Former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, has stated that a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023 could only come to pass if the South East creatively and constructively engaged other regions.
According to the one-time Senate president, such engagement would engender confidence and create room for compromises. Anyim made the remarks at the weekend while delivering a keynote address during the sixth World Igbo Summit at Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State.
In his lecture titled, “Identifying the political interest of the Igbo of South East geopolitical zone in Nigeria and strategies for its actualisation,” the ex-SGF maintained that the presidential ambition could not be a gift.
Noting that the concept of equal citizenship means that the nation, its resources and leadership belong to all Nigerians, Anyim declared: “The fair application of this equality of rights concept is what guarantees the cohesion of every society, particularly a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.
“The peace, prosperity and general progress of every country are 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 reiterated that “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.”
The Ebonyi indigene added: “Accordingly, we note that in the exercise of the voter’s 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 parties.”
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