From Magnus Eze, Enugu and Chukwudi Nweje
South East leaders, including zonal and state executives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), select political leaders and elders from across the fstates of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, yesterday, backed the presidential aspiration of Anyim Pius Anyim.
They praised the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) for his courage and sense of patriotism in offering himself for the office of the president.
They said Anyim had, in the previous positions he held, distinguished himself as a detribalised statesman, consensus builder and true nationalist.
They stated these in their resolutions in Enugu, where Anyim briefed the zone on the outcomes of his consultations across the country so far.
In a communique by Chairman of the session, Theodore Orji, and Moderator, Eze Duruiheoma, the meeting appealed to PDP in the interest of equity, justice and harmonious national cohesion to zone its presidential ticket to the southern zones of the country and the South East in particular.
They said: “We take due cognisance of his precious record of distinguished and unblemished service as president of the Senate and SGF. 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.
“In furtherance of the foregoing, we hereby oblige Anyim his request that we all join him to persuade and reassure every part of the country to do justice to the South East and thereby promote equity and justice as core values of our nation.
“In assuring Anyim of our support for his aspiration, we wish to also extend the same hand of support and solidarity to all qualified and deserving sons and daughters of our zone with similar aspiration and who reach out to us as Anyim has done.
“It is our solemn appeal to all the peoples of the South East zone to remain steadfast in the hope that we 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 this great nation.”
Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), Elochukwu Amucheazi, said Igbo elders were proud of Anyim and would give him all the necessary backing.
Former PDP national vice chairman, South East, Ozichukwu Chukwu, praised Anyim for his courage, noting that he is immensely qualified for the job. He urged every Igbo person to support Anyim without reservation for now until other persons from the zone declared interest in the job, then, the Igbo will evaluate them and decide on a particular candidate.
The senator representing Ebonyi Central District, Obinna Ogba, said the state was proud to present Anyim, describing him as a good and marketable commodity that Nigerians would be happy to embrace.
“This is the turn of the South East, we are not visitors, we are equal stakeholders in Nigeria. So, this issue of South East having the presidential slot is not negotiable,” Ogba said.
On his part, PDP National Vice Chairman, South East, Ali Odefa, said Anyim has set the pace and urged others from the zone to follow suit.
Odefa said: “As party people, we are supposed to be father to all, so, let us encourage our people to join the race but like Anyim said, Nigerians will decide. But must all know that ours is ours.”
Earlier, Anyim said the challenge before the PDP was how to deliver on the expectations of Nigerians to rebuild the nation; protect lives and property; restore the respect of Nigeria within the comity of nations; realign the political structure of Nigeria to reflect the current realities; revive the economy and save the naira; rebuild the broken down social fabric; create jobs for the youths and rehabilitate the collapsing educational systems.
Noting that the above tasks were no mean ones, Anyim said it required one with the political pedigree, vision and credentials to lead the party to accomplish the tasks.
He said: “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.
“It is, therefore, with a sense of humility, that I step out as a Nigerian with patriotic fervour, considerable knowledge of our country – its diversities and current challenges; and so properly equipped with clarity of the needed solutions.
“From my consultations so far, I am glad to report that the responses have been overwhelmingly encouraging and inspiring. Above all, I am also happy to report that the mood of the nation favours the rotation of the presidency.
“Let me also, at this point, state clearly that I am aware that I am not the only aspirant from the South East seeking to run for the office of president. I encourage my brothers who so desire to please step out in their respective parties and after the primaries the nation shall choose among us according to their good judgment, after all, it is God who gives power. I, therefore, encourage you to give any other of our brothers and sisters opportunities as you have given me today.”