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- ‘’I think our job as parents is to give our kids roots to grow and wings to fly.’’ — Deborah Norville
- ‘’The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.’’ — Gilbert K. Chesterton
- ‘’Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you’’ — Jackson Brown Jr.
THE EARLY NATIONALISTS AS ROLE MODELS: Those leaders of pre-independence Nigeria knew what they wanted and prepared very hard to locate themselves in strategic positions. History records them as having done well. They found their mission relatively easy to accomplish because they were very prepared psychologically, emotionally and educationally. Then, they moved further by pursuing their various goals with dedication and huge commitment. This piece is written to encourage our youths who surely require ROLE MODELLING at critical stages of their lives. Stepping into the shoes of geniuses and highly successful people commands and demands extra efforts. The present generation of young Nigerians is increasingly getting restive about political ambitions. These emerging leaders, usually referred to as: ‘’leaders of tomorrow’’ are in every sub-sector of our national life – family businesses, places of worship, and even in politics, a vocation that has lately been afflicted by effects of feverish struggles and ambition to replace incumbents. To succeed and make remarkable impressions, the personality being groomed must be prepared for the envisaged assignment. Failure to plan and understand the intricacies of the society and particularly organizations to be led, accounts for colossal failures.
Obafemi Awolowo in one of his publications stated that: “I will, more than ever before, subject myself to severe self- discipline. ‘’Only men who are masters of themselves become easily masters of others. ‘’Therefore, my thoughts, my tongue, and my actions shall be brought under strict control always.” He went further in his autobiography to assert that: “Those who desire to reach, and keep their places at the top in any calling, must be prepared to do so the hard way.”On his part, Nnamdi Azikiwe in his speech at his inauguration as Governor-General of Nigeria on 1st October, 1960 stated that: ‘’I hereby pledge solemnly to render faithful and loyal service to my country. As in the past, I shall not have consideration for personal comforts or safety or even life itself, if these are the price I must pay for leadership in order to preserve the freedom and unity of my country.
MENTORING: Mentoring is a very important phenomenon. The responsibility for leading Nigeria to greatness is gradually devolving to youths of today. This is why this piece is coming under family FAMILY VALUES because leaders of tomorrow have to realize the responsibilities they would shoulder early enough. We would be deceiving ourselves if we fail to agree that a lot of things have gotten rotten in the society and we must collaborate to put things right. TERRIFIC HEADLINES is a strong advocate of adopting proactive options, while also employing damage control measures. This is the essence of our campaign on FAMILY VALUES. Parenting is one of the hardest tasks as divinely ordered by God. Children are blessings from God. It is one task that is continuous until the whistle is blown in the fullness of time. Our ROLE MODELS of this edition are very bold personalities who are filled with the spirit of service to the society.
PROF. PATRICK UTOMI & PROF. (MRS) IFEOMA LINDA UTOMI: The resilience, courage, fortitude and scholarly disposition of the Obafemi Awolowos, Nnamdi Azikiwes and Tafawa Balewas were imbibed by younger elements like the Akin Mabogunjes, Adebayo Adedejis, Wole Soyinkas, Chinua Achebes, Chike Obis, the Ango Abdulahis and the Jubril Aminus. The next generation includes Prof. Patrick Okedinachi Utomi, popularly known as Pat Utomi, who is being featured today on account of family values and virtues as well as being classified alongside his wife, Prof (Mrs) Ifeoma Utomi, as a ROLE MODEL COUPLE. Ifeoma is a Consultant Orthodontist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. The society, particularly the younger generation, therefore, have the opportunity of learning about how a good marriage, combination of man and wife, and tenacity of purpose could aid success in life. We will focus more on Pat Utomi’s impressive credentials.
FULFILLING GOALS IN LIFE: PREPARATION: The focus today is largely on Prof Pat Utomi as an upward mobile professional who made it to the top relatively early in life; and also his marital partner, Dr. Ifeoma Utomi, an associate professor who is described as a very affable personality. Ifeoma Utomi is the Chairperson of the Board of the Centre for Values in Leadership while Pat Utomi as an ex-officio/Founder of the organization. I actually planned to do a piece on this couple and forgot that my friend of 55 years, (Omo Balogun) is Pat Utomi’s business partner. We have not met physically for a few years. Our telephone conversation lasted over 30 minutes during which we spoke on various issues including integrity, that has an inestimable value and how people these days assail the reputation of other professionals simply because they don’t believe you could have an independent mind. We noted that such people had grubby minds as they label people: ‘’Omo ABC’’; ‘’Omo XYZ’’ as if people are mechanical contraptions and robots that could be directed anyhow on account of bread and butter. Yet, other professionals are not stigmatised like media practitioners. We reasoned that legal practitioners collect briefs for PARTY A today, and move to PARTY B or PARTY C to collect briefs the following week. But they are not stigmatized. We noted that there are noble and honourable people in the information management arena. There could be bad eggs; but bad eggs abound in all professions and vocations, including politics.
