that is facing us.”
Utomi said that the big issues before the coalition were the problem of poverty, unemployment, power failure, rising debts, energy, climate change among others.
Also speaking, Senior Pastor of the Trinity House Church, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, said it was time for all like-minds, idea-driven Nigerians, and humble elites to converge and chart a new path for the development of good and credible individuals for governance.
Ighodalo said: “We have spoken enough, it is time for Nigerians to move. We have complained enough, we are not complaining anymore. Nigeria is a great country.
“All we are looking for now are serious and sincere people who are really interested in Nigeria to come forward and offer themselves to play a role in whatever capacity.
“Some of us will run for offices, some will support, some will fund, finance, some will do the leg work. We will all work together.
“We must look for the right kind of people, wherever they are, they may not have money that doesn’t matter, let them come and be part of this new government in Nigeria.”
The cleric said that Nigerians must get it right in the 2023 general elections to build a country of everybody’s dream.
“The Year 2023 is very critical and Nigerians cannot afford to get it wrong. Every single sacrifice that we need to make individually and collectively to get it right, we must do it and get it right. Nigeria truly can be great. It has all the parameters to be great,” Ighodalo said.
Also, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, the 2015 President Candidate of the KOWA Party called for ideas to restore the nation to the path of greatness, saying there was a need to raise new thinking and consciousness of what a good government should be in Nigeria.
Sonaiya, who called for a database of Nigerian expertise, said that Nigeria had been suffering for keeping women back from political activities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that speakers drawn from local and diaspora for the town hall meeting include: Prof. Bayo Olukoshi, Prof. Leslye Obiorah, Prof Jibril Ibrahim, Prof.Ugo Nwokeji, Prof. Sam Guobadia, Dr. Muiz Banire, Sir Tola Mobolurin, Charles Orbih, Dare Dairo among others.
The theme of the town hall member is “The Path to Inclusive Progress-An Alternative Problem-Solving Track.