“The experience and exposure you had as the Senate President, SGF, as a successful lawyer, at least, even if we don’t know anything else, we know that is better than NEPA bill as a certificate,” Makinde said.
By Emma Ogbuehi
The governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday gave a damning verdict on politicians aspiring for the 2023 presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Comparing the APC aspirants with that counterparts in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Makinde said the least qualified of the PDP aspirants is greater than the most qualified in APC.
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The governor spoke when one the PDP presidential aspirants and former President of the Senate, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who was in Oyo State to meet with PDP delegates from all the six Southwest states paid him a courtesy call at Government House in Ibadan,
Welcoming Anyim, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to his office, Makinde said, “Your Excellency, my most distinguished leader, former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and former SGF, I welcome you to Ibadan, the seat of Oyo State government and the political headquarters of the Southwest.
“I am glad at the quality of aspirants within the PDP because the least qualified of the PDP aspirants is greater than the most qualified in APC.”
Juxtaposing Anyim’s solid credentials with President Muhammadu Buhari’s inability to produce the requisite certificates that ought to have qualified him to run for the presidency, Makinde said: “The experience and exposure that you have as the President of the Senate, SGF, as a successful lawyer, at least, even if we don’t know anything else, we know that is better than NEPA bill as a certificate.
“When we told Nigerians then to be careful, they thought it was a joke and when somebody by himself said, I will take you from the top to the bottom, we thought it was all a joke, but seven years on, we are not only at the bottom, we are inside a hole right now.
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“So, I am glad at the quality that we have in the PDP in terms of the aspirants.”
Singling out Anyim for praise, the Oyo State governor said, “I will say it without any fear of being misunderstood that my distinguished leader, you are eminently qualified to be the president of Nigeria.”
Makinde who acknowledged the challenges the issue of zoning has posed for the opposition party called for unity of purpose, stressing that at the end of the day, “it is only God that gives power.”
“Yes, we do have challenges; we know that the issue of is it the turn of the South, is it the turn of the North to produce the president is very challenging. Even if it comes to the South, there is still the issue of which zone it should go to in the South. We know all the discussions about fairness, equity and justice.
“And we know that the founders of our party gave serious thought to some of these challenges, and our party’s constitution took care of some of these things but unfortunately, our party took a position saying, let this thing be thrown open.
“So, for us as good party people, democracy is a game of numbers. The minority will have their say but the majority will have their way. This is our reality right now. So, the contest is open. But how do we ensure that within this openness, we are able to give the best to Nigeria? That is the challenge PDP must address and it calls for unity of purpose.”
Anyim, a frontline aspirant said he possesses all the qualities that Nigeria needs in a transformational leader.
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“Nigeria is a country in search of nationhood. Nigeria is a country in search of conscience. And it is for these two reasons that looking back at my experience, looking back at the vantage positions that I have held, I can assure you that I understand what the problems are. And I know exactly what to do to solve them
“That is why I have offered myself to lead this search for nationhood, to lead this search for Nigeria’s conscience; to be the conscience for Nigeria.
“Yes, we have a country but we need to build a nation. And I must say today, before you and the whole world that I am that nation builder, who can offer the country the right foundation to grow, to prosper and to have peace. That is what I bring to the leadership table and that is what will distinguish me from every other aspirant.”
Anyim who said he did that when he became President of the Senate vowed to adopt the same template.
“When I became President of the Senate, the National Assembly was in serious crisis. It was unstable, it was crisis-ridden by every stretch of the imagination, but when I became the President of the Senate, one thing that I did that stabilised the National Assembly and brought back peace was that I laid out my solutions and was able to earn the confidence of everybody that the solutions I am offering address everybody’s worries.
“And because everybody found comfort in my solutions, we all came together and peace returned to the National Assembly.
“Nigeria is at that point. We must eliminate mutual suspicion. We must come together with the consciousness that we have no other country than Nigeria and we must therefore generate the patriotism and commitment to build a nation. We must be conscious of the fact that if we don’t build this nation, nobody from outside will come to build it for us.
“This is the consciousness I will bring to the table. This is my mission in government and I want to say that today we are faced with myriad challenges – socio-economic woes, insecurity and all that. But the most fundamental is the political.
“If we recruit the right leader in this process, right solutions will be on the table, right attitude will be on the table, competence, capacity, capability and experience will play out to redirect our country on the right path. This is the advantage that I have.
“I was in the Senate, then became Senate President, I was Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and by training I am a lawyer. I understand the three arms of government because I have worked in all of them and I can tell you, applying my experience, I will not only stabilise the nation, I will put the country back on the path of growth, peace and prosperity.”