2023: When South-east PDP Spoke with One Voice

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Chuks Okocha writes on the decision of the South-east PDP stakeholders to back the presidential ambition of a former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim

Last week was very significant in the South-east’s quest for the presidency in 2023. The agitation that the geopolitical zone should produce the next President of Nigeria has been loud and deafening.

It was based on that popular clamour that the former Senate president, who was also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim informed the stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the zone of his ambition to contest the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the party.

The venue was Enugu, the capital city of the old Eastern Region. The gathering of the stakeholders was unique, and like a carnival. And it turned out to be a political celebration never witnessed in the South-east in a long while.

It was a day that the South-east political leaders in the main opposition party spoke with one voice on their quest for one of their own to occupy the Presidential Villa by 2023.

Some selected political leaders and elders from the South-east region all spoke with one voice, endorsing the presidential ambition of Anyim.

The stakeholders include all the zonal and the five state executives of the PDP. Also in attendance were: Senator Theodore Orji, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; Dr. Ali Odefa, PDP National Vice Chairman, South-east; Mrs. Josephine Anenih; Senator Obinna Ogba; Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi; Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu; Senator Emma Nwaka, and Senator Chuka Utazi, representing Enugu North in the Senate, among others.

In a communique read by Chief Eze Duru Ihuoma (SAN), the political leaders said they were declaring support for Anyim taking “due cognisance of his previous record of distinguished and unblemished service as President of the Senate and Secretary to the Government of the Federation.”

The PDP zonal leaders and elders said that in all ramifications, Anyim had distinguished himself as a detribalised statesman, consensus builder and true nationalist.

Also, in a 10-point resolution issued at the end of the meeting, and signed by the former governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Orji, who also chaired the meeting and Duru-Iheoma, a former chairman of PDP in Imo State, the South-east PDP stakeholders reiterated that the people of the region “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 said because of that, “the choice of a South East 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.”

According to the PDP South-east stakeholders,“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.”

They appealled to all the peoples of the South-east zone to remain steadfast in the hope that the zone can all join hands in solidarity with all other parts of the federation to build a prosperous nation founded on democracy, equity and inclusion to the benefit of the country.

Anyim on his part said that he was stepping out with a sense of humility, as a Nigerian with patriotic fervour, and considerable knowledge of Nigeria.

He argued that he understood the country’s diversities and current challenges, and was properly equipped with clarity 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 who reaffirmed his earlier position that he would contest whether the presidency was zoned to the South or not, however said if the presidency was zoned to South-east, it would satisfy the demand for equity and fairness.