One day after he announced the first appointment of his administration, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday swore in the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim with an explanation that Mr Anyim was chosen after a careful selection process that was anchored on high national expectations.
Speaking shortly after the swearing-in exercise at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Mr Jonathan also commended the outgoing SGF, Yayale Ahmed for his service to Nigeria. Mr Anyim will coordinate government policies, ministries, extra-ministerial departments and agencies, including the Cabinet Office.
“Let me on behalf of the federal government express our sincere appreciation to the outgoing secretary, Yayale Ahmed for his service to Nigeria,” Mr Jonathan said. “Yayale Ahmed served our country in many capacities, including federal permanent secretary, head of the civil service of the federation, minister of defence and finally as Secretary to the Government of the Federation. He is one of the most experienced public officers that Nigeria has produced. He brought that experience to bear in the service of his fatherland.
“As Yayale bows out, Anyim Pius Anyim is stepping into his shoes after a careful selection process that was anchored on high national expectations. In selecting Anyim, we took into cognisance his records of public service, his career as a senator, his role as the president of the Senate and his leadership skills that our nation need at this time. Our nation needs men and women who can match words with action, leaders who are ready to learn and lead at the same time.” Mr Jonathan said the SGF is part of a team of champions that his government is putting in place to drive its transformation agenda. The president further urged the newly sworn-in man to bring his experience to bear in the service of Nigeria.
“The challenge before you, therefore, is to ensure high integrity, accountability and openness in the conduct of government’s business,” Mr Jonathan said. “Nigeria must have a government that truly places itself in the service of its citizens. All of us must together commit ourselves to the entrenchment of good government at all levels. We must live by example in words and deeds. We must show the people that this time around, we are determined. You are called to serve at the most challenging time, a time that we are determined to transform Nigeria; a time that we are determined to do things differently, a time that we are calling for sacrifice from all public office holders and the private sector; a time that we are calling on all Nigerians to stop lamenting and join government to transform our country.”
The president called on Mr Anyim to, as part of the team, join hands with government to alleviate the sufferings of the people, create jobs, provide electricity and deliver on the electoral promises. “These are the most urgent tasks before this government. Anyim, the time for transformation has begun, welcome on board,” he said.
Although he is one of three men mostly linked to the job following the decision of the PDP to zone the position of the SGF to the South East, Mr. Anyim said he did not anticipate his appointment and that God had his own plans.
Asked what he was bringing to the table, Mr Anyim said he would work within the limits of the responsibilities given him.
“I will fit into the vision of the President. I will help to drive his vision to the best of my abilities,” he said.
President of the pan-Igbo cultural group, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ralph Uwechue also said the appointment was sign of a new beginning.
“We consulted heavily amongst ourselves and the governors,” he said. “We contacted the president that if we are having this position, it is important that we help to suggest the names of people he could work with. That was how the list submitted by Ohanaeze came out. The person on top of that list has just been sworn-in by the president himself. The position is a very important one, not only for the Ndigbo but for the whole of Nigeria. Pius Ayim is young; for somebody of his age to have quickly risen to the position of the Senate President shows that the young man has something in him and we believe that that thing in him is going to flower more and more when he becomes the SGF for the benefit of the whole of Nigeria and the community where he comes from,” he said.