EMINENT Nigerians, including former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (retd), on Wednesday paid glowing tributes to the late nationalist and elder statesman, Chief Anthony Enahoro, as his body journeys to his final resting place, with a call for his vision of full democracy in Nigeria to be actualised.
Chief Enahoro died on December 15, 2010 at the age of 87 years.
The tribute ceremony, which took place at Ogbe Lawn Tennis Hard Court, at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, was organised by the Edo State government, in honour of the pro-democracy icon, who was the Adolor of Uromi and the Okaku’o of Edoland.
Some of the other dignitaries present on the occasion were the host governor, Comrade Adams Oshiom-hole; Delta State governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan; Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko; former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi; former governor of Edo state, Chief John Odigwe-Oyegun and former deputy governor of Edo State, Reverend Peter Obadan.
General Gowon, who was chairman on the occasion, described the late Enahoro as “Nigeria’s great son and emancipator,” just as he called on Nigerians to continue to give the vision of Enahoro a consideration.
He said Enahoro was an exceptionally gifted Nigerian democrat, who doggedly defended Nigeria’s unity and fought for its true democracy.
Gowon, however, said the late nationalist departed with regret, adding that was he was not able to see a Nigeria of his dream.
“No tribute, brief or long, no encomium, expansive or restricted, is enough to acknowledge his achievement in life and his greatness,“ Gowon said.
In his tribute, Governor Oshiomhole called on Nigerians to fight their oppressors as taught by Chief Enahoro, saying that “he taught us how to engage, not how to beg. He believes that if something is wrong, it must be challenged openly.”
Governor Oshiomhole said if a man went to prison for what he believed in, it was actually those who imprisoned him who were in prison.
On his part, Governor Mimiko of Ondo State said Enahoro was “a frontline nationalist, a pro-democracy activist and cerebral tactician with a highly orga-nised thought-process. Pa Enahoro was a dogged fighter for the entrenchment of true federalism, an advocate for an egalitarian society, founded upon justice and fair play and he was a staunch believer in the sovereignty of the people as the organic basis for their constitution.”
Mimiko also said whether as a Zikist, an Awoist, an information minister in the Gowon cabinet or, later as arrowhead of the progressives against military juntas, Enahoro’s contributions to political strategy, his documented expositions on extant political issues, his boldness and the intellectual rigour underscored the clarity of his dispositions, which generations of political historians must find significant in the democratic evolution of Nigeria.”
In his tribute, Governor Uduaghan of Delta said ideas propagated by Chief Enahoro, especially fiscal federalism founded on ethnic nationalities, were worthy of consideration.
In his tribute, entitled “A democrat’s exit and a mission accomplished,” Governor Fayemi of Ekiti said the clarity of Chief Enahoro’s vision for Nigeria was infectious.
To Chief Odigwe-Oyegun, Enahoro was a man of undisputed courage and tremendous vision, adding that the democracy Nigerians enjoyed today was traceable to the vision of Chief Enahoro.
Other dignitaries on the occasion were the Niger State governor, Alhaji Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Chief David Edebiri; Chief Ayo Adebanjo; the governor of Osun State, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola; Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd); Chief Ayo Opadokun; Chief Frank Kokori and Professor Itse Sagey.
SOURCE: Nigerian Tribune