REPUTATION/INTEGRITY: We lamented that foreigners now come into the country with the impression that all Nigerians have a price tag and could be bought. Nobody believes whatever you say because you are not a bootlicker of sycophant. Omo Balogun’s father was a reputable and unrepentant top Awolowo follower and leader in the Western Region House of Assembly; and a colleague of my late father. I wouldn’t unveil the friend known only by that tag to our professional colleagues. There is another piece in the making on another matter entirely that could unveil him. We remembered Dr Yemi Farounbi’s assertion in 1981, when he was moved from a prime station at the Nigerian Television Authority, Ibadan, where he was General Manager, to an obscure station in Akure, Ondo State; on account of perceived loyalty to an opposition political party.
Farounbi who stoutly encouraged professionalism in the station, no matter whichever side was affected said: ‘’Let them use power; we shall use courage’’ Those good old days, under Farounbi’s leadership, you could file in reports that were critical of the government in power that owned and funded the electronic media. Then go and enjoy yourself in the staff canteen. You would be backed by Farounbi in as much as your report was correct and done in good faith. I don’t know if that is still the trend. REMINISCENCES: Farounbi was rescued by the Old Oyo State government of Chief Bola Ige/Bisi Akande who graciously brought him back from Akure, as General Manager of an obscure NTA station, and gave him higher responsibilities and a free hand to coordinate the entire information machinery of government. That was 40 years ago.
How advanced are we from that era when God moved in Farounbi’s situation? He wasn’t after pecuniary gains. I have since known Uncle Yemi as a firm believer in God, who hardly lobbies for personal gains. If you speak the truth, you die; if not, you die. So, why not speak the truth? I remembered the period 1994-1999, a most turbulent period in our national life when I was Chief Press Secretary in Osun State. Security agents who were assigned to check protesters quietly urged them on from behind! That was because MKO Abiola who was in detention was still popular. We listened to Radio Kudirat together at night; though I never commented in our gathering of three or four people because they could have claimed to be doing their work of monitoring; and those weird days, you never knew who was working against you or your interests and get you arrested on trumped up charges. May there never be a repeat occurrence of that atrocious period. Glory be to God for moving one beyond that horrible period; though I served very loving officers who were like senior brothers to me, rather than bosses.
THE UTOMIS AS ROLE MODELS: There are several positive lessons that the younger generation could pick from this piece and choose to pattern their lives after those of several ROLE MODELS that abound in our society. It is important we also celebrate Ifeoma Utomi, ‘’the mother of the family’’ who has created enabling environment for hard work and mutual encouragement that have enabled Pat reach the pinnacle of his career, as they jointly build their home and businesses. Pat is also due for commendation for exceptionally supporting Ifeoma to operate as the ‘’mother of the home’’ in recognition of the female gender as pillars around which family units revolve; and as key agents that drive development.
MARRIAGE – I KNEW HE WAS GOING TO TREAT ME RIGHT – IFEOMA UTOMI: The Utomis believe that marriage is a covenant, not an agreement, with God as the third party. His spirit is one of love and sharing. Pat and Ifeoma met over 30 years ago when nobody knew that Pat would attain this height, though a personality with bright hopes. Ifeoma stuck to her man, oblivious of what the future had in stock for the pair. Only God determines the future. In an interview with Punch Newspapers when their marriage turned 31 years, Ifeoma Utomi stated that: ‘’One cannot determine how a man would turn out, only God knows. But from the period we started courting, I knew we had a future together and that he was somebody I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I was sure he was going to love me and treat me right’’ I always tell young ladies that they have to accept the package (man) they started out with. After you wed a man, whatever personality or character he displays in marriage, is yours. Women have to learn to deal with things. Marriage is about self-giving and being tolerant. It is about ‘us’ and not ‘I.’ Sometimes, we need to subsume our ambitions and ideals for the other person.’’
