Ike Ekweremadu, James Ibori Mourn Late Tony Anenih
Tony Anenih: We’ve lost a political colossus, kingmaker, says Ekweremadu As James Ibori calls him master political strategist
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has expressed deep grief over the demise of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, describing him as a pan Nigerian and patriot who served the nation to the best of his ability.
Writing on his Facebook page and other social media handles, @iamekweremadu, he said: “Chief Anineh contributed so much to deepening our democracy and setting the nation on the path of progress at the end of many decades of military rule.
“He was a humble leader, fine public administrator, political kingmaker, a colossus, master strategist, and a political oracle, who was very vast in political engineering.
“Iyasele was a courageous man, and a man of few words, who meant whatever he said and said only what he meant. He will be sorely missed”.
Ekweremadu prayed God to grant the deceased eternal repose and to his family, the government and people of Edo State, and indeed the nation the inner strength to bear the irreparable loss.
On his part, Chief James Onanefe Ibori has described the death of Chief Anthony Akhakon Anenih as the end of a remarkable era in Nigerian politics.
He said the late Chief Tony Anenih was in a class of his own as he was almost unsurpassed in political strategy for four decades.
In a press statement signed by Tony Eluemunor, his Media Assistant, Ibori said that Chief Anenih was depository of political wisdom, a library of contemporary Nigerian political history and the nation’s foremost political tactician for decades.
Ibori said that Anenih’s life should be studied like a book by anyone who wants to go far not just in Nigerian politics, but in life generally, because he drew himself up by his own boot straps and remained almost unequalled as a political leader and pathfinder since the 1970s till his retirement after the last general elections.
He said: “Anenih was a self-made man who did not have the benefit of attending a secondary school but studied at home for his West African School Certificate while he was already in the Police Force.
“With that certificate in his pockets, the sky was his limit as he attended the Police College in Ikeja, and merited to be selected for further training in the Bramshill Police College, Basingstoke, England in 1966 and the International Police Academy, Washington DC in 1970.
“Perhaps as a sign of what was to come, he served as a Police Orderly to the first Governor-General of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He retired as a Commissioner of Police in 1975.
Ibori said that Anenih first served notice that he was a master political tactician while State Chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) from 1981 to 1983, he spearheaded the late Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia’s election as civilian Governor of Bendel State.
When democracy returned, he was National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1992 and 1993, and masterminded the election of Chief M. K. O. Abiola as President.
Yet, it was in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he was nationally recognised as “Mr. Fix It”, a tag the Daily Independent newspaper actually gave him.
From 1999 until his retirement in 2015, he played great roles in the party as Minister of Works, National Leader, Chairman of BoT, etc, helping to decide the political direction of Nigeria. There is no doubt that very few Nigerians have played the masterly roles that Anenih routinely played.
Ibori said: “I was lucky to have been very close to Chief Anenih as he took me under his wings. I learnt a lot from him.
“Even in my darkest moments, he believed in me. His memory will ever remain green in my heart.
“May God grant him eternal rest and grant his family the fortitude to bear this massive loss.”