July 09 2002

Gentlemen of the Press,

It is on behalf of the Association of Youth Organizations of Nigeria (AYON) that I read this address.

You are all aware of the genesis of the ascendency of Anyim Pius Anyim to the pinnacle of power, as the Senate President, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

But just to make up for the occasional lapses and distortions of memory, let me remind us of the very beginnings.

Senator Anyim Pius Anyir, became Senate President after the fall of Chief Evans Enwerem, and Chuba Okadigbo, as Senate Presidents in that order.

Enwerem, principally came to grief, not as much for the academic credentials confusion as for the fact that he was perceived by his colleagues to be a stooge of the Presidency.

Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, took over and in an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of Enwerem, adopted an extremely opposite style, which raised the temperature cf the polity to a dangerous level. To ensure that the polity is no! overheated or stretched beyond its elasticity limit, a combination of forces conspired and tipped the charismatic “Oyll of Oyi” down the precipice.

On assumption of office, Senator Anyim Pius Anyir, much to the surprise of political watchers, and given his age of 39 years, quickly confronted and adequately began to address those issues that had hitherto threatened our nascent democracy.


It is to the eternal credit of this young lawyer, Anyim Pius Anyim, that he tackled headlong a matter that has hitherto constituted a major source of conflict in the National Assembiy Before now, control of fund has remained the exclusive prerogative of the former Senate Presidents. The President held the yam and knife and what you got depended iargely on how much he liked your face Immediately on assumption of office, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim decided to decentralize the control and disbursement of funds. Instead of the Senate President, the Committees were made to control and disburse funds. And as a Senator once put it, commending Anyim: “even though we do not get more funds now, as such, but there is this feeling of oneness and transparency, pervading the atmosphere and everybody is happy.

What could be more reassuring than this?


In more developed democracies, there is a clear-cut distinction between the functions of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. But in third world countries, there is always this tendency for the Executive Arm to stretch its tentacles over the functions of the other two sectors. This has always generated conflicts. This is however, not saying that in the configuration of events, there could not be some overlapping of functions in the relationship between these Arms. Therefore in an attempt at dousing tension, a good Senate President should always adopt conciliatory measures. This is an area Senator Anyim Pius Anyim has excelled since coming into office, Pius Anyim has succeeded in establishing a rapprochement between the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial Arms of government much to the admiration of honest observers; and much to the health of the polity.

Unfortunately however, this policy of cialogue, as against artillery. which Field Marshall Montgomery defines as “the last argument of kings*, is what opponents of Anyim perceive as his weakness. But we know that herein lies the strength of the Senate President, now, a well-known concensus builder.


Without any equivocations, it is a common knowledge in Nigeria, that Legisiators, for reasons very well known to all of us, have always held the Executive hostage when it comes to Appropriation Bills. We shall be deceiving ourselves if we pretend not to accept that this has been the case over the years It is on record that the 2001 Appropriation Bill remains the fastest ever passed in Nigeria. We are not talking about some manipulated Bills, but a Bill based on mutual agreement between a committee of the Senate and that of the Presidency put together by Anyim. instead of holding the entire nation to ransom, as usual, the Bill received an unprecedented accelerated attention much to the admiration of well- meaning Nigerians. The credit goes to Anyir, who avoided all forms of rabble-rousing in the process.


Who can fall to admire the way Anyim Pius Anyim, has tried to enhance the prestige of Nigeria in, now his many international appearances. To the AYON it has always been a thing of joy watching one of us, the Senate President, as he thrills international audiences, speaking *off the cuff and “ex-tempore” and fielding questions with the world press. 

Each time Anyim appears on the Television in these International for a, the reminiscences of the likes of such born orators as Zik of Africa Ike Nwachukwu, Maitama Sule, Emeka Anyoku, Late Joe Garba, and Tafawa Balewa, surge through our minds. No wonder then that inspite of some views to the contrary, the President, Chit Olusegun Obasanjo, saw Anyim as a fit and proper person for a National Award.


Barely one year after the inception of the present administration, the entire South East of Nigeria became rocked by unprecedented political crises. In Abia, Anambra, Ebony, Enugu and Imo, the story has remained the same The battle is between the State Governors and those the governors pejoratively like to refer to, as “Abuja politicians”. The issue at stake is, who takes control of the party organs in the States. While the Governors rightly argue that as “leaders” of the party in their states, they should call the shots, those at Abuja, insists and rightly too, that they did not sprout from nowhere. They have their constituencies and should have a say in what is going on in their home basis. If any other so-called.

“Abuja politician” can lay hold to this claim; the NO.3 citizen of Nigeria can definitely not claim less it is a considered view of AYON that the blame for this political cataclysm in the South East lies neither on the governors nor on the so-called “Abuja politicians. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the political party Executives at various leveis. The trouble in Nigeria today is that the Party Executives are virtually non-existent. This is because the Executives of the parties at all levels, have mortgaged their conscience to the Executive Arm of Governments. 

