As more aspirants declare their ambition to replace President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa in 2023, Anyim, Pius Anyim, a former Senate president and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, has stepped up his consultations across the country.
At a time some critics were saying the Igbo were not serious about contesting for the presidency in 2023, he put that to rest and made good the Igbo claim to Nigeria’s hot seat. Showing visible organisation in his ambition, he has been very busy consulting stakeholders across the six geo-political zones of the country. He was the first PDP aspirant to declare his intention. He moved off the starting point when others were still in doubt where to, and how to begin.
He has a team. He has a plan. And they are working the plan. He began his consultations in the North in September, and by December, he has gone to the Southwest, Southsouth, and Southeast where he comes from. In each geo-political zone, he consulted the stakeholders and sold his ambition based on what he can offer the country. Last December, he briefed Southeast stakeholders on his ambition and his readiness. He asked for their buy-in and received their weighty endorsement. He was well received.
Zonal party stalwarts and five state PDP chairmen; senators Theodore Orji, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Obinna Ogba, Emma Nwaka, Chuka Utazi, Ali Odefa; PDP National Vice Chairman, Southeast; Mrs. Josephine Anenih; Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi, and Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu, were among the party chieftains in attendance.
In a communiqué read by Eze Duru Ihuoma, senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN, the Southeast PDP stakeholders endorsed Anyim’s ambition in “due cognizance of his previous record of distinguished and unblemished service as President of the Senate, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation.”
They also issued a 10-point resolution jointly signed by Theodore Orji, a senator and former governor of Abia State, chairman of the meeting, and Duru-Iheoma, a former chairman of PDP in Imo State. They affirmed that Ndigbo “have earned the right to occupy the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023 on account of their eminent qualifications and overwhelming contributions to the development of all parts of the federation through the years.”
They further argued that “the choice of a Southeast citizen as presidential candidate of the party in 2023 will guarantee to every Nigerian a sense of equity, justice, and inclusion in the management of the affairs of the nation. In our view, this is the best way of ensuring that we build a nation that leaves no one or group behind.
“On account of the foregoing, we congratulate Senator Anyim Pius Anyim for the patriotism of his decision to offer himself for national service by aspiring to contest in the 2023 Presidential race. We take due cognizance of his previous record of distinguished and unblemished service as President of the Senate, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation. In these positions, he distinguished himself as a detribalised statesman, consensus builder, and true nationalist.
“We, therefore, unanimously endorse his aspiration with all conviction and enthusiasm, and eagerly commend him to the rest of the nation as a worthy leader who will pilot the affairs of the nation towards greater security, unity, and prosperity for all citizens.”
Anyim says he has a considerable knowledge of Nigeria and understands the country’s diversities and current challenges, and has clear view of the needed solutions.
“Let me elaborate; as a young officer at the then Directorate of Social Mobilisation, I understood the need for value orientation as a tool for instilling patriotism. I was also schooled to appreciate the value of social justice, equity and fairness as building blocks for social harmony and inclusion.
“As a young politician, I imbibed the founding vision of the PDP as grassroots movement that would provide leadership that will respect the rule of law, ensure that power belongs to the people, and deliver national cohesion and inclusiveness through good governance. I have been privileged to understand our national problems and appreciate their enormity and peculiarities in the last 21 years from my vantage positions in both the legislative and the executive arms of government.
“Therefore, I have a clear view of the task ahead as well as the solutions needed to advance the cause of our country. My records as President of the Senate, and as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, clearly show that I am more interested in building strong institutions than seeking enhancement of personal power or position. My records show effective and efficient management of the nation’s diversity on the basis of equity, justice, fairness, and inclusiveness.
“I am a committed believer in the rule of law; and will always promote and protect the sanctity of lives as well as the rights and liberties of all citizens. My decision is a product of some years of prayers, reflections, and introspection on not just my capacity and preparedness to take on the task ahead, but also deep thoughts on our national challenges and the solutions they demand.”
Anyim says he is in the race because he is qualified, not because of zoning, though it would be fair to zone the presidency to the Southeast in 2023.
