Without the slightest equivocation, I identify with any project to immortalize, arguably, one of the greatest Nigerians that ever lived, Chief Anthony Eronsele Enahoro, late Adolor of Uromi.
To Nigerians in general and Esan people in particular, Chief Enahoro rendered services which generations to come will acknowledge and record as imperishable. It is hence a welcome
development that the National Association of Uromi Sons and Daughters, USA, (NAUSDA) has presented itself as the arrowhead for immortalizing the revered Chief.
It is my humble suggestion that a Foundation be established in honour of Chief Enahoro to be known as the ‘Anthony Enahoro Foundation’. The foundation should be focused on
immortalizing Chief Enahoro by propagating and promoting the ideas he passionately pursued in his life time. For this purpose, I envisage a Foundation with eminent and well- connected
internationalists as members of the board of the foundation. Such people will be those who are able to attract good will and the required resources for building and sustaining a world-
acclaimed foundation. The Foundation is to be positioned to carry out major and specialized cutting edge projects in various theatres that rebound to the good of humanity. The Board
should include, at all times, a member of the Enahoro dynasty. From the onset, a high profile executive secretary should be appointed to project the objectives of the foundation.
In the short term, I suggest that his book “The Fugitive Offender”, published by Cassel (1964) could, with the consent of his family, be reprinted by the foundation and launched to raise
funds and make the generality of Nigerians appreciate the sterling qualities of the Chief and his invaluable contribution to the project, Nigeria. The book portrays a purpose-driven life
devoted to problem solving, adding value to other people’s lives, changing situations for the better and leaving enduring positive impressions and landmarks in the sands of history. It
illustrates the impeccable processes that led to unassailable decisions and not the flawed Machiavellian system so prevalent in Nigeria today.
Chief Enahoro was transparently committed to the expressed will of the people. He undertook an elaborate systematic evaluation of options as to the political party to join. This was
mainly between the Awolowo-led Action Group and the Azikiwe-led N.C.N.C. After appraising the strengths and weaknesses of the two parties, he recommended and the people accepted
that he joined the Action Group. Beat that for accountability!
The Ishan Progressive Union, [IPU] and the Uromi Development Union [UDU] opted to support him politically. They did not ask him for either money or drinks; but laid down quite clearly
what they expected from his being voted for namely, pipe-borne water, electricity, tarred roads, hospital, a secondary school and more primary schools. He said he rationalized that most
of the demands fell within the powers of Regional government except electricity which was federal. This informed his contesting election to the House of Assembly at Ibadan rather than
the Federal House of Representatives in Lagos. At the end of his terms at the Western House, where he was appointed as a minister with onerous responsibilities, he gave report card
as follows: Water was provided for the entire Ishan people including the largest reservoir in West Africa [750,000 gallons] at Ivue in Uromi. (b) A general hospital was built. (c) Primary
schools were multiplied five-fold to cope with the universal free primary education of the then western region in 1955. (d) A tarred road from Agbor and another one from Benin City
were constructed. (e) A catering rest house was built at Uromi. (f) In concert with the World Health Organization, vaccination was carried out which brought to an end the horrendous
scourge of yaws.
What a quintessential display of a transparent spirit of stewardship at a time when the people were ignorant and scarcely aware of their rights vis-à-vis those they voted for. Then he met
the people and informed them that having essentially met their demands, he sought for their permission to move to the federal legislature where he wanted to satisfy his yearning to
impact meaningfully on foreign affairs. Thus when elected and in the opposition with Chief Awolowo, he became the opposition spokesman for foreign affairs. That gave him the singular
privilege to move the motion for self-government for Nigeria in 1953. In their politics of chincanery and skulduggery, the colonial overseers of the legislature had sought to frustrate Chief
Enahoro by placing his motion at the bottom of about eight others on the order paper for the day. But the members of the N.C.N.C. against whose names the other motions came, in
difference to Chief Enahoro and in the interest of the subject matter, withdrew their motions, one after the other, leaving room for him to move the historic motion. For one memorable
occasion, Zik, who watched from the gallery, not being a member of the legislature, came down and embraced Chief Awolowo, with an accord struck between the N.C.N.C. and the Action
Group. Taken completely unaware, the colonial favoured members from the North sought for an adjournment leaving the motion un-debated.
It is well known that Chief Enahoro was arguably the finest parliamentarian of his era. Chief Awolowo loved Chief Enahoro exceedingly because of the great attributes of the latter. He
testified for Chief Enahoro during the trial of the concocted treasonable felony charges under Justice Sigismund Olarewaju Lambo. Awo was once asked why Chief Enahoro anchored
most of the important assignments of the Action Group. Without equivocating, he stated that in the entire hierarchy of the party, Chief Enahoro commanded the brilliance, managerial
acumen, courage, resilience, organizational flare and political savvy above every other person. He said most policy statements of the party were produced by the chief. In fact, he said
that Chief Enahoro drafted the manifesto of the Action Group. This is in a party that boasted several lawyers, doctors, engineers and academicians!
The above represents my random thoughts on NAUSDA’S plans concerning our revered icon, Chief Enahoro. It is my honest prayer and desire that the Almighty God empowers it to
project our beloved town, Uromi. This comes with the assurances of my highest esteem.
Sam. E. Emiowele.
12th August, 2013.
A Memorial to Chief Anthony Eronsele Enahoro CFR.
National Association of Uromi Sons and Daughters, USA.
© NAUSDA, USA, 2011. All reference to and/or use of this document must give credit to the National Association of Uromi Sons & Daughters in the USA (NAUSDA, USA)