Anyim Pius Anyim
Ishiagu in Ebonyi State is getting hot again. It was like that from around 2002 to about 2003 when Senator Anyim Pius Anyim held sway as Senate president, when there was intense rivalry between him and his estranged friend and then governor of the state, Dr. Sam Egwu. Anyim was Senate president from 2001 to 2003. Each time Anyim was coming home to Ishiagu, he would come with a lorry load of mobile policemen from Abuja to demonstrate his political muscle in the state. Not just Ishiagu, the entire state was so tense that many governors wished they never had a Senate president from their domain and in fact lobbied the ruling party (PDP) to trade away the positions of Senate president and House of Representatives Speaker from their states. Now, a similar scenario is playing out again in Ishiagu, this time between the same Anyim and the state Commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Poverty Reduction, James Aro Nweke, a former state House of Assembly member. The supremacy battle came to the fore at last week’s Ishiagu Community Development Union (ICDU) election. Truth is Anyim has been having a running battle with Nweke over the control of the political structure in the community. Nweke’s rating was said to have soared when his candidate defeated Anyim’s in the chairmanship election in Ivo local council in 2010. That was when Anyim was in political Siberia, having lost out in Ebonyi politics since he left as Senate President in 2003. He could not have dreamt re-election with Egwu and President Olusegun Obasanjo, as he then was, still around. So last week’s ICDU election was an opportunity for Anyim to show his new-found political muscle. Soldiers, SSS operatives and policemen all flooded Ishiagu for the election. The election held while the state Governor Martin Elechi was out of the country. It, however, produced two parallel executives. But some are asking why Ishiagu again, why Anyim again? They forget that Anyim as Secretary to the Government of the Federation is back. He is back at the centre.
If the January Subsidy Protest Was Sponsored, Why Did President Jonathan Heed The Protesters’ Call?
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, accused President Jonathan of suffering from “a bad conscience” following the President’s declaration that last January’s anti-fuel subsidy removal protest was sponsored. The President had said during the 52th independence anniversary lecture in Abuja that the protest was manipulated by an unnamed class of people. He said Occupy Nigeria as the mass protest was dubbed was not a true reflection of the position of the masses but that of those who sponsored them. The protest began as a spontaneous reaction from Nigerians exasperated by a sudden removal of the fuel subsidy by the Federal Government even when the people were celebrating Christmas and the New Year 2012. Nigerians woke up to a 100 per cent increase in fuel price following the removal of the subsidy. The protest began under the auspices of civil society groups, but it would appear that opposition parties later hijacked it to start making political demands, with some of them calling on the Jonathan government to resign. I recall that it was at that point that the labour groups moved to halt the protest by reaching a truce with the government. I recall also that one notable labour leader told me that they had to agree to the N97 per litre compromise price because at that point the government was ready to do anything to curtail the protest. Claiming therefore that the protest was sponsored as the President had done showed clearly that Mr. President failed to properly read the pulse of the people. But my point, however, is if President Jonathan believes the protest was sponsored by those he did not name, how come he hearkened to the voices of the ‘sponsored’ by lowering the pump price of petrol, which went as far as N140 when the subsidy was suddenly removed, to N97 per litre? Why?