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The paragraph below outline why Anthony Enahoro ranks as an everyday Hero; especially in a month where we are paying consideration to Nigeria’s independence celebration:

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In 1953, Enahoro became the first to move the motion for Nigeria’s independence which was eventually granted in 1960 after several political setbacks and defeats in parliament. Because of that, he has actually been regarded by academics and many Nigerians as one of the “Father of Nigeria State”. Though his motion for Nigeria’s Independence suffered setbacks in parliament on several occasions, with even the northern members of parliament staging a walkout as a consequence of the motion. The motion eventually culminated in a popular movement whose pressure, built up against colonialism and there was agitations for independence for Nigeria, or at least self-governance.

It was Enahoro’s motion that Samuel L. Akintola revisited, which also, was not acquiesced to by the British colonial authorities and it therefore failed. It was the same motion, Remi Fani-Kayode revisited in August 1958, which was again passed by parliament but its date was not approved by the British. Fani-Kayode’s motion had called for independence to be granted to Nigeria on April 2, 1960. It was the same Enahoro’s motion that was furthered and proposed to Parliament by Sir Tafawa Balewa in 1959 and it was passed. As a consequence of the sustained pressure, the colonial governor announced the decision of the Queen of England to grant her independence in October, 1960.

A Passport of the Man: Anthony Enahoro

He was born the eldest of ten children in Onewa village, Uromi, in the present Edo State of Nigeria. Enahoro has had a long and distinguished career in the press, politics, the civil service and the pro-democracy movement. Educated at the Government School Uromi, Government School Owo and King’s College, Lagos, Enahoro became the editor of Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21.

As a student then at the Kings College, Enahoro took part in the turbulent Nigerian liberation struggle against colonial rule in the early 1940s, leading to student revolts at the college in Lagos where he was a student leader. He was prominent in politics at a time of rapid change. He was twice jailed for sedition by the colonial government, for an article mocking a former governor, and then for a speech allegedly inciting Nigerian troops serving in the British army. The British marked him as a firebrand, but even as he was jailed for the third time, he was beginning to reassess his position.

Enahoro: A Key Player in Nigeria’s Fight for Freedom and Activism

In 1950, He and Arthur Prest founded the Mid-West Party. Enahoro had already started the Mid-West Press and he published the Nigerian newspaper from 1950 to 1953. The Mid-West Party became part of the Action Group in 1951. During the Nigerian crisis that followed the 1966 coups, Enahoro was the leader of the then Mid-West delegation to the Ad Hoc Constitutional Conference in Lagos. He later became Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Information and Labour under the General Yakubu Gowon Military Government, 1967–74; Federal Commissioner for Special Duties, 1975. He later became a member of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN in 1978–83. He was the president, World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture, 1972–75.

Enahoro was the chairman of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a pro-democracy group that fought Sani Abacha till Abacha’s death. Enahoro was conferred with the national honour of Commander, Order of the Federal Republic, CFR, in 1982, and is the chairman of the Movement for National Reformation, MNR; as well as the Pro-National Conference Organisation, PRONACO. He was awarded honorary DSC by the University of Benin in 1972. His publications include; the treatise Fugitive Offender. Enahoro played golf and followed cricket ardently. Enahoro was a delegate to most of the constitutional conferences leading to the independence of Nigeria in 1960.




Featured Image Source: The News Nigeria NG

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This article was first published on 16th October 2019


Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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