BY GADI NUHU
AS the race for who occupies the seat as the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) heightens ahead of the election on January 8, 2013, it is becoming obvious by the day that the former (BOT) chairman and now chairman board Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Tony Anenih is the right man for the job for numerous incontrovertible reasons no matter what some people might think. It could be recall that before the die-minute suspension of the election into the chairmanship of the board sometimes towards the end of last year to allow for greater participation of interested contenders for the plum seat, the odds had already favoured Anenih, a man seen by majority members of the board as a seasoned leader with vision.
The Board of Trustees (BoT) being the soul and conscience of the ruling PDP needs an experience, committed and revered personality like Anenih who has since his unblemished retirement from the Nigeria Police and subsequently foray into the murky water of the country proved to be a star among the stars in political thinking, permutation and strategy for the good of the Nigerian society. No wonder, he has established himself as an icon in Nigeria’s politics and democracy, a development that has endeared him to Nigerians from different works of life.
It is obvious that the BoT chairmanship seat of the ruling party is not for the chicken hearted or a position for political decampees, upstarts or greenhorns who are jostling for it now. With the glaring political atmosphere in the country ahead of the 2015 election, especially with the merger talks among the opposition parties that want to wrestle power from PDP by all means, the party needs a bridge builder like Anenih who will keep the party together, focused and visionary. It could also be recalled that when he was the BoT chairman before his sudden removal which was instigated by ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo who wanted to occupy the seat for life after being president, the party was united and stronger.
It was clear that his abrupt removal as (BoT) was instrumental to the party’s loss of some states like Edo, Bauchi, Ondo, Kano, Abia, Imo and others to opposition parties in the 2007 general elections. This was because the party was overwhelmed by internal crisis before the election and there was no grassroot mobiliser and strategic thinker like Anenih to put the party back to track before the election. Obasanjo’s military/ fire brigade approach to the crisis worsened the situation and the party paid dearly for it in the general election. It was that singular mistake by the Obasanjo’s administration that is still affecting the fortunes of the party in some states across the country, especially Edo, where Anenih has been working tirelessly to rebuild the party again.
I recall that when Anenih ventured into politics during the second republic, he had ample opportunity to contest elective positions where he could directly control the resources coming into the government coffer without being accountable to anybody as being witnessing in some states presently, he resisted it for humanity sake, rather he preferred to empower others politically especially the downtrodden to give them voice in the society. That is why it was easy for him to build a strong reputation and charisma around himself as a party leader and has numerous followers across the country.
Anenih has been more of a selfless politician who deploys his personal resources to build his party to win elections without asking for anything in return other than good governance. That was why since his foray into politics, he has never been on the wrong side of it, as his party has always been the ruling party at the centre, courtesy of his combined efforts with other like minds across the country. He never believe or subscribe to political harlotry as is the case with most Nigerian politicians, rather he is always steadfast and committed to his party ideologies and principles. This is the major reason every government in power has always recognise his importance in the political equation and administration of the party and the country.
It is on record that in all the positions entrusted in him since he joined politics, he has always performed his duties to the best of his knowledge and abilities. That is why he has not been on trial or indicted by any of the anti-corruption agencies or law courts. Even when some people mischievously and politically try to drag his name in the mud for selfish political reasons, he has always come out to put the records straight to the chagrin and shame of his detractors.
While some cynics are already whipping up sentiments to the effect that he is too old to occupy the seat and that he hails from the same geo-political zone with President Goodluck Jonathan, they failed to remember that he was the BoT chairman when Obasanjo was President of the country, and that BoT chairman being more of an advisory organ in the party is not among the political offices zoned by the party since 1999. What is most important at this point in time is to put a square peg in square hole for the good of the party and Nigerians.
The issue of which geo-political zone produces the chairman of BoT is a puerile arguement. Thus, emphasis should be on the qualities of the personality and what his choice or emegence portends for the party now and in future. Again, even if such argument is to hold water, it means that all the contenders from Southeast zone should withdraw from the race, because the zone has the position of deputy senate president, deputy speaker of House of Representatives and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SSG), while the Southwest zone has produced President for eight years and BoT Chairman for four years. On the other issue of age, it is often say that age is a blessing and it goes with experiences.
Besides, one needs to occupy positions to garner experiences, and at the same time needs experience to succeed in a position of authority, Anenih has it all and had seen it all, the bad and the ugly in the country’s politics, so he has what it takes to take PDP to the next level as its BoT Chairman.
*Mr. Nuhu, a political analyst , wrote from Sabon-gari, Kano State.