APPRECIATES HIS WIFE’S FEATURES PUBLICLY: A few weeks back, we published Chief (Mrs) Victoria Awomolo’s, SANs disclosure that her husband loves to showcase her everywhere they go. We commented that everybody loves to showcase beautiful products branded by God and specially made for their husbands. That is the case with Pat and Ifeoma who are most probably on honeymoon till today (Apologies to Daddy Enoch Adeboye who disclosed he has been on honeymoon with Mummy Folu Adeboye for about 53 years; and their love keeps on waxing strong) Reasonable people who know what they want would always get what they want. Pat wanted someone who would be his partner ‘’till death do us part’’ and has kept on celebrating the fact that they connected themselves naturally. On his 60th birthday 3 years ago, Pat Utomi, who is the only person licensed by God to make the revelation spoke about the beauty of his wife as evidenced by her features, while appreciating her at the reception. Every lady loves compliments, especially when it comes from the bottom of hearts. This is one way you could encourage your partners.
Marriage involves give and take. Partners give up so many things in order to satisfy their better halves. Pat regards Ifeoma as a gift from God and treats her in that manner. Ifeoma, on her part had to adjust to the life of the wife of a political aspirant. All couples disagree periodically because they are not God and must be infallible. But the Utomis don’t allow disagreements or misunderstandings to last long. They are resolved naturally within minutes. Pat appreciates his wife’s features, even in public speeches which means that she is still as pretty and valuable as she was over 30 years ago when they married.
I WOULD HAVE GONE TO MY VILLAGE IF I WANTED A WIFE CONFINED TO THE KITCHEN: To keep the flame of love burning, they go on romantic outings. Pat asserts that if the place of her wife was to be in the kitchen, he would have gone to the village to pick a wife and not a medical school. As much as possible, they both shun intolerance and quarrel over material things; while also keeping both joint and personal bank accounts. Ifeoma, in the interview under reference spoke about the values system and the cultural transition as issues that must not be allowed to hurt relationships. Her words: ‘’As there are human rights, there are also women’s rights. Our young ladies sometimes get emerged in these rights. In the past, we were brought up to be submissive. ‘’The whole ‘women’s right hype’ has brought about less tolerance and impatience. The term ‘equal right’ is affecting some homes negatively’’ That view of Ifeoma means that there must be balancing if the home must not crash because of importation of foreign cultures. Our country is not yet ripe for the situation of: ‘’Hey John or Mike, it is your turn to cook today’’ in spite of all those international statutes and regulations on Women. Indeed our women know what is right and it might not be in our generation that women would not submit to their husbands in Africa. The management of a home requires wisdom.
ABOUT PAT UTOMI – A HIGH FLYER: Pat Utomi, 63 years old graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1977. He later attended Indiana University, United States to further his education and finished with a Ph. D. Utomi, a Nigerian enthusiast established the Centre for Values in Leadership to create value for the Nigerian with a leader mindset. At the age of 27 years, Utomi was appointed Special Adviser to President Shehu Shagari. In 2003, he became a professor of Social and Political Economy at the Lagos Business School. He previously served as the Chief Operating Officer, Volkswagen Nigeria; Chairman, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) among others. A high flyer, Pat Utomi was appointed the Deputy Managing Director of Volkswagen of Nigeria at the age of 30 years. He was in that position until 1993.
POLITICAL PARASITES: Pat Utomi is recorded by the media as having very strong and controversial opinions; among these, his pronouncement when he contested for the All Progressives Congress’ governorship ticket in Delta State that. ‘’Politicians who spend more than twelve (12) years in public office are social parasites.“You should come out of your hard work, make a difference for four to eight years and go back to what you do. If it’s not like that for you, you are a parasite to society. The characters making it difficult to make progress are social parasites who call themselves politicians.” Utomi, while speaking on ARISE TV said: “I despise people who live on politics. I think that people who make a career in life based on politics are doing society a disservice. “I have said that nobody should hold public office for more than 12 consecutive years. You go from a commissioner to the governor, senator; you are a social parasite’’ “You should come out of your hard work, make a difference for four to eight years and go back to what you do. If it’s not like that for you, you are a parasite to society. The characters making it difficult to make progress are social parasites who call themselves politicians.”
THE DUTY TO LEAD – RICH MEN BELONG ONLY TO THE POLITICAL PARTY OF THOSE IN POWER – Pat Utomi, in one of his public speeches to groups of professionals with the foregoing caption challenged people for failing to speak truth to power: ‘’One critical leadership attribute is speaking truth. As a young graduate student in the policy sciences in the 1970’s I was much influenced by Aaron Wildavsky at the University of California, Berkely, who wrote the book ‘Speaking Truth to Power. This ties in with Maxwell and true leadership. It is not surprising, based on this that Nigeria is far from its potential because you seldom hear people, safe a few iconoclasts, speaking truth to power. We do not make desired progress because people who should tell them the truth consider truth too risky for their interests. This is so partly because of the obsession with the size of bank account in popular culture in today’s Nigeria. Rich men fear truth. They fear that being seen around truth will lead power to threaten either the money they made yesterday from questionable means, or block the more money that could come tomorrow even if it were from impeccable means. So, rich men belong only to the party of those in power, even though they pretend to be non-partisan. Those anxious for wealth also tend to sell off the interest of others to advance theirs, one of the opposites of the traits of effective leadership identified by Maxwell. This is why true leaders seldom aspire to great riches. I have innumerable examples from my personal experience.
