Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar Mairago were household names in the country. They made significant impacts in government circles as well as in the political sphere in the past. ABDULLAHI M. GULLOMA in this piece asks where they are now.
Anyim Pius Anyim
Senator Anyim Pius Anyim is, indeed, an intelligent, humble and courageous person whose amenability and understanding of how politics is played in Nigeria saw him rise quickly in politics.
As young as he then was in 1999, Anyim had already put himself in good political stead and, by so doing, ensured he won a Senate seat during the 1999 general elections and, ultimately, presided over a sophisticated National Assembly and a political clique within the giant Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Anyim was elected President of the Senate in August 2000, after Dr. Chuba Okadigbo had been impeached, and he held office until May 2003. The period under which Anyim served as the President of the Senate was characterised by political turmoil.
Still, as a 40-year-old, Anyim, a man who many people never believed could become prominent, let alone become a number three citizen, used his skills, political acumen and judicial prowess to successfully steer the murky waters of the parliamentary politics and, in the process, recorded a feat which is clearly unequalled in the history of Senate administration in Nigeria.
Interestingly, after the drama that characterised his predecessor’s tenure, Anyim’s emergence as President of the Senate confounded not a few political watchers. He brought stability to the Senate, as its president, at a time when the Senate was known for its superior power game. He survived a number of plots to impeach him.
However, the disquiet between him and President Olusegun Obasanjo, which many people believe arose as a result of his principled stance on matters relating to politics and national development, may have accounted for Anyim not seeking re-election after the expiration of his first tenure in 2003.
Born on February 19, 1961, in Ishiagu, Ivo local government of Ebonyi state, Anyim attended Ishiagu High School (St. John Bosco), Federal School of Arts and Science in Aba, and Imo State University, Uturu. For his mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Anyim was posted to Sokoto state.
In 1992, Anyim became the Head of Protection Department at the National Commission for Refugees, a job that included provision of legal services and political protection for refugees. Working in that capacity has led Anyim to travel to many parts of the world.
In 1998, he joined the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP), winning a Senate election. Unfortunately, Anyim, like his other elected colleagues could not make it to the Senate in that year because the political transition arrangement, which was spearheaded by the regime of the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha, was aborted.
Gen. Sani Abacha died on June 8, 1998, and, with his death, came the nullification of all elections’ results and the abortion of the entire political transition programme by the succeeding regime of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Anyim was a candidate in the elections for the chairmanship of the PDP in January 2008 and remained undeterred in his determination to lead his party. However, in the end Prince Vincent Ogbulafor was appointed PDP chairman.
As a nationalist, Anyim led a delegation of 41 eminent Nigerians in January 2010 that called on President Umaru Yar’Adua to urgently transmit a letter of his incapacitation to the National Assembly to salvage the nation’s democracy from danger, and praised the Senate when the upper legislative chamber passed a resolution on February 9, 2010, to make the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan serve as Acting President.
In May 2011, Anyim was appointed as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) by the then President Goodluck Jonathan. Owing to the backdrop of the period he was appointed, when the late Yar’Adua had just then died, the government was still finding its feet and regional politicking rented the air, Anyim used his political sagacity to stabilise the government.
Anyim was appointed by Jonathan to head the Centenary celebrations of the proclamation of Nigeria as a nation by colonial Britain, a task which like others before it, he performed creditably.
However, since this enigmatic politician and excellent administrator ended his national assignment serving as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, little or nothing is being heard about him. Where is Anyim Pius Anyim now?
Yusuf Hamisu Mairago
As an accomplished lawyer, politician, administrator and businessman, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, popularly known as Mairago, is no doubt a man whose head fits many caps.
A graduate of Bayero University, Kano, Mairago has held a number of appointments accustomed to living life in a public glare. He held high-profile offices in both the public and private sectors. He was a Kaduna state Commissioner for Health and Social Development in 1993; Director-General of Kaduna state Bureau for Lands and Survey in 1994, and Kaduna state Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning in 1998. He also served as the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in 2000.
Over the course of his life as a businessman and politician, Mairago is someone who realises that the world is full of infinite possibilities and countless opportunities, but one’s life and career are finite, meaning one has a limited time to find what one is searching for and make a mark on the world. He perfectly understands that time is limited, so ‘don’t waste it,’ and he never wasted his time.
On the way to building his business empire, Mairago successfully designed and operates a robust organisational structure and developed effective and efficient operational processes that coupled to place his business organisations on a very sound pedestal and make them goal-driven and proactive.
Mairago is a member of various professional organisations such as the Nigeria Bar Association, International Law Societies (London), the International Bar Association, the International Association for Energy Economists, and many others. He is an Eisenhower Fellow (EF) and a recipient of the National Honours of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
In the field of politics, like in business, Mairago equally left an indelible mark. In his heydays as a politician, his was a familiar name in every household in Kaduna state. In fact, talking about his popularity, Mairago did more than enough to earn it through actions and statements that still reverberate and could still be felt in a number of ways in Kaduna state.
Mairago’s political qualities are backed by his skills, experiences, intelligence, integrity, and instincts to achieve his goals. He is praised for reminding his colleagues in politics that first and foremost, the best quality of a politician is honesty and fear of God.
He is also remembered for his statement that ‘a faithful and effective politician is trustworthy and reliable; he or she must capture the essence of truth, display sincerity, candor and practice what he or she preaches.’
In his working life, Mairago is known for making decisions and accepting responsibility for his actions and his words. The same is true in his dealing with the people. He makes promises and keeps those promises.
He is, in fact, somebody that people can rely upon. He loves people with all his heart, might, mind, soul and strives to help them as a true mark of a responsible politician.
As a remarkable reminder of his political activism, many today reminisce on how Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar shook and shaped the dynamic Kaduna state political landscape in the build-up to the 2003 governorship elections.
However, like an anticipated and beautiful summer rain, soon after his active participation in politics in 2003, Mairago has disappeared from the political radar, prompting many people to ask: where is that benevolent politician?