by Lanre Oguntoyibo
The Scoop did a story shortly after the tweet and retweet which made the news this week. The story talked about how there seems to be an intense rivalry between Prof. Pat Utomi and Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
If you are not familiar with it, here’s the lowdown.
Utomi was one of those who heavily publicised the retweet by Mallam El-Rufai, which though was tweeted by Bukola Ogunyemi as a joke, and retweeted by El-Rufai, ostensibly in the same spirit, caused a lot of furore on and offline.
So The Scoop‘s Lanre Oguntoyibo sought him out to speak with him about that and a few other topical issues, including his relationship with El-Rufai, Reno Omokri, and his assessment of the administration.
Some of Utomi’s responses are surprising, to say the least. And in the coming days, The Scoop would do a fact check, as well as publish an interview with Mallam El-Rufai. For now, enjoy this.
The Scoop: We’ll like to know sir, the reason you used your considerable clout to publicize the Nasir Elrufai tweet on Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene?
Pat Utomi: So what am I expected to do? I should have joined in?
TS: Actually sir, insinuations are everywhere that you are not in talking terms with Mallam El-Rufai, and you both are having problems, how true is that assertion?
PU: That’s so incorrect. I think of him as a good friend not sure where that notion came from.
TS: That’s good to hear. You both are seen as leading figures in the Nigerian opposition. Is there any contact between you two of recent? Like exchanging phone calls, email, DM or even visiting?
PU: Last time I saw him, he said he knew someone we both know used my name to abuse him, so he chose to do something to catch my attention. I told him if I was in his position, I would call. He agreed and said he tried but knew I was often out of the country and gave me his new phone line.
We are so friendly, he was a guest speaker at my birthday 2 years ago, next week. And he’s on the board of advisers of our NGO CVL since its founding 10years ago. On twitter on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Dr. Zayyad, he said his uncle regarded me highly and that his uncle was, in Nasir’s words, was 1000% right.
The problems comes from disciples who do not bother to inform themselves correctly.
TS: What relationship do you have with Naijapundit?
PU: In what way? Someone asked for contribution of responses like most editors do. I do not have a share there and I do not know who owns it.
TS: What’s your relationship with special adviser to President Jonathan on new media, Reno Omokri?
PU: A certain gentleman well known to both Nasir and I and he worked for both of us. He has been associating with us but I am not into gossips. I know Reno back from his days in United States, he did some work for me and Nasir. I know many of you have issues with Reno. I’m of different hues and time and I like to stay above rivalries and such.
TS: What’s your position on the proposed merger between your party ACN, CPC and ANPP? Are you in support of the merger?
PU: I’m very much in support of the merger and pray for it for Nigeria’s sake.
TS: What’s your assessment of 2 years of Jonathan administration?
PU: It leaves much to be desired. Not sure where they are going. Sad that instead of digesting counsel like Oby Ekweseli’s they are becoming Abacha in mufti.
TS: Who will you be supporting in 2015? Will you support whoever the merger party produce?
PU: 2015 is a long way. There are those obsessed with power but I just want a better world. Citizenship imperative compel my engagement there.
TS: Thank You for your time sir. Do have a blissful day.
PU: Good chatting with you. Hope this will aid understanding. Bottom line is I’m just a simple guy trying to find a meaning in being.