Prof. Pat Utomi, a governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta on Monday said Nigeria was not working because of over dependence on government.
Utomi, a renowned economist said this at the High Level Public-Private Sector Forum with the theme: “Democracy that Delivers”, organised by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Abuja.
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He said that governments at all levels were suffocating as most activities were too much centred on government.
“There is too much obsession with government and we need to get other ways out of this.
“The obsession with government has made everyone too dependent on government.
“We need some balancing so that development can take place in the country.
“This can be done especially when every family is business oreinted.”
Utomi challenged families to place more value on economy by establishing busineses that would empower them to stand on their own thereby leaning less on the government.
He said that way people would even be empowered economically to drive the political process of the nation because in other climes, businessmen sponsor politics.
Utomi said that ultimately there would be less tussle for elective positions and the rule of law would also be upheld.
According to him, democracy grows where there is respect for rule of law and organs of government.
He expressed worry about the conduct of most of those in high profile offices, saying that many of them did not have the capacity for the positions they were serving.
Utomi called for comprehensive profiles of politicians to enable political parties know the people they were saddling with responsibilities.
He said that this would keep the right people in the right places.
The Country Director of the IRI, Sentell Barnes said that political parties continued to fall short of responding to the needs of the citizens.
“Nigeria witnessed the first defeat of an incumbent party by the opposition party for a shift in power in 2015.
“In spite of this, political parties continue to fall short in responding to citizen’s needs and providing critical oversight and accountability of government action.
“Parties are not ideology based, instead they are influenced by wealthy individuals and elected executive office holders who fund party administration and usurp powers of party leaders.
“This trend prevents political parties from exercising their independence and truly representing the consensus within the political parties,”he said.
Barnes said that political parties had consistently neglected their role in generating ideas and policies that would be responsive to citizens’ priorities and concerns.
He added that there were many reasons for business men to have stake in operating within democratic institutions.
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He said that this was because free market itself was a key ingredient of democracy.
He said that unleashing the powers of individual entrepreneur in the market place to compete freely had been shown to be critical to a successful economy and to a healthy society.
The event was organised by NDI in collaboration with USAID, Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
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