ANTHONY ENAHORO (1923-2010)
One of the surviving nationalists and founding fathers that fought for Nigeria's independence from colonial rule, Chief Anthony Eremosele Enahoro, has passed on. Enahoro, 87, died on December 15, 2010, after a protracted battle with illness. He was one of the foremost anti-colonial and pro-democracy activists in the country.
No doubt, this death has robbed Nigeria of a highly committed, experienced and principled politician, patriot and statesman. It is a pity that the Adolor of Uromi and Okaku'o of Edoland died at a time the nation he helped to build is still tottering and has not lived up to the expectations and dreams of its founding fathers.
All through his life, the deceased was in the forefront of the struggle to ensure that Nigeria realized its manifest destiny in the comity of nations. In all his actions and pronouncements, the late elder statesman worked and advocated for a truly united Nigerian federation where the component parts and indeed the citizens can pursue their potentials without any let or hindrance.
Since his demise, Nigerians have extolled Enahoro's numerous achievements and virtues. Described as a wonderful freedom fighter, the country will miss his defence for human rights and freedom, the ethos he stood for in his over six decades of active political life and struggle. He had a distinguished career that cut across the media, politics, civil service and pro-democracy movement.
Born on July 22, 1923 at Uromi, Edo State, the deceased was educated at Government School, Uromi, Government School, Owo, and King's College, Lagos. From 1944-1953, he was the editor of Southern Nigeria Defender, Daily Comet, and West African Pilot, as well as the editor-in-chief of Morning Star.
As a foundation member of Action Group; member Western House of Assembly, and Federal House of Representatives, he is credited with having moved the motion for self-government, and attended all constitutional talks preceding independence in 1960. He participated actively in the nation's political scene until his death.
Enahoro was Minister of Home Affairs in the old Western Region and Opposition spokesman on Foreign Policy and Legislative Affairs in the Federal House of Representatives from 1959-1963. Detained during the emergency period in Western Nigeria in 1962, he went into political exile in the UK and was later extradited and imprisoned in Nigeria for treason.
He was released by the military government in 1966 and became the Federal Commissioner for Information and Labour, as well as Federal Commissioner for Special Duties. From 1978-1983, he became a member of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
Enahoro received the national honour of Commander, Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 1982 and honorary DSc degree of the University of Benin in 1972. He was also chairman of the Movement for National Reformation (MNR), President, World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture (1972-75) as well as the Pro-National Conference Organization (PRONACO). He published his political treatise, the Fugitive Offender, in 1965.
During the dark days of military rule, especially during the annulment of June 12, 1993 election believed to have been won by the late business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola, Enahoro joined other like-minded people to form the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a pro-democracy group that fought the military to a standstill until democracy was restored on May 29, 1999.
The deceased would be remembered for his doggedness, courage, forthrightness and principled stand on national issues.
We believe that the only way to preserve the memories of such a hero is to ensure that the virtues he lived for are entrenched in our individual and national lives. Let government revert to true federalism which the late politician fought for.
We commiserate with the political elite, his family and all Nigerians on the great loss occasioned by this icon's demise. May God grant his soul eternal repose.