Presidential Poll: Pat Utomi breaks silence on being ‘used’ by Tinubu to scuttle Atiku, Peter Obi’s emergence
Renowned economist and chieftain of the Labour Party, Prof. Pat Utomi has denied claims that Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, used him to orchestrate the emergence of Peter Obi, LP presidential candidate in the February 25 election.
Utomi was reacting to the statement credited to the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Oyo State, Tawfiq Akinwale.
NewsClick Nigeria gathered that Akinwale, on Wednesday, May 24, revealed in an interview that Tinubu asked Prof. Utomi to step down for Peter Obi in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.
Akinwale while he appeared as a guest on a radio programme on 101.7 YES FM, Ibadan, Oyo State, alleged that Obi received campaign funds from Utomi, whom he described as Tinubu’s “son.”
“In the buildup to the 2023 elections, Obi who had purchased the nomination form of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), suddenly announced his exit from the party.
“Initially, Pat Utomi had secured the LP’s presidential ticket, but when Peter Obi said he resigned from the PDP and joined the LP. Bola Tinubu, a master political strategist, quickly told Utomi, that everyone knows to be his son to step down for Obi.
“The “president-elect” saw in Obi’s presidential bid, a good chance to reduce the winning chances of the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
“What Peter Obi didn’t know is much more than what he knows, he started collecting campaign funds from Utomi, while Tinubu was giving the money to Utomi.
“This went on until Obi’s presidential campaign got to a stage it went beyond target. Obi was used without him knowing,” Akinwale said after announcing his departure from the party.
In a swift reaction, Utomi in a series of tweets via his Twitter account on Friday, described the allegations as disinformation, and said there was no foul play, and that members of the public funded the campaign.
“Truly if any flow from BAT came to me, I would quickly withdraw money I spent at his urging in 2007 paid to an international PR agency for an Orange revolution-type campaign to stop 3rd term but not refunded.
“Details are in the book I wrote 4 years ago. It would have helped my cash flow.
“As for funding PO, I cannot but be amazed at this disinformation.
“The outpouring of resources of citizens in support groups and PO’s prudent draw on his own purse was so humbling I even turned to ODs to fund my own activities in support of the campaign for faith in saving Nigeria.
“I entered the 2023 campaigns to build a Third Force to break the race to the bottom and press a reset knob for Nigeria. Stayed elevated with issues and denounced calumnies. Yet some have waged disinformation and calumny campaigns aimed at me.”