Wednesday, July 20, 2022 1:14 pm
By Pat Utomi
I’m a Christian from Niger Delta, but most of the things I’ve ever achieved occurred through the help of non-Christians and non-Niger Deltans.
1. I was actually looking for a way to get a banking license for a wealthy Nigerian so I approached one Fulani prince whom I’ve never met before. After telling him my mission, he told me that I should register my own bank instead of being another person’s agent for registering banks. I was shocked, wondering how an ordinary me will be able to afford the process of owning a bank. The Fulani prince told me that I should not worry, that he will get me a banking license and even arrange for wealthy Nigerians to patronise me as a help for me without demanding for any kobo. That was how Platinum Bank came into being through the help of a northern Nigerian I never knew in my life
2. I was a young graduate during Shagari Adminstration when one man came to my residence in a massive car with escorts and told me that the powerful Yoruba Chief Bayo Kuku wanted to see me in his supermansion in Ikoyi. I got there and the great Chief Bayo Kuku told me that he has always read what I wrote on taxation policies and he had personally discussed me with Nigerian Vice President Alex Ekwueme. He proceeded to ask me how much I will receive if I was told to write a single position paper for Ekwueme on taxation policies. Then, the price of Volkswagen Beetle was N2,000 so I told Chief Bayo Kuku it will cost Ekwueme N2,000. Chief Bayo Kuku burst into laughter and said : “…so, all those your grammar is only worth the price of a Volkswagen Beetle…?”
Chief Bayo Kuku then opened a briefcase, brought out N10,000 cash (brand new Mercedes Benz was then sold for N5,000) and gave me to write just one position paper, even though I’ve never met him in my life, and he was not even from my tribe
3. Chief Bayo Kuku took me to Vice President Ekwueme, and within one week of knowing Ekwueme, I was shocked one day when Ekwueme told me : “…lest I forget, President Shagari read your position paper and insists on employing to replace the professor that left his administration…”
This was how I became an employee of the Nigerian President Shagari (a Muslim Fulani) without having met him before
4. When I was writing my PhD, I distributed my questionnaire as expected. One day, a man arrived in a big car with escorts and told me that his boss wanted to see me. I followed him and when we got to the boss, I was shocked to the marrow to see that the boss was the highly powerful Alhaji Alhaji. Alhaji Alhaji (a northern Muslim) told me that a fellow northern Emir read my questionnaire for my PhD and recommend that he, Alhaji Alhaji, employ me as his PA on financial matters. I couldn’t talk for almost 2 minutes because of the shock. You need to know how powerful Alhaji Alhaji was in those days
I’ve been helped by Yorubas and northern Nigerians particularly Fulanis far more than my own Niger Deltans. Don’t allow anybody to push you into ethnic hatred and religious bias because you only stand to lose, not gain, from it.
*Professor Pat Utomi, speaking to an audience in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria, on the 14th July, 2019*