Professor of Political Economy and Founder of Centre for Values and Leadership, Pat Utomi says that the government is more responsible for hindering progress in the country because there are no “institutional arrangements” to encourage startups.
He made the statement on Monday at an event organised by the Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI Network at the U.S Consulate in Lagos.
Utomi noted that one of Nigeria’s biggest problems is overrating government and politics, adding that the reckless spending of the nation’s resources was responsible for the country’s economic woes.
He said leadership is not about constructing roads, but about shaping culture so that there is human progress.
“What has happened in Nigeria in the last four years has prevented the economy from growing due to foolish choices. Look at the excuse we are giving about the drop in oil price. Do you know what oil prices were when former President Olusegun Obasanjo came to power? We have learnt to spend recklessly without saving; they bought private jets and some people were stupid enough to buy three to show who they were.
Leaders are not people who tar roads. Any moron can sign a cheque and ask Julius Berger to tar roads. Leadership is about shaping culture so that there is human progress. The kind of value you have as a country determines (your) economic performance. It is the leaders that will initiate those values.
Everything in our country is reduced to politics. The biggest danger to Nigeria is the overrating of politics and government. I can actually prove with case studies that the government is more responsible for preventing progress in Nigeria than for making it happen. This is not because these men hate Nigeria.
A man cannot give what he doesn’t have. They are working hard for the good of this country but systematically preventing good from taking place because of their limitations.
Most countries are not making progress because they don’t have institutional arrangements; they do not make it easier for people with no money, power to emerge with their ideas that will destroy today’s dominant players,” Utomi said.