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By Anayo Ezeugwu

Since the former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim officially declared his intention to contest for President under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his ambition is shockingly gaining momentum across the country. Some politicians and pressure groups from northern and southern parts of the country seem comfortable with Anyim’s desire to occupy the exalted position in the country.

Anyim’s ambition has become a factor to reckon since his declaration on October 31, 2021. Many Nigerians believed that Anyim is well equipped with impressive leadership experience as a former President of the Senate and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). But the former senator believed that the alleged marginalization of South-East people and the increasing demand of the region to produce the next president of the country is not enough to guarantee the region the presidential seat. Anyim is of the opinion that the region needs to persuade other regions to support Igbo presidency in 2023.

He encouraged the South-East to go ahead with the campaign for the presidency with an attitude of persuasion. Anyim said, “Is it right for the South-East to produce the next president? My answer is legally no, and the reason is that the constitution is clear. The constitution says every Nigerian of 40 years is entitled to aspire for that office. On the other side, morally, is it right? Is it an entitlement? I will say yes because the federal character principle enshrined in the constitution encourages rotation. “The reason I have to make this clarification is that when the right you have is not legal, the only approach and the instrument you have is persuasion.

So, the approach, the language will be to persuade others to see reason with you that morally they should support you to take a turn since it rotates. “I decided to contest the 2023 presidential election because I am a Nigerian politician who has been in government and who understands what the problems are and so can find solutions to them. I am also that Nigerian Politician that is at home in every part of the country – North, East, West and South.

“I aspire to be president of Nigeria because I believe that by my experience, what I know about Nigeria, my very deep knowledge of the country, I will be able to run an inclusive government that will build consensus, restore peace, refocus Nigeria and make the country a place that all of us will be proud of.

"So, I believe that the challenges of today are actually a matter of leadership and I will provide that leadership. I will give every segment of this country comfort. I will provide a leadership that will understand how to wield our diversities into an asset.” Apart from his political consultations in visiting several political stakeholders including former military heads of state, party leaders among others, Anyim has equally received endorsement from notable Igbo leaders and pressure groups across the country.

For instance, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has recommended the former Senate President as the next president of Nigeria of Igbo extraction. He described Anyim as a man whose public service credentials and experience are good enough for the Presidency of Nigeria.

The Governor stated this at his country home in Umuobiakwa, Obingwa Local Government Area of the state, when he received Anyim Ikpeazu assured him of his support as the next Nigerian President of South-East extraction, noting that what matters now is just for the Igbos to be given a chance to produce the next Nigerian President.

Ikpeazu said, “No other tribe in Nigeria has demonstrated practical belief in the Nigerian nation better than the Igbos as can be seen from the fact that our people live and invest heavily in every part of the country. In the South-East and indeed across the country today, the credentials of Senator Anyim stand very tall.”

Apart from Governor Ikpeazu, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe have joined other notable politicians from the South-East in endorsing the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation for president.

Wabara, who represented Abia South Senatorial Zone in the National Assembly, and Abaribe made this known while addressing South-East stakeholders during a civic reception organized by the Obingwa community to honour prominent Nigerians. In their separate reactions, Wabara described Anyim as one of the prominent Igbo men that has the capacity to change the ugly narrative of Nigeria and bring new hope for the people.

"Ndigbo still have qualified personalities in Nigeria. Anyim is the only Igbo man to announce his readiness to contest for President of Nigeria come 2023. We will tell Nigerians, that we have personalities in Igboland. I ask Ndigbo to support the ambition of our brother, Anyim Pius Anyim.” On his part, Senator Abaribe reaffirmed his stance to galvanize support for a president of Igbo extraction in the 2023 general election.

He declared his readiness to fully support the presidential ambition of Anyim. “My brother is the only one that has declared his intention to run for the office of the president, I will give him all the support because he has all it takes to make Nigeria better again. Therefore, I encourage all Nigerians to support this noble intention.”

Likewise, the Emir of Lafia, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon Sidi Bage, has recommended Anyim as a capable hand to solve the problems of Nigeria. Bage described Anyim as a Nostradamus who has seen and understood where Nigeria should be in future. Justice Bage, who spoke at the Awards/Honours Symposium organized by The Nigerian News to mark the 5th anniversary of the media outfit, said after listening to the former Senate President’s speech at an award ceremony in Lagos recently, he was left with no doubt that Anyim understood the problems of Nigeria and was capable of fixing them.

