Vanguard (Lagos)

9 June 2003

Nigeria: Obasanjo Misunderstood Me - Anyim

Enugu — IMMEDIATE past Senate President, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim reviewed weekend his tenure, saying he fought too many battles in the interest of democracy and Nigeria. He also said President Olusegun Obasanjo misunderstood him on certain issues but there was no conflict between them.

Anyim spoke in Enugu during a reception organised in his honour by the Assemblies of God Nigeria, his local church.

"There was no love lost between me and the President but I believe the President misunderstood me on certain things. When I came on, the tension was terrible. The polity, everything had been at standstill and I had a very peculiar commitment to calm down the tension in the polity and that I did by the negotiation, dialogue, everything, everything and everything and the tension came down," Anyim said.

Continuing, he said: "In fact, I made it possible for Obasanjo to work then and I had even the opportunity of doing a number of other things. Before I came there was no budget for that year but I gave them the budget in time. But that was my commitment to the country and not to individual and that was why I had to make myself clear that my support was not for any person but for democracy and Nigeria."

Chief Anyim said along the line there were areas of disagreement, "because if you think it is because you are fair or yellow, that is not the reason because I am not afraid of tomorrow, I am not looking for anything. I have patterned my life and anchored it on God that I don't worry about whatever I think that is the problem."

He said that at a time everybody wanted him "to do this or that I will be supported to come back," but he never compromised.

"There was a time I told him (Obasanjo) that this job, I am ready to go, it must not continue. But one thing I was sure is that it was not going to be possible for anybody to impeach me because I had kept strength in the Senate, so you can't deceive anybody."

Anyim, who thanked the church for their spiritual backing during his tenure reminded the congregation that "the days are evil," and that the church has a higher duty to keep the people going. "My eyes have opened about why we have not made progress for too long. The challenges are much and nothing has been done. The country needs prayers. Those in offices need prayers in particular to realise that it is only God that owes the offices, and that whoever he appointed into them holds them."

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