Anyim said, “There is no zone in this country that is not in a position to produce capable people that can govern Nigeria. And if we are talking about the Southeast and the capacity of those aspiring to govern this country, I challenge any other aspirant to place his curriculum vitae on the table beside mine. And I dare say that in terms of competence, capacity, hard work, training, whatever it is, I am over and above any other person running for the presidency in this election cycle.”
A frontline presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, has said that the 2023 election presents a golden opportunity to rescue Nigeria from the doldrums.
And Anyim, former Senate President, said he is in a pole position to provide the country the quality leadership that will accomplish that onerous task.
Anyim spoke on Monday evening in Bayelsa State when he met with PDP delegates.
The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) said Nigeria was at the crossroads.
“We are faced with many serious crises today,” he reiterated and warned that “if we fail to get it right in 2023, there will be trouble.”
“Our debt crisis today is scandalous. Our economy has become so unproductive and the Naira so valueless that if nothing is done urgently, before December, N1000 will be exchanging for $1,” he lamented.
Anyim, who said that the country needs someone with the requisite knowledge, capacity and competence to pull it back from the brink, told the delegates that he is that person.
“This is not a time to occupy office just to answer Mr President. This is a time to save Nigeria. It is a time to plan for the future. It is a time to rescue this country. If you partner with me, I know what to do. I have the knowledge, I have the experience and I have the capacity.
“I left the Senate at the age of 41. I became Senate President at 39. I have headed the secretariat of the presidency. Today, you find presidents battling with the National Assembly, but I have headed the NASS and I know how it works.
“I know how the rule of law works and how to give human rights the protection that democracy demands because I trained as a lawyer at the Masters level.
“I understand what the challenges are and have clarity on what it takes to make the country work again for all.
“I have no country other than Nigeria. I know Nigeria well. All the schools I attended in this world are in Nigeria. I have never stayed outside this country for more than two weeks at a stretch. By the time I spend one week, I am itching to come back home. Nigeria is my home and I owe her a duty to ensure that things work.”
The frontline PDP aspirant who paid a courtesy call on the Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, at Government House, Yenagoa, before proceeding to the PDP secretariat was accompanied by Chief Eze Duruiheoma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), immediate past Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) and former Imo State PDP chairman, Dr. Mohammed Adah Shuaibu, former PDP governorship aspirant in Kogi State who doubles as the Director of Mobilisation of the Anyim Campaign Organisation; Dr. Ferdinand Agu, former DG of NIMASA; Chief Callistus Anyanwu and Chief Felix Nnodim.
Talking about the raging issue of zoning, Anyim warned that the rules should not be changed in the middle of the game.
“One thing I know for sure is that democracy thrives on three certainties – the certainty of tenure, which is why it is defined in such a way that you know when to begin and when to end; certainty of structure, and the certainty of process. The process must be definite. You don’t change the rules midway. You don’t shift the goalpost midway. Once you breach any of these rules, you have aborted democracy.
“This is the issue that faces us today. Our party has zoning principle clearly stated in our Constitution. Now it is the turn of some people and you think that because you have the might, you can manipulate the process. It will not work.”
Anyim recalled that it was the same sleight of the hand that cost the PDP power in 2015.
“It is the blackmail and manipulations against the Jonathan government that plunged us into this darkness and the same people are again moving around trying to manipulate the process once more to plunge us into deeper darkness. We will not allow it,” the frontline aspirant vowed.
“There is no zone in this country that is not in a position to produce capable people that can govern Nigeria. And if we are talking about the Southeast and the capacity of those aspiring to govern this country, I challenge any other aspirant to place his curriculum vitae on the table beside mine.
“And I dare say that in terms of competence, capacity, hard work, training, whatever it is, I am over and above any other person running for the presidency in this election cycle.”
Anyim, who described himself as a son of the soil said President Goodluck Jonathan gave him his biggest break in public service and for that he remains indebted not only to him but the good people of Bayelsa.
Narrating how he became the SGF, he said: “One day, somebody called me and said that the new President wanted to see me and I quickly rushed to Aso Rock to see him and he said he wanted to consult with me.
“It is my desire to get a Secretary to the Government of the Federation from the Southeast who will help me run the administration and from all the suggestions before me, you are the one the cap fits and I wanted to know whether you will accept to do this job,” he quoted Jonathan as saying.
His response was simple: “I said, you are the President of Nigeria and anything you want me to do, I will do.”
And the next day, his name was announced as the SGF.
Anyim said he will remain eternally grateful for that.
“Today, the real bright spot in my CV after my Senate presidency is my experience as the SGF. My history will be incomplete without that record. If today, I am talking about my capacity to run Nigeria, if actually you were to screen those who have cognate experience, I am the one because I headed the secretariat of the presidency for four years and that gave me the cognate experience to run the presidency of Nigeria.
“I have, therefore, come home to thank the people of Bayelsa for that. This is the first State I am visiting in the South. I said before I go to any other State, I must first go to my second home.
“Before I embarked on this journey, I went to my boss, my mentor, the former president, and said ‘Sir, I am setting out on this journey, do I go or not?’ He said I should go.
“So, I am asking the people of Bayelsa that gave me the cognate experience to send me again to go and continue the work our dear former President Goodluck Jonathan started. You and I agree that he hasn’t finished the work that God has called him to do in Nigeria and there is no other person that can continue that work, improve on that work, finish that work and deliver to Nigerians the peace that has eluded them since he left that office than me. That is what I have come to seek your permission to do.
“The only thing I am asking for is that the Work God used our boss to start is not completed. Send me to go and not only continue with the good work but to complete it.
“There were specific targets we planned and had already processed but because we could not return for a second term, we couldn’t execute those plans. Those plans should not be allowed to die. We have to resurrect and perfect them.
“We had already set this country on a path of progress, peace and development before some people came and through blackmail, and all manner of manipulations, the second term of President Goodluck Jonathan was scuttled. And now the country is in trouble.
“Let me go back and continue from where we stopped. There were many plans which we thought we will execute in our second term and one of them was a deep seaport in Bayelsa.
It was also our plan to ensure that all oil companies not only have their headquarters in Bayelsa but also to build an oil city just like the Centenary City we also proposed in Abuja.
“Others may send delegates or their agents to come and talk to you but I have to be here in person so that I will give you my word and you can count on me. Join hands with me so that together we can rescue this country.
“With you as my partners, continuing from where we stopped in 2015, Nigeria will know peace once again, Nigeria will know progress and assume its proper place in the comity of nations.”
The Bayelsa PDP chairman, Mr Solomon Agwanana, led other delegates including former Senator, Emmanuel Diffa, and members of the State House of Assembly in welcoming Anyim.
In his remarks, Agwanana, who said that APC was not a political party, assured Anyim of support.