By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah,
A former President of the Senate, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim has opined that Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023 would only be made possible if the various segments of the people of the region constructively and creatively engage their counterparts from other parts of the country.
The engagement, according to him will engender confidence and create opportunity for making the necessary compromises to secure their support and votes.
Speaking during a lecture he titled: Identifying the political interest of the Igbos of the South-East Geo-Political Zone in Nigeria and Strategies for It’s actualization at the 6th World Igbo Summit held in Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State at the weekend, the former Secretary to Government of the Federation reiterated that the Igbo Presidential ambition can never be a gift, noting however that the concept of equal citizenship means that the nation, its resources and leadership belong to all Nigerians.
“The fair application of this equality of rights concept is what guarantees the cohesion of every society, particularly a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.
According to him, “The peace, prosperity and general progress of every country is dependent on how institutions are strengthened to ensure equality before the law. In recognition of the above, it is essential to note that no particular individual or group owns the leadership of the country and so nobody gives it”, he stated.
Further, Senator Anyim said, “Many are of the view that power is not given but taken and the only way to win power in a democracy is by persuasion and through the ballot box.
“Accordingly, we note that in the exercise of the voters right of choice under the law, the voter is protected from coercion. And so, to persuade another to exercise his right in your favour, you must seek his cooperation and alliance.
I recommend that in our engagement with other zones and peoples, our tone must reflect negotiation, not antagonism. It must be one of friendship and not disdain or disrespect. It must show our willingness to enter into an enduring and lasting relationship for long term interest of all the parties”, he strongly maintained.
Anyim concluded by observing that producing a President of Nigeria of South-East extraction demands a lot of work from every segment of the Igbo nation.
“I therefore use this platform to call on all and sundry to rise to the occasion. The task is achievable if approached collectively and adequately, adding;
“to strengthen the capacity of the Igbos of the South-East geo-political zone to negotiate and ultimately win the Presidency, there is an urgent need for civic and voter education to increase voter turnout.
Anyim further regrettably observed that “The South-East is currently the zone with the least voter turnout, and this should change. Institutions like the World Igbo Summit should actively promote voter education and civic engagement.”
He therefore concluded by noting that every Igbo organization and association should arise and promote voter education and civic engagement.
“I call on each and everyone of us to stand to be counted”, he beckoned.