The Return of Anyim
Anyim Pius Anyim, former senate president, bounces back to political relevance with his appointment as secretary to the government of the federation, SGF
Lobbying, speculation and horse-trading over who becomes the secretary to the government of the federation, SGF, was laid to rest last Tuesday, with the swearing in of Anyim Pius Anyim, former senate president. He replaced Yayale Ahmed, who has been the SGF, since the late President Umaru Yar’Adua administration. He is the first SGF to be appointed from the South-East, to which the position was zoned recently, by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
The oath taking and signing of signature lasted for about 30 minutes. At the ceremony, President Goodluck Jonathan explained the importance of the office of the SGF in the transformation agenda of his administration. “The secretary to the government of the federation is part of a team of champions that we are putting in place to drive our transformation agenda. He is to co-ordinate government policies, ministries, extra-ministerial departments and agencies including the cabinet office. I, therefore, urge you Senator Anyim, to bring these virtues and experience to bear to the service of Nigeria, as you co-ordinate the activities of the government,” he said.
Speaking on the selection process, Jonathan said the former senator was considered based on his past track records both in private and public service. “The challenge before you, therefore, is to ensure high integrity, accountability and openness in the conduct of government’s business. Nigeria must have a government that truly places itself in the service of its citizens,” he said.
Responding, Anyim said though he was not expecting the appointment, he accepted it because he shares the vision of the president as he is ready to drive it to the best of his ability. “Within the limits of the responsibilities of my office, I will fit into the vision of Mr. President. I will help to drive his vision to the best of my abilities.” Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun State, said the new SGF has what it takes, given his rich background and experience in the public sector, to add value to governance and help in the implementation of policies and programmes that would help in achieving the laudable objectives of the federal government. “Let me seize this opportunity to congratulate the former Senate President on this well deserved appointment. I believe that his tenure would witness positive developments in Nigeria,”
Anyim was the senate president from August 2000 to May 2003. In January 2008, Anyim sought to become the national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. He garnered support from different strata of the party. For example, the chairman of the Kaduna chapter of PDP had said Anyim would receive the votes of the entire Kaduna State delegation to the convention. Similarly, the league of patriotic lawyers supported his candidature. He also gained support from the PDP youth forum. In the end, the governors worked against him and instead helped to install Vincent Ogbulafor, who was later forced to resign.
In the heat of the controversy surrounding the health of former President Yar’Adua and his failure to transmit a vacation letter to the National Assembly, when he went for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia in 2009, Anyim led a delegation of 41 eminent Nigerians to the federal legislature. The delegation called on Yar’Adua to send the letter, so that Goodluck Jonathan, who was then vice-president, could be made acting president. Anyim praised the senate when it eventually passed a resolution on February 9, 2010, to make Jonathan acting president. His appointment brings him back into political relevance. The office of the SGF is crucial to the decisions of government.
Anyim was born on February 19, 1961, in Ishiagu, Ebonyi State. He attended High School, Ishiagu, Federal School of Arts and Science, Aba, and Imo State University, where he studied law. After his National Youth Service Corps, in Sokoto, he became the head of Protection Department at the National Commission for Refugees, Abuja. During the transitional regime of Abdulsalami Abubakar, he joined PDP, on whose platform he won the election to the Senate.