Today in Nigeria political parties which are supposed to be supreme and which are supposed to call the shots, are nothing but mere appendages and the officers mere puppets of the Executive Arms of Government. Instead of the Executive Arms of Government catching cold when the party Executives sneeze, the reverse is the case. What a tragedy! Thus the confusion in the whole country is attributable to this tragic situation.

For instance, if a State Governor realizes that his “second term’, in office depends wholly and entirely on his achievement on the ground, there is no reason why such a State Governor would be nervous about how best to manipulate and control the Party Executive.

If the Party Executives were independent of the governors and the so. called *Abuja politicians*, in terms of funding, they (the Party Executives) would be in a position to face any of the groups eye-ball-to eyeball and tel them when they overstep their bounds. This is not the case in all the States of the Federation, especially the South-East. Unless a miracle occurs, the States will continue to be on the boil.


The temptation is strong. That is, the temptation to keep mute. fold our hands and watch the unfolding drama. But the screaming headlines in our National Dallies can no longer be ignored, what with one of us, the youngest Senate Prosident; Anyim Pius Anyim is about being sentenced before trial.

Listen to some of the numerous banas: “Ogbeh takes on Anyim; blames inpeachment bid on inexperienced senators” – ‘vanguard*, Wednesday,

June 26, 2002. “Ogbeh wants to destroy *PDP” – Anyim, “Vanguard”.

Saturday, June 29, 2002; “Ogbeh out to blackmail me* – Anyim, *Punch’

Saturday 29* June, 2002; *PDP Ecard Descends on Audu Ogben* – Post Express*, Monday July 1 2002; “In Defence of Audu Ogben” Sunday

Champion”, June 23, 2002; “Anyim, Ogbeh clash over N120m*, This Day*

Wednesday June 26, 2002. “PDP Disowns Ogben over N120m Request from Anyim: Party’s national working committee not aware says Ogbulafor”. – This Day, July 2, 2002; ‘PDP Scribe disowns Ogbeh on

N120m retreat request’. – Vanguard”, July 2, 2002 N120m Request Senators Ask Ogbeh to Quit or face Anti-graft Panel’. Obasanjo Intervenes in PP chairman, Senate President’s face-off-, Wednesday July 3, 2002.

“Gunning for Anyim” – *Daily Champion’ -, Wednesday July 3, 2002. The above, inter alia, are headlines that have been assaulting our visibility, some of our National Dailies, for sometime now.

The incident of N120m has exploded on our face, so much so that it would amount to criminal negligence if AYON allows one of us to be continuously assailed for nothing’s sakes It is therefore, for the simple reason of placing the issues in their proper perspectives, that the Association of Youth Organizations of Nigeria (AYON) has decided to call this press conference.

In our approach to this issue, AYON is prepared to call a spade a spade and not just a working implement. After carefully going through all the arguments proffered by the sides to the N120m saga, we are convinced that the Senate Preisdent Anyim Pius Anyim is being blackmailed for nothing. As Shakespeare, puts it in the mouth of one of his characters, we have asked ourselves this question: “whether it is nobler in the heart (mind) to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take up arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them’. Our answer is that it is better to confront dishonesty, hypocrsy and sycophancy head-on and expose them for public scrutiny.

Issues at stake in this matter are threefold. They include – failure of PDP as a party to conduct successful primaries and congresses in some States. especially the SouthEast; National Assembly’s complaints about the way and manner the President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo implements budgets, and then N120m requested iN WRITING from the Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, by the National Chairman of PDP Audu Ogbeh. So it is on this tripod that the issues at stake are hinged.


AYON is convinced that if there is anything that has the potential of not only ruining the PDP as a party, but also capable of derailing our nascent democracy, it is the failure of the PDP to put its foot down and take a principled stand on all the outstanding congresses. A situation, where as a result of vested material interests, all the states involved in these botched congresses have been milked white, is as unfortunate as it is tragic. It is on record that in many of these states, the failure of the National Executive Committee of the PDP, to call a spade a spade has led to loss of lives and property, and yet the Authonities have continued to talk glibly about these matters.

The most unfortunate aspect of all these, is that the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo receives wrong briefs on what is going on in some of these States. A recent popularity poll shows that while 85% of the sample says they are ready to go with Obasanjo, if he runs under another party, only 42.33 percent say they are ready to vote for him as a PDP candidate.

What is the meaning of this? – that Nigerians love their President, but dislike the  shoddy way his lieutenants are implementing his, otherwise noble policies From the signals coming out of the National Headquarters of the PDP, it is clear that the place lacks effective leadership, and the N120m is the only way God has decided to expose the rot that is the place. AYON is convinced that, but for this, the cover-ups would have completely destroyed the PDP before 2003.

