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Chief Tony Anenih bid the world goodbye on Sunday, 28th October after an undisclosed but brief illness. His family, associates and the Peoples Democratic Party at large will realise they have lost an important figure in matters of strategy.

The name Tony Anenih rings a certain negative tune in the ears of many Nigerians, but even a lot more who are familiar with the political in-play in Nigeria are more aware of how important a figure he was in grassroots politics. This is why he is called Mr Fix It within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which he helped form from the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) back in 1998 and which he has helped win many elections.

Those who know what value and the need of a political strategist in a party will realise the same thing Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and is presently to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Many may not know that Tony Anenih started as a police orderly to the then Governor General of Nigeria, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe in the ’50s. By a sheer stroke of cleverness and diligence, he rose to the rank of a commissioner of police from which he entered politics fully. In 1983, he contested for and won the governorship position of old Bendel State but his term was cut short with the truncated with the military coup of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. A few years down the line, he again became the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and ushered to victory the candidacy of Chief M.K.O Abiola in 1993 in a landmark election deemed as the freest and fairest ever.

As an original member of the PDP too, Anenih helped to usher the party to victory at the elections which culminated into Nigeria’s 4th Republic in 1999. For many years, Anenih even chaired the PDP Board of Trustees before the party split severely along selfish lines. He, however, has since stuck solidly with the PDP, guiding it through thick and thin, victory upon victory, until it’s eventual loss at the 2015 presidential polls.

Such feats as listed above are only achievable by someone who has learnt about the machinations of politics from his association with the earliest set of politicians from Nigeria. No doubt such a politically experienced figure would be badly needed by the PDP at this crucial time.

Tony Anenih was definitely not the only renowned political strategist and leader in Nigerian politics, but he is certainly one of the very few clever and loyal crops.

Perchance his calculations and estimation of the outcome of the 2015 elections were one of the very few times he has failed in politicking, many in the reunited PDP looked forward to his experience and guidance for the upcoming 2019 elections. In an election where the PDP is looking to regain power come 2019, all political muscle would be needed for pooling. The only such figure who arguably could match Tony Anenih in strategy and strength within the PDP is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Hence, the loss of Chief Tony Anenih at a crucial time in election season is seen by some as a sudden loss which could further affect the outcome and swing of 2019 elections. While some will wonder why a relatively obscure personality as Tony Anenih has garnered and holds such immense power in Nigerian political circles, others who are better versed in how politicking works will never underestimate the essence of leading strategists in any political climate as long as politics remains local.

And after all is said and done, we the citizens can only hope that the electoral umpire- the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)- remains neutral and ensure that the people choose leaders who will steer the ship of the nation for the next four years.

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This article was first published on 2nd November 2018


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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