December 11, 2008

I felt humiliated the day OBJ stripped me of security

Anyim Pius
It was meant to be a book presentation, but former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim held the audience spell bound when he began preaching about service and integrity, with a call on Nigerians to stop praying for good roads, electricity and other basic social amenities, but rather pray for righteous men to take over the governance of this country.

Quoting from the Bible, where it says “when righteous men are in position of authority, the people rejoice,” the former Senate President said those being referred to in the Bible should be the kind of leaders Nigerians should be praying for, adding that “it is after finding such people that we can talk about genuine service that will meet the need and aspirations of the people.”

He spoke recently as a Guest Speaker at the ECWA Good News Church, Kaduna at a book presentation ceremony, organized by the church. The book, titled “Service and Integrity- the Christian Perspective,” was written by the church, with Anyim as one of the contributors. Incidentally, Anyim spoke on the title of the book.

According to him, integrity was the only thing that makes one leader different from the other. With integrity, he continued “you will rule with compassion because you are after the name you are building for yourself and not the acquisition of material things.”

He further said that “you can acquire all the material things on earth, without integrity, once you are dead, the material things will all fizzle out and nobody will remember you ever existed or lived.
“What most leaders lack in Africa, particularly in Nigeria is integrity. Our leaders do not bother about integrity, which is why they indulge in primitive accumulation of wealth.
“They accumulate this wealth for their children, but when they die, the children will squander the whole thing in just a day. So let’s stop praying for light, good roads and what have you, let’s pray that righteous men will become leaders in this country some day.”

Anyim, like most Nigerians believe that God’s hands is in Nigeria, insisting that it was the reason issues that ordinarily would sparked off violent reactions else where would come and go in Nigeria as if nothing happened.
And he used the death of late Sani Abacha and the aborted third term agenda to buttress his argument. Hear him “what we have today in Nigeria, are leaders who mystify themselves. Leaders who act like God and think that they will never die. Death is not in their agenda.
“The two things that happened in Nigeria that further strengthened my belief that there is the hand of God in Nigeria is the death of Abacha and the death of third term. I was involved and I know that nothing would have stopped Abacha from succeeding himself. But God came to the rescue.
“The second issue is that of third term. Till date, the way the thing ended is still a mystery to those who conceived it, “Anyim added.

He was however quick to add that the issue of service and integrity, should go beyond political leaders. He argued that the followers and the church leaders especially too have a role to play in ensuring that Nigerians live in a corrupt-free society, even as he spared some knocks for church leaders on the issue of corruption.

“What most of you seated here today (referring to the audience) do in secret is worse than what we see the leaders do in the open. The leaders we see are the ones we think are corrupt, but as Nigerians, what we do individually accumulate to bring about corruption in the country.

“Even in the church, pastors and men of God sometimes quarrel over transfer on the premise that certain place is juicier than the other. So those who do that are not ready to serve. So you can see that there is rot in the church system too. You should not murmur over transfer. Therefore, if corruption is to be curbed, the church and other religious leaders must come together to pray for the evolvement of a sincere leader.”

Going down memory lane, the former Senate President who attributed the fear of the unknown as the reason most Nigerians fear to confront certain situations frontally said that he entertained similar fear when he was leaving the office in 2003.

He however said he relied on God to overcome the fears and since then there has been no looking back in his resolve to partner with other like minds to speak against the ills in the country.
“The fear of the unknown is also inhibiting us from doing some of those things we believe in. I had a similar experience when I was to leave office as the Senate President. I am sure many of us here are familiar with the situation that characterized my relationship with the then President Obasanjo.

“He ordered that all my security be withdrawn, this certainly calls for fear, and that was the day I felt humiliated. But I summoned the courage to say ‘if human beings who are my security are removed, God is the ultimate security.’ After the withdrawal of my security, I drove myself to the village without security and nothing happened to me. Like I said earlier, I felt humiliated on the day the security was withdrawn, but I looked up to God. Men can try to humiliate you, but with God, you are confident,” Anyim declared.

Prominent among those who attended the book presentation were: Reverend Father Mathew Hassan Kukah, officials of the Northern States, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Kaduna State Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, Gubernatorial candidate in the last elections, Tom Mai-Taimaki Mai-Yashi.
The 275 page book centers on the need for Christians to be righteous when they are in positions of authority and to strive to correct leaders who they think are corrupt.

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