WHY I HATED MONEY: Professionals who are content with just enough income for a decent life and are moved more by accomplishment than money hold the key to progress. They can more readily speak the truth. When my friend Ben Murray-Bruce asked me years ago why I hated money, pointing to those he believed I made wealthy, I told him it was by choice. To build a cadre of great entrepreneurs of wealth, who create jobs was bigger value than wealth that would blind me to truth. To explain that I wrote the book Business Angel as a Missionary showing case studies of some of the enterprises I contributed to their emergence. I was ‘not rich’ by choice because I saw greater meaning in the other mission even when I found nothing wrong with rich men.
ON CENTRE FOR VALUES IN LEADERSHIP: Official documents reveal that the organization CVL – At the heart of the CVL mission is the elevation of the dignity of the human person, beginning from Nigeria. The sense of a great duty and a big burden to improve the quality of life of young people in Nigeria, by building good values in them, led to the setting up of a Centre for Values in leadership. The idea is to provide young people tools that will improve their quality of life and drastically transform them, such that they become walking blessings to others.: ‘’CVL is a radical social enterprise passionately committed to raising self-sacrificing leaders, ready to take on the world. The guiding rule for us is: “Add value wherever you are”. We try to positively affect every sphere around us. What drives us is the passion to bequeath a legacy of service to our generation and coming ones. Hence, the slogan: CVL…A Legacy of Service.
DEDICATION IS A CHOICE; NOT A GIFT: Pre-independence political leaders had very broad horizons because they developed their intellect to be able to compete with just anybody in the world. They were matured in behaviour and practice as they moved the country to greater heights with increasing skills. None of them was 50 years old at the time they fought for Nigeria’s independence. Standards have fallen drastically. There are fears that these brilliant young ones could just come and go through the world like that without discovering their talents, creative abilities, missions and themselves these days of global information explosion. This is why the target audience for our social development campaign must pay greater emphasis to youth development.
Governments must provide the enabling environment, parents that have the God-given responsibility of bringing their children up must tighten their belts; schools, churches, mosques and other organizations with parental responsibilities must do more, civil society organizations, and the civil society combined have huge roles to play in developing and preparing leaders of tomorrow for the important task of governance. Whoever wishes to lead must be prepared to expand his frontiers of knowledge. This is because a leader must always be knowledgeable than the team she/he is leading. That earns leaders the respect of their subordinates.
PROFILE OF THE FOUNDER OF PROF PATRICK OKEDINACHI UTOMI DATE OF BIRTH: 6th February 1956: A fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria and founding Senior Faculty of the Lagos Business School -Pan African University, he was Director of The Centre For Applied Economics at the Lagos Business School. He has served in Senior positions in government, as an Adviser to the President of Nigeria; the Private Sector, as Chief Operating Officer for Volkswagen of Nigeria, and in academia. He is the author of several Management and Public Policy books including the Award Winning Managing Uncertainty: Competition and Strategy in Emerging Economies, 1998 and the 2006 book Why Nations are Poor.. His academic background covers a range from Policy Economics, Business Administration, and Political Science to Mass Communication. As an entrepreneur he has founded or co-founded companies that are active in fields including financial services, ICT, Media and Agriculture.
- Appointed Professor of Social and Political Economy Environment of Business, the pioneer Entrepreneurship teacher at Lagos Business School, has been a scholar-in-residence at the Harvard Business School and the American University in Washington DC. As leader of Civil Society, he is the founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership; The Widow Support Centre and the Concerned Professionals, which was bulwark against-military oppression, among numerous other social enterprise initiatives.He has served on the key apex private sector associations, including the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, The National Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA). He is active on the International speaking circuit, especially on the subjects of Growth Economics, Comparative Development Economics, Leadership, the Curse of Oil and China’s Economic surge and growing influence in Africa.
- He has collaborated fairly frequently with the center for strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington and Chatham House in the UK. He has also written commissioned papers for the UK’s DFID including the latest collaboration with Colleagues from Oxford on the Political Economy of growth in Nigeria. He is a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies (SAIS).
- He has studied and written about the Political economy of growth in Latin America and Asia, particularly Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Hong Kong, countries in which he is much traveled. Utomi who was voted one of the top 10 Nigerian Living Legends in the Vanguard Newspaper/Silver Bird Television poll in 2009.
