Nigeria has quite a large number of political economists and management experts, however, if you choose to narrow down your list to those who have contributed this knowledge to national development, then it would almost certainly spot a name like Patrick Utomi. Pat Utomi (as he is more commonly known) has served in public offices, the private sector, as well as in the academia.
Patrick Okedinachi Utomi is a native of Ibusa in Delta State, but was born in Kaduna state on February 6, 1956. He had his early education in different missionary schools including St. Thomas, Kano, Our Lady of Fatima, Gusau, Christ the King College, Onitsha, and Loyola College, Ibadan.
Bright as he was, he was done with his secondary education at age 15. Due to age restrictions, he could not go on to the university immediately. He had to go attend the Federal School of Arts and Science, and later got admitted to the university when he turned 17.
At age 21, he had bagged a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He proceeded to the Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA and furthered his education to doctorate levels.
His public service career started shortly after his return to Nigeria from Indiana, USA. Within months, then vice-president Alex Ekwueme enlisted him to provide consultancy services on some public policy papers. Later, he was appointed by then-President Shehu Shagari as a Special Assistant, but this position was terminated after the military coup of December 1983 which ended the second republic.
Utomi then shifted his skills into the private sector. He went on to serve as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Utomapp Holdings Limited from 1984 to 1986, and also as the Assistant General Manager, Corporate Affairs, and later as Chief Operating Officer, Volkswagen Nigeria, Lagos between 1983 and 1993. All this while, he kept his interest in the academia alive. By 1996, he had become Scholar-in-Residence, American University, Washington DC, USA, and Research Associate at the Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
When the Lagos Business school started operating in 1991, he was a part of it and this was where he was later appointed Professor of Social and Political Economy Environment of Business and Entrepreneurship in 2003.
Utomi belongs to professional bodies such as the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Institute of Directors, IOD, Nigeria Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Economic Society, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria.
He established the Centre for Value in Leadership, and also coordinated the establishment of other civil society groups on good governance and accountability such as Transparency in Nigeria, the Concerned Professionals, the Restoration Group, etc. Other private sector associations where he has served include the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the National Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA).
He also once served as Vice-Chairman of the now-defunct Platinum-Habib Bank, and as Chairman of Poise Nigeria Limited. He is Chairman, BusinessDay Media Limited and creator of Patito’s Gang, a television talk show.
Pat Utomi is a columnist and has written several books and publications. He has also spoken at international conferences on issues around growth economics, comparative development, leadership, oil and China’s economic surge and growing influence in Africa. Utomi has collaborated several times with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, and Chatham House, in the UK.
He has written commissioned papers for the UK’s DFID, including the latest collaboration with colleagues from Oxford on the Political Economy of Growth in Nigeria (2006).
He has also expressed interest in elective political offices in Nigeria. He made an unsuccessful attempt at the Presidential position in 2011. Recently, he contested for the Gubernatorial position in Delta State at the All Progressive Congress (APC) ahead of the 2019 election, but the party factional politics got in the way of his ambition.
Pat Utomi is the recipient of a number of recognitions and awards. In 2018, he was honoured with other Top Nigerian Leaders as one of the Patrons of Arise O Nigeria at the 3rd Annual Arise O Nigeria Leadership Symposium & PAN Nigerian Humanitarian Awards.
He was the Vanguard Newspaper Nominated Entrepreneur of the year 1999, and the Nigerian Tribune named him Societal Role Model in its pioneer awards in 2011. Similarly, Utomi was recognized as a Lagos ICON during Lagos@50 celebrations (2017).
He has also received some recognitions from his alma mater, including the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Loyola College.