Enahoro, Exit Of A True Patriot

Born the eldest of twelve children in Uromi in Edo State of Nigeria on the 22nd of July, 1923, Enahoro remains one of Nigeria’s foremost anti-colonialist and pro-democracy activists. Educated at the Government School Uromi, Government School Owo and King’s College, Lagos, Chief Enahoro became the editor of the Southern Nigerian Defender Newspaper, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21, thus becoming Nigeria’s youngest editor ever. Apart from being the youngest editor of a national newspaper at such a tender age – a record which remains unbroken in the history of Nigeria’s journalism – the history of Nigeria’s match into independence is also not complete without a mention of Enahoro.

His career as a politician began as a foundation member of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group (AG) party. He was Secretary and Chairman, at various times, of Ishan Division Council; member Western House of Assembly; and later member, Federal House of Representatives in 1951.

As a member of the Federal house of representative, Chief Anthony Enahoro moved the first ever motion for self-government for Nigeria in 1956. This motion which did not go down well with the Northerners led to the Kano riot of 1953, one of the first ever political crisis in Nigeria.

He later became Minister of Home Affairs in the old Western Region, and emerged as the opposition spokesman on foreign policy and legislative affairs in the Federal House of Representatives, 1959-63.

During the Nigerian crisis that followed the 1966 coups, Chief Enahoro was the leader of the then Mid-West delegation to the Ad Hoc Constitutional Conference in Lagos. He later became Federal commissioner (Minister) for Information and Labour under the General Yakubu Gowon Military Government, 1967-74 and Federal Commissioner for Special Duties, 1975. He later became member of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, 1978-83. He was the president, World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture, 1972-75.

When in 1993 progressive forces in the country decided to form a coalition to challenge the military government of General Sani Abacha over the incarceration of Chief MKO Abiola and the struggle for the mandate of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged to have been won by Abiola, Enahoro was at the driving seat of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) as the chairman of the group.

It is remarkable to point out that Enahoro, both in his life as a politician and in journalism, was a goal getter, especially in difficult situations.

Just like how he championed the call for Nigeria’s independence, the NADECO being led by Enahoro created the pathway through which Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999.

Chief Anthony Enahoro until his death believed strongly that Nigerians were not getting the true feel of democracy. Enahoro speaking at a rally in the commercial capital, Lagos, after flying home from the United States where he spent close to four years in exile said Nigerians were not enjoying true democracy despite the fact that the military are no longer in power. Above all, said Mr Enahoro, Nigeria’s diverse ethnic groups are not given recognition under the present constitution, which was written by the military.

It was time, he said, to contemplate radical change where each ethnic nationality would have much more freedom.

‘We must not fear radicalism or radical ideas. If you agree with my vision of Nigeria as a nation of nationalities, then surely we must see that the future lies in Nigeria becoming a union of nationalities.

As it is legendary of members of Awolowo’s political dynasty, Enahoro lived a spartan lifestyle of extreme discipline and self-restraint hoping for a better Nigeria. In fact, up to the time that he breathed his last on Wednesday, December 15, Enahoro was actively involved in the creation of a new mega progressive political party in Nigeria.

It is remarkable to point out that Enahoro, both in his life as a politician and in journalism, was a goal getter, especially in difficult situations.

SOURCE: Weekend Observer

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