ENAHORO, Chief Anthony

Born July 22, 1923

Uromi,Edo State




The Quintessential Politician by(Tunde Babawale). Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro is one of the few surviving nationalists* politi cians who fought vigorously for Niger- •• ia's independence from colonial rule. Born on 22 July 1923 in Uromi, Edo State^Enahoro began his life as a journalisti Atthe young ageof twenty-one, he became the editor ofone ofthe late Dr.Nnamdi Azikiwe?snewspapers,SouthernNige rian Defender; and in 1945, at twenty-three, he moved to theDailyCometas editor. He was active as a politician, whose penetrat ing views on colonialism earned him the:wrath of the then British colonial officials. Chief Enahoro was a foundation member ofthe Action Group, one of Nigeria's three leading political parties in the days ofthenationaliststruggle.Theothertwo partieswere the Northern People's Congress (NPC), led by late SirAhmadu Bello, the Sardauna ofSokoto; and the National Council for Nigerian Citizens(NCNC), led by late Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. Although he made bold imprint on the turf of journalism, ChiefEnahoroacquired even greaterrec ognition as a politician. He was indeed in the front line ofthe struggle for independence in Nigeria. On 31 March 1953, Chief Enahoro moved a motion in the Nigerian House ofrepresentatives in which he urged "that this House accepts as a pri mary political objective the attainment ofself-gov ernment for Nigeria in 1956". Although self-gov ernment was not granted to Nigeria with the imme diacy requested by ChiefEnahoro, it actually came sooner than expected as the Southern part ofthe coun try attained a self-governing status in 1957. The North attained the same status in 1959, while the entire country was granted independence on 1October 1960. ChiefAnthony Enahoro was a highly respected member ofthe Western Nigeria government headed by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He later be camea member ofthe Federal House ofRepresenta tives between 1959 and 1963. At this time, Chief Enahoro served as opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, internal affairs and legislative affairs. Chief Enahoro remains one of the foremost advocates offederalism in Nigeria. His position has been that a federal form of government is the most desirable for Nigeria. In 1951,Chief Enahoro called a conference in Sapele where he demanded the creation ofa Benin-Delta State. In 1952-and 1953;he re affirmedthisdemand and in 1955,the Western House ofAssembly unanimously passed a* resolution sup porting the creation ofthe Benin-Delta State. The name was•however, changed to the Mid-West State and later Bendei State. Recently, it was split into Edo and Delta states. With an unwavering consistency, Chief Enahorohas been unequivocal in his denunciations of practices thatrun counter to1thetenets offederal ism inNigeria. Triis position put him onacollision course withfNigeria's successive military govern ments, especially between 1985 and 1998. Although Chief Enahoro served as federal commissioner for information in the then military regime ofGeneral Yakubu Gowon, this did not stop him from criticiz ing the evils perpetrated by Nigeria's military gov ernments. He particularly condemned the military's disrespect for citizens' rights, its subversion offed eralism, and its total disregard for democracy. This advocacy earned Chief Anthony Enahoro a fourmonth detention in 1994 by the despotic regime of late General Sani Abacha. Enahoro left Nigeria in 1996, and proceeded on self-exile in the United States. When it became clear that the Abacha regime had earmarked him for assassination, Enahoro left Nigeria and was given political asylum in the United States. One of the enduring testimonies to his commitment to federalism in Nigeria was his formation - along with others like late Mokwugo Okoye, Dr. Olu Onagoruwa, etc. -of the Movement for National Reformation (MNR). This organization was formally launched in Benin City on 5 December 1992. Its basic objective was "to re-awaken the vision of the founding fathers ofthe federation of Nigeria by re storing true federalism in the country". To further challenge militaryauthoritarianism, ChiefEnahoro collaborated with many other Nige rians to establish the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) in May 1994, as a counterforce to the despotic regime of late General Sani Abacha. He became the National Deputy Leader of the coalition, while the lateC hief Michael Adekunle Ajasin served as the leader. On Chief Ajasin's death in October 1997, Chief Enahoro became the coalition's leader until the coalition's activities were rounded off in late 1999 following the return of democracy to Nigena. Chief Enahoro was never known to shy away from denouncing the injustices of the military re gimes in public discourse especially in moments of moral and political crises. On several occasions, he criticized General Ibrahim Babangida's highly ma nipulated transition to democracy programme through press conferences that had captions such as 'Beyond the Transition', 'The Path of Honour', Time for change is Now' - all in 1992. Earlier in 1990, he addressed the press on 'Reflections on Ni geria's Political Future*. The annulment of the presidential elections of June. 12,1993 by the government ofGeneral Ibrahim Babangida fired up the radical side of the ageing statesman. He organized peaceful protests and pub lic denunciations of the annulment which he tagged 'An Unwarranted Diktat* in one of his press conferences. He did this through his Movement for National Reformation (MNR) and collaborative activities with pro-democracy groups and human rights organizations. The climax of Chief Enahoro's militancy was reached on 19 December 1995 when, in the face of Abacha's mindless dictatorship, he led protesters to the popular Yaba Bus-stop in a rally that he organ ized against the Abacha dictatorship: a dictatorship which, barely a month earlier, had murdered the play wright and internationally-acclaimed environmental ist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and eight of his Ogoni compa triots in cold blood. Chief Enahoro's speech at the rally was titled 'Give us our liberty'. He has re-emphasized his continued commit ment to the restructuring of the Nigerian federation and the devolution of powers from an all-powerful centre to dependent states that hitherto have been no more than vassals to the almighty centre. As one of Nigeria's leading news magazines put it in its 26 October 1996 edition, "Enahoro remains the most stubborn, consistent and persuasive advocate of political reforms that are critical not only to the country's survival but its ultimate redemption". He holds the chieftaincy title of Adolo of Uromi.
Gender: Male
Marital Status
  • Married
Name of Spouse Helen Enahoro
State of Origin: Edo State
Father's Name Anastasius Okotako Enahoro
Father's Status Deceased
Mother's Name Fidelia Victoria Inibokun
Mother's Status Deceased
Number of Male Children 4
Number of Female Children 1

1. keneth
2. Eugene
3. Victor
4 Gabriel
5. Bella

Profession Politician , Author
Working Experience Editor, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 , Editor,Comet, Kano, 1945–49 , Associate editor of West African Pilot, Lagos, , Editor-in-chief of Morning Star from 1950 to 1953. , Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Information and Labour 1967–74 , Federal Commissioner for Special Duties, 1975. , member of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, 1978–83 , president, World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture, 1972–75. , chairman of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) , elected a member of the Western House of Assembly , minister of home affairs 1954
Government School Uromi,, Government School Owo , King's College, Lagos,

Mid-west Party 1950
Action Group

1. Centenary Award
2. Commander, Order of the Federal Republic, CFR, in 1982.

1. Grand Officer of the Order of Merit, Central Africa Republic, 1973
2. Grand Star of the ORDER OF THE Nation, Senegal, 1973
3.1st Class Officer of the Order of the Two Niles, Sudan, 1974
4) Other Honours from Ethiopian, Uganda, New York, Philadelphia,

1. honorary DSC by the University of Benin in 1972

1. Nigeria’s youngest editor ever.

Playing Golf and cricket ardently.

/www.theguardian.com, wikipedia, Nairaland

December 15, 2010
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