15th December, 2010
Frontline nationalist and statesman, Pa Anthony Enahoro is dead. He was 87.
Alfred Ilenre, aÂ close political ally of the late politician wept this morning asÂ he told P.M.NEWS that Pa Enahoro died at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital,Â where he was rushed after his fragile health got worse.
Many Nigerians who learnt of the death of the elder statesman this morning thankedÂ God for his life, saying he lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation..
Mr. Wale Okunniyi, Publicity Secretary, Pro National Conference, PRONACO and one ofÂ Enahoroâ€™s political associates said the demise of Enahoro â€œis very destabilising atÂ this period when the nation is marching towards restructuring.
â€œHe was the icon of restructuring in Nigeria. He trained us to fight for theÂ progress of this country. He was the strongest nationalist ever.
â€œHis death is unbelievable to us and it is very destabilising. We will continue toÂ fight for what he believed in. He taught us a lot of things in the struggle to makeÂ our nation better and we will remember them,â€ he said.
Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, also lamented Enahoroâ€™s demise, saying he was the lastÂ of the pre-independence nationalists to pass away. He wished him a happy rest.
National Publicity Secretary, Afenifere Renewal Group ARG, Yinka Odumakin, describedÂ the late politician as a nationalist in deeds and truth.
According to him, Enahoro had paid his due. â€œIt is unfortunate that he did not liveÂ to see the Nigeria of his dream,â€ he added.
Human rights activist, Bamidele Aturu, described Enahoroâ€™s death as sad andÂ unfortunate, saying: â€œWe will miss him. He wrote his name in gold when he moved theÂ motion for Nigeriaâ€™s independence in 1953. I condole with his family.â€
National President, Campaign for Democracy, Dr. JoeOkei-Odumakin said: â€œWe mourn theÂ passing away of Enahoro. His death is a great loss to the human rights movement inÂ Nigeria. He struggled for the rule of law and the promotion of democracy.
â€œOur regret is that a new Nigeria still remained in the offing till he died. We willÂ continue the stuggle from where he stopped. May his soul rest in peace.â€
Founder, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Comrade Debo Adeniran, describedÂ Enahoroâ€™s death as a serious blow to the struggle for a new society. â€œEnahoro wasÂ the father of Nigeriaâ€™s independence.
â€œHe started the stuggle to free us from the colonial masters. His dreams could notÂ be realised in his lifetime. We must stand up for his ideals and reject unworthyÂ leaders. We will for ever remember him,â€ he stated.
The late Enahoro was an accomplished journalist, author, publisher, politician andÂ elder statesman.
He was born in Uromi, Ishan, Edo State on 22 July, 1923. He later became an EdoÂ traditional title holder of Adolo of Uromi.
He attended Government Schools in Uromi and Owo and later Kingâ€™s College, Lagos.
At the age of 21 in 1944, he became the youngest editor till date when he edited inÂ Ibadan, Southern Nigeria Defender.
He later moved to Kano as the Editor of Daily Comet, 1945 â€“ 1949. He was AssociateÂ Editor, West African Pilot, based in Lagos; Editor-in-Chief, Morning Star, 1950-53.
On the political front, Chief Enahoro was a foundation member of Chief ObafemiÂ Awolowo-led Action Group political party. From 1950-53, he was Minister of HomeÂ Affairs, Transport and later Information of the Western Region and Mid-West AffairsÂ leader of the House from 1954 â€“1959.
He later became a Federal Commissioner for Information, Culture, Youths, Sports,Â Cooperatives and Labour, 1967 â€“ 1974.
Chief Enahoro was the Publisher/Chairman of World Publications Limited, publishersÂ of Sunday World, The Weekender and Womanâ€™s Vista magazine based in Benin City.
During the struggle for Nigeriaâ€™s independence from Britain in the 1950s, EnahoroÂ attended all constitutional talks preceeding her independence in October 1, 1960.
On 31 March, 1953, he rattled the British colonical masters when he moved theÂ historical motion for Nigeriaâ€™s independence at the London constitutionalÂ conference.
During the emergency period in the Western Region in 1962, he went into politicalÂ exile in the U.K. He was extradited and became what he called a â€˜fugitive offenderâ€™Â in his memoir of the regionâ€™s political crisis.
Aged 87, Enahoro was the Chairman of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, theÂ group that pushed the late military dictator, General Sanni Abacha out of power.
Alongside NADECO chieftains like Pa Adesanya, Ayo Opadokun, Enahoro was tear-gassedÂ in December 1995. He broke down.
When the hassles died down, Pa Enahoro later told journalists: â€œI wept. Yes, I weptÂ for a country that does not know that her citizens have a right to live.â€
The late nationalist was reported to have problems with his breathing on Monday, 1Â November this year. He was rushed to the intensive care unit of the University ofÂ Benin Teaching Hospital for medical attention. The rumour mill then went to townÂ that the foremost nationalist had passed on.
Though his admission into the hospital was confirmed to journalists by a familyÂ source who spoke under the condition of anonymity, the authorities of the UBTH andÂ the Edo State Government denied the death story, confirming that Enahoro wasÂ hospitalised but he was still alive.
He made his last appearance while alive on the front pages of newspapers on 2Â November, 2010.