AYON is saying that on the issue of congresses, the Senate Preisdent. Anyim Pius Anyim, the No 3 citizen of Nigeria, today should show more than a passing interest. We are also saying that the amiable Governor of Ebonyi State Dr. Sam Eww, being the leader of the Party in the State, has a lot at stake too. AYON is convinced that but for those who are reaping materially from the controversy in Ebony, this trouble would have been over since. The result is that in many of our states today, salaries are owed to workers, because the money, which is meant for this, is diverted to the struggle for the control of the State Party Executives.


Here again, AYON sees it as cheap blackmail, any attempt to relate the Ebony State unilateral congress to the Senate’s attempt to impeach the President, as being alleged by Audu Ogbeh AYON is really surprised that Ogbeh is trying to yoke together two, obviously unrelated issues, all in an attempt to get at the Senate President. If not that Ogbeh before assuming his present post, had held public offices; if not that we know Ogbeh’s solid academic background, AYON would not have been wondering so much at his present performance. Otherwise how come, given his background, that Ogbeh believes that if Senators decice to impeach the President, Anyim would simply get up and say “NO! You don’t do it, just because he is the Senate President.

Once Again, Anyirn’s conciliatory policy surfaced, when the President gave an acceptable explanation that, in the implementation of budgets, only he who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. in other words, there is always a difference between paper work and available fund. Chief Ogbeh should be made to understand how powerful the Senate President is. Chief Ogben should be told unequivocally that if the Senate President means mischief. he could use a voice-vote to have a motion sale through, even when it is clear that the “AYES” do not have it. The highest thing that would follow is commotion, which can consume any body.

AYON is happy that our President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo cannot be taken in by this cheap propaganda that Anyim decided to impeach him as a result of a decision to conduct congress in Ebonyi State. This is cheap blackmail. AYON is aware, that if for anything many Senators regard Anyim Pius Anyim as the “President’s Boy’. in deed, some refer to him as a stooge of the Presidency. So how come Anyim nas suddenly become a monster?


AYON is of the view that the N120m Saga is the worst thing that can happen to Chief Audu Ogbeh in all his political career. AYON has read and listened with dismay and with mouth wide agape to, the quibbling that have been going on by way of trying to defend the indefensible in this matier.

The whole defence is ridd’ed with inaccuracies and “non-sequitors’ AYON salutes the National Secretary of PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor for his courage. We salute the Prince for coming out boldly, inspite of the obvious implications, to til the nation the truth We are not surprised, we know that the son of J. J. Ogbulafor can stand by the truth and damn the consequences. Once again, AYON notes with dismay, the contribution of the National Organizing Secretary of PDP, Hon. Inuwa Labaran, to the effect that the N120m matter was discussed at the National Working Committee meeting. In one-breath Labaran assets that the matter was tabled, in the next breath Labaran admits that the matter was at a stage where it would have been tabled before the NWC for approval. Which one do we take? Add this to the fact that in the heat of it all, and in the attempt to wriggle out of the tight corner, Ogbeh asserted that the vexed letter was drafted by his National Assembly Liaison Officer, and that the only did the signing. You know, as well as we do, the implication of all this. This error and blame are now being shifted to somebody who is so helpless, he cannot deny anything. It is a buck-passing very nauseating and very unfortunate.

Yet inspite of all these the PDP National Working Committee, in their wimping face-saving strategies, would want us to believe that the matter followed due process before a letter was raised to the Senate President. Even in a yet, disgusting and irritating assertion, Hon Labaran would want us to believe that as long as the request was made in PDP’s headed paper, it has acquired authenticity. A very vital question in all these is whether the PDP Constitution does not derive from the basic universal principles of other party constitutions. Otherwise, was the whole matter not over, when Chief Vincent Ogbulagor, who is the National Secretary of the PP, and ipso facto, the Secretary to the National Working Committee denied that he ever listened to the discussion, let alone record such a vital deliberation.

AYON is badly agonized that, this is happening to the PDP, at a very critical point in time. The damage to the image of the party is aimost irreparable. AYON is calling on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, not to be deceived into believing that the Senate Presicent is no longer with him. Anyim is one of us and as far as we know, Anyim will remain faithful to the President.

The attempt to yoke impeachment, into a matter that has nothing to do with it, is a clever way of shifting attention from the heart of the matter. President Obasanjo should call the PDP National Executive to order now. A situation where the National Chairman is telling those who do not like his, not altogether good style, to quit, and they are leaving the party in droves, is not only frightening. but spells doom for PDP AYON sympathies with PDP for this confusion, but warns that the Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, should never be mada a scapegoat. AYON wishes the PDP well and we say unequivocally that we are solidly behind Anyim

Pius Anyim.