BY TONY ICHEKU
Ahead the 2023 presidential election, aspirants are popping up from North, South, East and West, a normal for such very significant national election but when the going gets rough, the tough will get going.
It is not out of place to predict that close to the election, all eyes would be on the South-East geo-political zone to produce candidates that would fly the flags of the major political parties for 2023 election. This prediction is premised on equity, fair play, justice, and principles of zoning and rotation of sensitive political offices. It is in the nation’s interest just as it was in it’s interest to have the South-West produce the Presidency in 1999.
In the present 4th Republic, the South-West – Olusegun Obasanjo – had their turn at the presidency from 1999-2007. And the North-West with Muhammadu Buhari will by 2023 complete it’s two term.
From 2007-2015: It was a mix of the North-West and South-South being in office. The death on May 2010 of President Musa Yar’Adua paved way for his Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan to step into his shoes. In 2011, Jonathan ran for the office and won, but failed to get a second term in 2015.
Unarguably, Nigeria stands on a tripod: the Hausa-Fulani (North); Yoruba (South-West) and Igbo (South-East), and it will be an exercise in redundancy to argue where Nigeria’s President should come from in 2023. It is a settled and concluded matter that it is the turn of the South-East to produce Nigeria’s President in 2023.
This assertion is just, equitable and in tandem with the principles of zoning and rotation which attempts to ensure no part of the country is left behind in the sharing of leadership positions.
Indeed the quest of an Igbo to be Nigeria’s executive president is one that has been on the table since the country’s independence in 1960. The closest they came to realising that dream was the Shagari/Ekwueme pairing under the NPN in 1979, but the military coup of 1983 messed up that arrangement. Again in 1999, Alex Ekwueme as the founding father of the PDP and the leading figure in the agitation for return to democracy was well on his way to emerging President when the political godfathers reached the conclusion that it was the turn of the SW. Equity, fair-play, justice and unity of the Nigerian nation were the argument advanced to yield the Presidency by consensus to the SW.
Recall that the fabric of Nigeria’s unity came under severe pressure after the aborted June 12, 1993 presidential election in which MKO Abiola was coasting home as winner.
In the subsequent struggle to claim that victory, MKO’s wife, Kudirat was brutally assassinated and while in the custody of the military despots fighting for the same cause MKO himself died. Thus it was to compensate the Yoruba nation that the political class literally yielded the presidency to them and Olusegun Obasanjo and Olu Falae emerged as the presidential candidates of the two major political parties respectively PDP and then AD/APP.
The quest of the Igbos to produce the Presidency is thus justified from whatever point of view any would want to advance. At a point, the needling assault on this quest was that there is no Igbo politician with sufficient national clout to occupy the position. But finally he is here in the person of His Excellency, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, former Senate President, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.
From all the contenders for the Presidency, Senator Anyim stands not just shoulders taller, but like a collosus, with requisite national name recognition and connections
Nigeria today totters on the precipice, inclining towards disintegration, similar to it’s state in 1999, but much worse. Today separatist agitations spring from all sections of the country. Cries of marginalisation which used to echo from the SE is now the catchphrase from everywhere, including even the North that has held on to power more than any other part of Nigeria.
With such being the state of the country today, the Anyim Presidency holds monumental prospects as a healing balm for Nigeria. From the crowd of aspirants so far, Anyim stands kilometers ahead as a moral voice and symbol of excellent democratic leadership.
He is experienced and tested: Having trod the corridors of power, having mingled with the movers and shakers at the highest level, he will not be led by the hand to start Nigeria’s healing and restoration, nor would he indecisive about taking tough decisions.
As a stabilising factor in the Senate, he earned the respects of his colleagues by taking firm, pragmatic decisions.
What else stands in Anyim’s favour? Age. At a little above 60, he is still bubbling with vitality and strength needed for any who aspires to lead Nigeria – giant of the Black World. At that age, Anyim would be at home with the expectations of the teeming youths and the hopes of the senior citizens
As former Number 3 citizen, as former SGF, Anyim would hit the ground running.
Anyim says of his aspiration: “… I am running for the president in 2023,….to restore Nigeria to its past glories and bring peace, brotherly love to the people are my driving force”.
The Anyim Presidency is also kindling interests nationwide: From the North, a coalition of over 30 northern civil society organisations and youth groups under the umbrella of Arewa Concerned Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (ACCSON) has endorsed his presidential aspiration, and at a world press conference at the Arewa House, Kaduna, they adopted Anyim as their presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.
Also from the North, a powerful political movement, Nigerians Ask for Anyim, NA4A, also endorsed him as the best person for the job come 2023.
The eminent scholar, Prof Babs Sheriff Folarin says that he does not envy anyone that would want to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari because the individual must have the capacity and will power to deliver, not just a rabble rouser or the inexperienced. He told Sunday Sun that Senator Anyim possesses the finest credentials and requisite know-how required for the office.
Folarin said: “Among one of the eminently qualified persons of Igbo origin to lead Nigeria is Senator Pius Anyim. He’s been Senate President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and by extension a statesman who understands Nigeria.
“What more can you ask for? What better qualifications do you wish for in the president of Nigeria? He’s well educated and he has the requisite practical experience. And we should give the SE chance to make them feel like Nigerians”.
From the SE, the political class are confident Anyim has what it takes. According to former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara: “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″.
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.
“We will tell Nigerians, that we have personalities in Igboland. I ask Ndigbo to support the ambition of our brother, Anyim Pius Anyim.”
In his assessment, former Senate Minority Leader and current Senator, Enyi Abaribe declared his readiness to fully support the presidential ambition of Anyim: “My brother (Anyim) 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.”
All said and done Anyim himself sees his emergence as divine. “I see God showing the way forward in my aspirations. I am trusting wholly in God to see me through, and restore Nigeria”. Need we say more?