“He knows what Nigeria should be today and tomorrow. Let all Nigerians read that speech. He (Anyim) made me believe that we still have leaders into whose hands we can entrust Nigeria,” he said. Also, youths in Ebonyi State under the auspices of Ebonyi People’s Movement for Anyim (EPM) has also declared unflinching support for his presidential bid. The National President of EPM, Mr Obiya Sabastine, said the decision to support Chief Anyim was because of the former Senate President’s track record of excellence and integrity in public service. Obiya emphasized the need for all leaders of Igbo extraction to rally support for Chief Anyim whom he has garnered a lot of leadership experiences enough to get the country working again.

He announced the readiness of Ebonyi youths from all walks of life to work for the actualization of Chief Anyim’s presidential bid for the overall interest of the nation. He said this when he led his members to pay Christmas homage to the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) at his Ishiagu country home.

He said: “Today, the leadership and executive members of Ebonyi People’s Movement, a major support group of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi State, are here in their numbers in solidarity and total support to the presidential ambition of a foremost Nigerian patriotic leader, our father, political giant, game changer and the people’s advocate, Chief Senator Anyim Pius Anyim GCON; and I am delighted and honoured to be part of this movement. “As a responsible organisation, we felt that it is only appropriate to celebrate our own and further show to the world that we have the best presidential material that Nigeria ever needs in the person of Senator Chief Anyim Pius Anyim.

“Again, as a pro-democracy group, Ebonyi People’s Movement for Anyim Presidency is fundamentally attracted by the eminent qualities, enviable credentials and eloquent antecedents of Senator Anyim Pius Anyim that we resolved to adopt his presidential ambition as our project and we hereby declare that he becomes from today, the only presidential aspirant we shall work for and work within the forthcoming general election.” Apart from the EPM, a coalition of northern-based Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), has also endorsed Anyim for president.

The coalition under the umbrella of Arewa Concerned Civil Society Organizations of Nigeria (ACCSON) adopted Anyim as its presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections. The group in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem, said Anyim has full knowledge of governance from the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government. The group said Anyim presidency will engender justice, equity and fairness for the country. It stated that the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has accepted its request to contest for the presidential seat in the 2023 general elections. Consequently, the coalition urged all political parties in the country to zone their presidential ticket to the South-East for justice, equity and fairness.

It stated that Senator Anyim is the best man for the job for the region and the nation in general. “A symbol of National Unity has responded to our request to contest the 2023 presidency. To set the record straight, on 23rd of March 2021, over 30 Civil Society Organizations of Northern Extraction met at Mallam Aminu Kano Center for Democratic Research Mambayya House Kano State on way forward and the Unity of our nation. We x-rayed the current happenings, which includes unity in diversity, rotational presidency, insecurity, youth unemployment, youth inclusiveness in Governance among others.

“We realize that only two regions out of the six geo-political regions have not occupied either President or vice-President seats since 1999 till date, which is unfair and against any democratic standard worldwide. For instance, between 1999 and 2007 it was South-West and North-East, and between 2007 and 2015 it was between North-West, South-South and North- West while between 2015 till date it is between North-West and South-West. “The South-East, for instance, is part and parcel of the Nigerian project from day one till date and they should be treated fairly just like other zones of the country.

They too deserve to get what others have gotten because they have paid their dues in terms of contributions and consolidation of Nigeria. The region is being captured in all other sectors of the Nigerian economy based on the federal character from 1999 till date, but are denied either of the two positions mentioned earlier. “Going by the above facts it’s now clear to us as progressives that the political elites are against the unity of Nigeria. We the youths are the future and hope of the Nation as well as critical stakeholders in nation-building. In consideration of our population, we will henceforth cease to be spectators.

Rather we have decided to be part of the process of mobilizing and sensitizing youths from our region to get their voters to card to the point of telling them who to vote for during elections. “We will defend the unity of Nigeria, which is non-negotiable. For now, this is only achievable by a rotation of the presidency. You can also call these periodic power shifts. With the rotation of the presidency, we believe strongly that all these agitations for separation will stop not only in the south East but in other regions since the essence is to quench marginalization and promote unity, brotherhood and pan Nigerian sentiments.”

With the electioneering process beginning to gain momentum, it is yet to be seen how Senator Anyim would convince other chieftains of the party that are interested in the presidential ticket to support his ambition. Be that as it may, the coming weeks and months would determine how serious Anyim’s presidential ambition is. (source: new telegraph). NNL.

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