By Nkechinyere Oginyi
As calls for the rotation of Nigeria’s Presidency in 2023 to the Southern part of the country gather momentum, political leaders are already pitching tent with possible presidential hopefuls and have commenced misquote campaigns.
While political gladiators from the three geopolitical zones of South-East, South-West and South-South have indicated interest for the top job, citizens are demanding that 2023 should be left for the South-East to assuage injustice and maginalisation of the region.
There had also been calls that the two major political parties – All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic (PDP) – should zone their presidential ticket to the South with South-East being the most preferred choice.
To this end, the tempo of the campaign for Igbo presidency has deepened. Political pundits are already x-raying the credentials of possible aspirants who can clinch the position and make a positive change with adequate support of other leaders from the North.
Posters of some of these gladiators have started to flood major towns and cities including the Nation’s seat of power seeking for support of Nigerians. They are also trending on the social media.
Names of prominent politicians including Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of Federation under President Goodluck Jonathan; Alh Bola Tinubu, APC national leader and former Lagos State governor; Dr. Ogbonnia Onu, serving minister of Science and Technology; Rotimi Amaechi, current minister of transportation and former Rivers State governor and a host of others are ringing bell in the race.
The posters of Senator Anyim, a Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON), have adorned the social media. He served as President of the Senate between 2000 and 2003.
There are strong indications that the Ebonyi State-born politician is interested in succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. He had been seen recently consulting with some Northern political leaders.
If permutations are anything to go by, Anyim could run under the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He has rejected attempts to be drag into the ruling APC. He was one of the political leaders in Ebonyi that refused join the state governor, Dave Umahi, to defect to APC.
He, however, watered down political speculations on his presidential ambition. He urged the public to disregard such publication as it didn’t come from him.
“My attention has been drawn to posters and stories circulating on social media with one of them having the inscription of ‘Progress 2023 Anyim Pius Anyim for President’ with my pictures on it”.
“I want to state very emphatically that I do not have a hand in those posters or campaigns and did not authorize any such publications,” he said.
The former Secretary to the government of the federation said that as a law-abiding citizen, he was fully aware that the present period was not for campaigning towards the 2023 general elections.
“The government at the federal level has spent two years out of a four-year term and is grappling with issues of governance. It should therefore not be distracted,” he said.
But reactions from people shows that such actions are usually taken to create assertions on possible aspirants especially when a new political dispensation is being awaited.
A political analyst based in Abakaliki, Abel Ike, said that such a situation sees the personality given unauthorized publicity to either stir the polity in anticipation or cause a political rumpus.
“This ultimately heats the polity or creates unfathomed suspense.
“Anyim for instance is loved by many across the country for his selfless service to his state, Ebonyi, Nigeria as a whole, and the international community.
“If people circulate posters about him running for president, it shows that they view him as a man of high integrity, credited with empowering several youths and people from various strata of the society.
“He is a firm believer in one Nigeria and at this period when the country is presently facing its biggest socio-economic travails, such individuals are usually looked up to bring what George Elliot quoted in his iconoclastic literary work: ‘Silas Marner’.
“There, Ellit said Elliot a child which is a blessing to a declining man, brings forth hope and forward-looking thoughts’, so 2023 can be seen as a redemption route,” he said.
A youth, Chukwu Obinna, in his submission, said “Sen. Anyim should not deny himself the opportunity if it comes because he has what it takes to lead the country having served with Goodluck Jonathan as SGF and lead the Nigerian senate at the tender age”.
Wilson Igwe, an artisan said that resourceful and qualified individuals should start indicating interest presently, to ensure that Nigerians do not repeat the mistakes of the past.
“Anyim is the first democratically elected senator of Ebonyi South senatorial zone since the state’s creation and should see the circulating posters as a clarion sign or call for him to serve.
“In this period when the clamor for the Igbo presidency is gaining supersonic momentum, prominent Igbo indigenes should start demonstrating the biblical submission of ‘whom shall we send and answer in the greater interest of the people, ‘Father, send me.
“Anyim with his achievements in politics nationally from 1999 and the rallying point he had continued to be for opinion molders leaders, youths’ technocrats, economists, politicians among others, is eminently qualified to answer the ‘father send me to call.”
Oginyi, a female political enthusiast and media consultant wrote from Abakiliki, Ebonyi State.