By Gabriel Enogholose, Benin
Nigerians in their thousands converged yesterday at Uromi, Edo State to bid farewell to the late nationalist, Chief Anthony Enahoro as he was laid to rest.School children waving the Nigerian flag, men and women lined the Uromi –Irrua road to welcome the stream of visitors who came to attend the funeral of one of Nigeria’s most remarkable statesmen.
Chief Enahoro’s body arrived at St. Anthony Catholic Cathedral, Uromi at about 12.45pm and was received by a procession of clerics led by the Bishop of Uromi Diocese of the Catholic Church, Dr. Augustine Akabueze for the requiem mass.
Also, on hand to receive the body was the Archbishop of the Lagos Metropolitan See, Cardinal Anthony Cardinal Okojie, who is a cousin to late Chief Enahoro and Archbishop Patrick Ekpu, former Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Benin.
Rev. Father Cosmos Ojemen of the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt who said homily listed three ways in which Chief Enahoro should be immortalized if the ideals and dreams which he fought and died for must be sustained by Nigerians and those yet unborn.
According to him, Nigeria should ensure that the April 2011 general elections are free and fair so that the incoming government will be truly legitimate.
“As tempers are already high in the country about the salaries, allowances and the life- style of political office holders, they should decide not to increase their salaries for the next four years.”
Let such fund s be channeled to the private sector for the establishment of industries for the employment of teeming army of graduates who are unemployed”.
“Let there be sensibility to the feelings and yearnings of Nigerians by the political class and lastly, let there be the establishment of a Research institute in Nigerian institution of higher learning for the study of Chief Enahoro transcendental political values which he represents in Nigeria and indeed, the whole of Africa”.
He described Chief Enahoro as very diligent and committed as a journalist and parliamentarian, who at the age of 30, moved the motion for Nigeria to be independent in 1956.
“As a statesman and the conscience of the nation, he led a principled life, he was easily available and accessible and uphold the very principles of the early politicians that fought for Nigeria’s independence”, he said.
“He took to the street at the age of 73 in solidarity with the masses; he stood against corruption which has become endemic in the country and would have become wealth if he had wanted to compromise, he stood against dictatorship totally whether of the military, civilian or individual. He was a paradigm of freedom and age never deterred him from fighting for the truth. He spent his life fighting for Nigeria”.
Governor Adams Oshimhole said on the occasion that the state government would establish a research institute at the Ambrose Alli University for research into the ideas and political believes of the late political icon, adding that the sum of N50million would be set aside for its take off. Besides, he said that each local government council in the state would contribute N3 million to the research institute.
In his address, eldest son of the late Enahoro, Ken Enahoro asked the state government to name the technical college in the town after his late father.