“I am not running because the party’s ticket will be zoned to my region. I have good knowledge of the country. I am not seeking to lead a region but the entire country. Whether zoning or no zoning, I will contest. I am contesting because I have something to offer to Nigerians. The two offices I served in the past are not the same. I’ve headed the parliament, but I have not headed the executive. I brought stability to the Senate; I want to bring stability to the country. If you want to see what I did as SGF, you can look at the Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency. I have a good knowledge of how to manage our diversity. I have acquired a lot of experience to run the affairs of the country.”
On his agenda for the youths, he says, “Whether we like it or not, the fourth generation jobs are here. Most jobs today will be history in the next few years. We are getting to the next quarter of the 21st century, and between 2026 and 2050, most of today’s jobs will be history. Knowledge economy will drive the economic direction.
“We will create start-up corridors for Nigerian youths to develop themselves, create jobs, and build up others. I will prepare Nigeria towards a definite direction which the world is heading to. We must move the country to the direction the world is going. The world is not waiting for Nigeria.”
On the fight against corruption, he says “The institutions should be allowed to do their work. For the institutions, we will put in place measures that will not allow corruption. By the time we deploy technology, where private sector drive every segment of our economic and national life, there is no way people will engage in corruption. People will have no option than to do their work without thinking about corruption.
“I was part of the people that made laws for the establishment of ICPC and EFCC. We will look at them and see how far they have gone. We will use a modern system that won’t allow a window for corruption.”
He also respects freedom of worship and a northern group, Coalition of Northern Supporters, led by Usman Sulaiman Shehu, has endorsed his aspiration.
Shehu, said the group, after analysing all the presidential aspirants, is convinced Anyim would give Nigeria the right leadership and take the country out of the woods.
“During one of our executive meetings held on the 26th December, 2021 here in Abuja, it was decided that our focus must be based on a single candidate from the Southeast; a person with high personality profile , a person who cares for the less-privileged, and the masses; a person whose vision is for the peaceful co-existence of Nigerian citizens as a whole, a person whose ample experience would enable him to raise the level of our country by means of curtailing the continuing hike of prices of goods and services.
“Other criteria are: a person who will provide employment opportunities to our teeming youths and women; a person who will dedicate his life for service to humanity; a person who will stabilize the fuel and power sectors of the economy; a person who will design means for affordable or free quality education.”
Having found Anyim to have these credentials, Shehu said on behalf of his group, “We wish to seek your approval sir, to commence consultations and to register lots of members in the north; your success is Nigeria’s success as well.”
Receiving the Coalition, Senator Anyim thanked them for their support and commitment to work for his victory.
Sam Amadi, a former chairman of the Nigerian Electricity and Regulatory Commission, NERC, a lawyer, and lecturer at the Baze University, Abuja, says Anyim is the best bet for the Igbo presidency in 2023.
“He has the political stature and personality that the Nigerian political dynamics can accommodate. In the present politics in Nigeria, he is South East’s best chance. If we are serious about Igbo presidency, we need to embrace Anyim and forget some of these daydreaming about our fanciful candidates.
“Senator Anyim Pius Anyim is Southeast’s best shot at the presidency…He has the political stature and the personality that Nigerian political dynamics can accommodate. In another politics, he may not be Southeast’s best chance but in the present politics in Nigeria, he is Southeast’s best chance.”
Recall that on Monday, January 31, Rochas Okoroacha, a serving senator, and former governor of Imo State, also declared his interest to run for the presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress. Similarly, Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State and vice presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general election, has declared his intention to run for the presidential slot if the party zones it to the Southeast.
So far, PDP has not been definite about zoning in the 2023 presidential election. It is scheming and waiting for the APC to make their decision and see how they can take advantage of that and return to power in 2023. Atiku Abubakar, former vice president; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, and Bukola Saraki, former Senate president, are northerners who have shown interest in vying for the position as well.
On the other hand, APC has zoned its presidential ticket to the South but throwing it open to the Southeast, South-south and Southwest to contest. Aspirants from the three zones are so far jostling for the sole ticket. It promises to be filled with high intrigues, horse trading, and treachery.