- A multi-tasker, he has reached the top in several different endeavours, becoming one of Nigeria’s top managers in Manufacturing before his 33rd birthday, reaching a Presidential Advisory position at 27; earning two Master Degrees and a PhD at 26, a Professorship and global acknowledgement as a leading scholar in Business, Political Economy and Media Studies in his forties. His first publication in a refereed international journal appeared in 1981 in a European Journal, Gazette. He is perhaps the first candidate for President in Nigeria to be formally endorsed by such renowned scholars as the Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka and Prof Sam Aluko among others.
- Honored by so many Professional bodies as a distinguished fellow (including Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, the Institute of Directors (Nigeria) Institute of Strategic Management, Academy of Entrepreneurship Studies, and inducted into the Junior Achievement (Nigeria) Hall of Fame; and by the Senate of the University of Nigeria and Alumni of UNN ( ALOHA – A Lion of High Achievement) with a collection of more than 700 plaques that mark a life of service. He has been awarded the Hon.Doctor of Business Administration (DBA Honoris Causa) by the University of Nigeria in 2012.
- As a Business Angel he has helped found such companies as Linkserve (Nigeria’s first ISP), Socketworks (Pioneer e-government systems developer in Nigeria, and Business Day (Nigeria’s first daily business newspaper) He created the iconic LBS monthly executive briefing breakfast and hosted it for its first 10 years, and inspired the founding of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies of LBS (now EDC) after a 1996 visit to the Sole C Snyder Centre at Wharton, in Philadelphia. His other books include Critical Perspectives in Political Economy and Management; To Serve is to Live; Business Angel as a Missionary and four other books that are collections of his published opinions. He has written dozens of chapters in edited volumes. Conversations with him have also been published in books of interviews with Utomi.
- He has passionately pursued the building of a viable opposition political party in Nigeria and transparent, accountable government. He was candidate for President of Nigeria in 2007 and 2011.He is a man of faith and family who is widely traveled through all the continents of the world. He has visited more than eighty countries. (Source: Centre for Values in Leadership)
- Utomi P., Nigeria as an Economic Power House, Can it be Achieved in Robert P Rothberg (ed) Crafting the New Nigeria – Confronting the Challenges. Lynne Rienner Publishers Boulder Co. 2004 pg 125 – 138
- Utomi P. Nigeria “Changes as Prospects” in the Africa Competitiveness Report (ed) Jeffrey Sachs, World Economic Forum 2000
- Utomi P, Performance under Constraints. The Nigeria Press Under Military Rule. Gazette Vol 28 1982
- Utomi P, Historical – Philosophical Foundations of Government Ownership of Newspapers in Nigeria. Gazette vol 27 no 1 1981
- Utomi P, Values and Economic Stagnation in Africa: A Paradox of Poverty in Nigeria. The International Journal of AfricanStudies Vol. 3.2. Spring 2004
- Utomi P, Managing Uncertainty: Competition and Strategy in Emerging Economies. Ibadan. Spectrum Books 1998
- Utomi P, To Serve is to Live. Ibadan. Spectrum Books, 1999
- Utomi P, Critical Perspectives in Political Economy and Management, Ibadan. Spectrum Books, 2000
- Utomi P, Why Nations are Poor, Lagos. Business Day Books 2006
- Utomi P, Business Angel as a Missionary, London. Makeway Press, 2010
- Utomi P, Conscience: Opinions in the Struggle for Nation Building, Lagos Patike Book 1999
- Utomi P, Perspectives: Further Thoughts in the Quest for National Rebirth Patike Books, 2000.
- Edited Volumes of Interview with Pat Utomi. Golden Thoughts compiled by Godfrey Obioma Intec Press 2004.
- In the words of Pat Utomi edited by Uju Onyechere, Lagos. Benson Edwards Publications, 2003
- Pat Utomi: A Purpose driven life: Interviews of Pat Utomi by Godfrey Obioma
- The Duty to Lead: An article by Pat Utomi
- Contributor to 40 First Job: A book by Ukinebo Dare
- The Art of Leading: Open Secrets of Leadership Effectiveness. CVL/Makeway Press, 2015
- Keynotes speeches
- Keynote speaker at the Annual Conferences of the following:
- Nigerian Institute of Management
- Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors
- Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (4 times)
- Nigeria Institute of Public Relations
- Nigeria Institute of Marketing
- Law Society, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife
- Has been guest speaker at the annual Business Club meetings of the Africa Business Club at the Harvard Business School, Wharton, Kellogg School and the TedxEuston at the University of London. (Source: Centre for Values in Leadership)