BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR
LAGOS— From the lips of eminent Nigerians, associates, faithful and former classmates came torrents of eulogies and tributes for late elder statesman and frontline nationalist, Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro, whose seven-day burial programme began Monday in Lagos.
The venue was King’s College, Lagos, his alma matter. Enahoro, who died at 87 on December 15, 2010, had at different times attended Government School, Uromi, Government School, Owo and King’s College, Lagos.
Eminent personalities who extolled the virtues of the late icon of pro-democracy struggles and urged Nigerians to emulate his exemplary conduct included his former classmate at King’s College, Pa Adedapo Adeniran; former Finance Minister, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu; former Information Mninster, John Nwodo; Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, SCIA, Dr. Lateef Adegbite; Amb. Segun Olusola; Niger Delta leader, Ms Ankio Briggs; and Chairman of Arewa Consultative Youth Forum, AYCF,, Alhaji Usman Shettima.
The rest were Chief Olawale Okunniyi, spokesman for the late patriarch and Ogun State governorship candidate, Mrs Olugbon Hawlicks; Mr. Nnamdi Agomo of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB; Principal of King’s College, Otunba Dele Olapeju; and Mr. Olukayode Salako (Fasholamania group).
They spoke yesterday at the inauguration of the Anthony Enahoro Legacy Commission at King’s College, a ceremony that kick-started the one week-long burial ceremony.
Today, according to a burial programme signed by Ken Enahoro for the family, the stage would shift to Onikan Stadium, Lagos where the Enahoro family in collaboration with Western Region associates, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Pro-National Conference Organisations (PRONACO) groups and the Lagos State Government would hold a valedictory interdenominational service and day of tributes in honour Pa Enahoro.
Other activities are also expected to be held in Benin, the Edo State Capital tomorrow, where the Edo State Government would host day of national tributes.
On Thursday, there will be mass/valedictory prayers from 3.45 p.m at Enahoro’s Benin GRA residence.
On Friday, a funeral mass will hold at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Uromi at noon to be followed by burial and reception.
The ceremony will continue on Saturday with Esan cultural dances and socials at Uromi country home and rounded off with a Thanksgiving Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Benin on Sunday at 9 a.m.
Enahoro’s immortal legacies – Kalu
Eulogising Enahoro, Dr. Kalu, who chaired the King’s College event, said the late statesman was one of Nigeria’s great men and had earned a permanent place in the history of the country.
“Pa Enahoro was one of our great men. He was one of those who fought for Nigeria’s independence. He moved the first motion for independence. We are proud of the legacies he left behind. He fought for the enthronement of true federalism and democracy. Enahoro is worthy to be emulated. He has earned his place in history and Enahoro started from the hallowed halls of the King’s College. That is why we chose King’s College as the venue for this event,” he said.
Enahoro led a distinguished life —Adegbite
Also speaking, Dr. Adegbite described Pa Enahoro as Nigeria’s most accomplished parliamentarian, who died a disappointed man because he could not realise his dream of a democratic and developed Nigeria.
His words: “Enahoro led a distinguished life. He was a highly successful man from school through journalism and becoming minister first in the Western Region and later at the federal level. He was the most accomplished parliamentarian. He died a disappointed man because he did not realise his ultimate dream of a changed Nigeria.
His ideals will live forever. Rulers of Nigeria prevented him from realising the dream. He should be remebered as a man who lived for Nigeria, wanted the best for Nigeria and was committed to Nigeria, being great.”
Enahoro’s track records guided me as Information Minister – Nwodo
For Nwodo, the late Enahoro, who was his father’s friend, would be remembered as a great journalist, politician, minister and his rare qualities of seeking the wealth of integrity instead of material wealth, his courage of commitment and patriotism.
He held positions that would have made him a wealthy man but he chose wealth of integrity. He had opportunities for self aggrandisement but he chose to be patriotic.”
More importantly, Nwodo said several years after Enahoro left the Information Ministry as minister, his principles still guided new occupants of the position.
“Enahoro was Information Minister 30 years before I became minister in 1998 but his principles and ways of disseminating information was a great inspiration for me when I became Information Minister,” he said.
SNC remains the key —Annkio Briggs
On her part, Annkio Briggs, who recalled that she met Enahoro during the PRONACO days, said the country still needed to convoke a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) championed by Enahoro if she must remain afloat because “convening of SNC is the only thing that can allow Nigerians decide how they want to live.”