Anyim Pius Anyim, a former president of the Nigerian Senate, has joined the ‘elite’ league “open letter” writers headed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. In his letter “The State of Insecurity in the Nation”, dated May 03 2021, Anyim wanted President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a panel to “interrogate the causes of all non-violent agitations” in the country. The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation said the commission should be modelled after the Willink Commission of 1957, named after its chairman Harry Willink.
Anyim claimed that commission produced “a far-reaching” report after taking extensive hearings of the complaints and suggestions from Nigerians. According to him, no other document in the history of Nigeria has had a far-reaching impact on our political structure such as did the Willink report. The former Senate President said it had become apparent that the foundation of the various agitations in Nigeria today was that the comfort provided at independence by the Willink Commission’s report was no longer working. “I make bold to recommend that Mr. President should make history by empaneling another commission of inquiry to inquire into the violent and non-violent agitations in Nigeria and make recommendations on immediate, short and long term solutions as a way of first de escalating the rising tension in the land and a process for the renewal of our march to nationhood,” he wrote.
“It is important to note that in a democracy, no action is deemed successful or completed until the buy-in-of the people is secured through a democratic process. This buy-in- is an imperative that is yet to be pursued in the fight against violent agitations in Nigeria. I must say that as long as the people are not part of the process of finding solutions to conflicts, a permanent solution will be a mirage.”
Anyim said he was forced to write an open letter to Buhari because the President didn’t get an earlier private letter sent to him. “Mr. President, you may recall that on the 5th of October 2018, I had an audience with you in your office. In that meeting, with your then Chief of Staff, the late Mallam Abba Kyari, in attendance, we touched on a number of issues including insecurity in the country and about which you directed that I should do a short brief on my suggestion and forward it to your Chief of Staff. Mr. President may wish to know that I did as you directed and submitted my suggestion to your then Chief of Staff on the 20th of October, 2018.”
There are a number of significant differences between this Anyim letter and those penned by a sanctimonious Obasanjo. Firstly, whereas the latter’s letters were unsolicited, Anyim’s “short brief” was requested by President Buhari, if we must believe Anyim. But why would anybody not want to believe him!
Secondly, while Obasanjo wrote his open letters on the spur of the moment, Anyim took the whole of three years to release his very first. It means he gave it a lot of thought. Because of that the language was respectful, measured and logical. Obasanjo’s were insulting, disrespectful and presumptuous. Anyim’s letter was subject specific while Obasanjo’s letters were variegated and long winding, confusing even.
What more, Anyim’s letter did not indicate he considered him to be a Mr Know-it-all. He appealed to Buhari to consult widely in the search for a solution to the nation’s insecurity challenge. Not so Obasanjo. It is he and he alone that has all the answers. A person with that kind of attitude cannot be trusted. Buhari is right to keep OBJ at arm’s length.