The death of former Minister of Works, Tony Anenih, on Sunday, October 28, has rocked the political landscape with many notable politicians such as President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu extolling the virtues of the late Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain.
The President sent his condolences to the family through a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, which reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari extends heartfelt condolences to the Anenih family on the death of its beloved patriarch and elder statesman, Chief Anthony Anenih.
“As a frontline figure in the annals of our country’s political history, the President attests that Chief Anenih lived a life of service, as State Chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), chieftain of the PDP, and a former Minister of Works.
“The President prays almighty God to grant Chief Anenih’s soul eternal rest and comfort all who mourn the octogenarian.”
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Tinubu, also showered encomiums on the deceased statesman via a statement to the press.
Tinubu stated: “Chief Anenih was a foremost politician and elder-stateman. He was resolutely committed to the unity and cohesion of this country. He worked for the upliftment of his Uromi hometown and Edo State, as he worked for the growth and development of Nigeria.
“As one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he played a key role in the country’s resurgent democracy. It was no surprise that he later emerged the Chairman, Board of Trustees of PDP.
“Our path crossed in the Social Democratic Party where he was our national chairman. I recall that he was an energetic politician who played politics with all that he was imbued with.”
The National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole has also reacted to the death of Anenih.
In a statement signed by his spokesman, Simon Ebegbulem, Oshiomhole recalled how he reconciled his difference with Anenih on a church altar.
The statement reads: “Politics may have separated us, but nothing affected our personal relationship.
“Whatever public disagreement we might have had, I am consoled that we both reconciled at the church altar after he announced his retirement from partisan politics.
“It is a measure of his generosity of spirit that when I announced my interest in the chairmanship of APC earlier this year, he wrote a letter of endorsement expressing absolute confidence in my ability to inspire APC to greater heights.
“His explicit support was not just in an objective appreciation of my ability but also in solidarity as fellow Edo man”.
The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, also talked about how Anenih was a strong stalwart of the party.
He tweeted through his Twitter handle saying, “The passing away of Chief Tony Anenih, one of the founding fathers and elder statesmen of @OfficialPDPNig is a sad news to me and everyone who had a close & personal relationship with him.
“I pray for strength and comfort for his family. May God grant his soul a peaceful repose.”
The passing away of Chief Tony Anenih, one of the founding fathers and elder statesmen of @OfficialPDPNig is a sad news to me and everyone who had a close & personal relationship with him. I pray for strength and comfort for his family. May God grant his soul a peaceful repose.— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) October 28, 2018
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also wrote on Twitter, “Chief Tony Anenih, was a consummate elder statesman who played several defining roles throughout Nigeria’s democracy.
@He will be remembered for his great patriotism and his insight into national issues. He will be dearly missed. Rest in Peace, Chief.”
Chief Tony Anenih, was a consummate elder statesman who played several defining roles throughout Nigeria’s democracy. He will be remembered for his great patriotism and his insight into national issues. He will be dearly missed. Rest in Peace, Chief. pic.twitter.com/ceqSJzeRBU— Bukola Saraki (@bukolasaraki) October 28, 2018
The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, also described the death as a huge vacuum that is difficult to fill.
“Chief Anenih will be remembered for his immense contribution to the growth of PDP, development of the South-South region and Nigeria in general. Mr Fix It, as he was fondly called, was a political icon, a nationalist and a great leader of men.
“He was a political colossus. His passing has created a huge vacuum in our political landscape that will be difficult to fill”.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has also described the death of the former Minister of Works as the end of one of the most inspiring chapters of Nigeria’s history.
In a condolence letter sent to the family, Obasanjo wrote, “Chief Tony Anenih’s life was an archetypal lesson in public service and leadership at its best.
“He had to himself a life full of accomplishments and meritorious services to the local and national communities.
“He served the nation with devotion and diligence in his chosen profession. His service in the Nigeria Police Force was distinguished by high professional standard”.