PROFESSOR of Economics, Pat Utomi has said that over two million Nigerians have joined the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), noting the emergence of such “third force” was to save the nation from anarchy.
According to Utomi, who is a member of NIM, the growing number of Nigerians subscribing to the movement was evidence that Nigerians were dissatisfied at the state of things in the country and sought a platform to ventilate their frustrations.
Speaking with Tribune Online, he reiterated that the intent of the movement was not basically to transmute into a political party before the 2019 elections but to engender increased participation of Nigerians in electoral processes.
Utomi added that the intent of the movement was to promote inclusion by Nigerians in selecting the right leadership that determines the course of the country.
Recall that membership of the NIM, also known as third force initiative, includes Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Barrister Olisa Agbakoba, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Mr Fela Durotoye, Mr Donald Duke and Barrister Femi Falana.
“Many Nigerians are really frustrated and looking for something and if you don’t give them an avenue to pipe in their frustrations, what you could get is anarchy.
“Because of what we have put ourselves in, we are all fed up. So, the whole NIM message is that if you are fed up with the situation of things, become part of this movement.
“It’s up to Nigerians to decide whether NIM is this or that force. But the idea is that when the movement garners the kind of momentum it desires.
“So far, over two million Nigerians have gone on the Internet and everywhere and registered or identified with the movement.
“The idea is to create awareness and begin to get people to begin to register to vote because now they can see from the mess of the last twenty years that how people vote matters and what is at stake is the future of their children and their own wellbeing today.
“They can see the challenges around them created by the fact that we are not all engaged because leadership could have prevented some of the security problems we are having today.
“2019 election is the farthest from the intent of the movement. We are driving at a fundamental change in the nature of participation in politics in Nigeria. In many ways, it is akin to Adams Oshiomhole’s “One man, one vote” campaign when he was governor in Edo state.
“We are more focused on inclusion. For too long, many Nigerians, especially the more educated and professionals have looked at politics as the arena for rascals. So, they don’t register to vote, they don’t vote, therefore, and the next day, they begin to do analysis, complaining about what is wrong, when they allowed a miscreant to determine who would lead them.
“I don’t think that there is enough time before 2019 to create a new party that will win the election. We are always in a hurry in Nigeria. The objective is we want fundamental change.
“They can see why a few passionately committed enlightened people took such countries like Malaysia that had problems worse than ours to new levels. It is not a political party. The idea is that in the meantime, people should go from it into any of the parties they want to go into. But if they become convinced, after 2019, they are free to create a new party, if unable to change the existing parties,” Utomi said.
On the recent kidnap of school girls of Dapchi, Utomi urged the federal government to more seriously resolve the issue and warned against the politicisation of the matter.
“The whole thing is so painful and these are families that are being broken. I don’t think we should play politics with this or lose sensitivity. These are lives of young people, families that are hurting.
“It is important to respect the privacy of those people and work as hard as possible to ensure that the matter is done in such a way that brings relief to these families,” Utomi said.