- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
On the death of Anthony Enahoro
Each death brings its own sentiments and ennobling thoughts. I have learnt this profoundly simple truth from my diverse and various readings of funeral orations of different kinds and art which have their origins in antiquity. And if you are a wide reader, you definitely would have heard of Pericles, the wonderfully eloquent and profoundly brilliant Athenian statesman who "gave mankind one of the greatest funeral orations ever made". You also would have read the funeral oration of Mark Antony on Julius Caesar. Scholars generally regard Mark Antony's funeral oration over the deceased body of Julius Caesar as an "oratorical masterpiece" even though it was a creation of Shakespeare's imagination for Julius Caesar, his historical play based on the "historical writings of Dion Cassius and Plutarch."
Where does all this lead us? Obviously to my contemplation on the death of Chief Anthony Enahoro, generally regarded as one of Nigeria's foremost nationalists and patriots. Since his death a few days ago at the enduring age of eighty seven years, of diabetes related ailment, many tributes studded with sentiments of profound thoughts and gems of political and historical facts, have poured forth from different hearts and pens of his admirers, erstwhile colleagues, friends and sundry persons.
I am adding my own record here in the hope that it will contribute some aspect to entertaining reading, inspiration and enlightenment about our great personage.
I met Chief Anthony Enahoro once and only once in flesh. I can no longer remember exactly the year, but it was sometime in the nineties, maybe early or mid- nineties or so, I am not certain any longer although I will firmly cling to the former. The murdered late poet, dramatist/playwright, novelist, short story writer and passionate environmentalist in the person of Ken Saro-Wiwa took me to him. And when I say here that Ken Saro-Wiwa "took" me to him, I mean to say that I accompanied Ken Saro-Wiwa to see Chief Anthony Enahoro at his Aideyan, G.R.A. Benin City residence. Then, Ken was in Benin City to launch his "On a Darkling Plain", a kind of autobiographical and historical/political narrative that chronicles some aspects of our national vicissitudes and other subjects. Then, I was one of Ken's trusted friends and anchor men in Benin, and the remarkable man wanted me, imperatively, to go see another remarkable Nigerian in his company.
We arrived Enahoro's residence in a fair evening devoid of melancholic inhibitions. He was happily warm to his host(s). After an exchange of pleasantries and shared drinks, the discussion which followed centred on Nigeria and some of our country's great men. Somehow, Ken's new book, which we were going to launch the next day, took back seat, so to say, and in fact, ended up not being really worthy (not in a negative sense) of our discussion. As I have just said, we discussed Nigeria's problems, although for most of the time I was taciturn - for obvious reasons. I allowed the two friends to dwell on Nigeria's affairs, their own fears and apprehensions and the question of honour which should be the sepulcre of illustrious men. The subject of the writer and his art and the goals of the arts generally and their creations by their creators was raised by Anthony Enahoro with reference to what obtained in foreign lands. He gave me the impression that although he was an illustrious historical and political figure of our times, he would prefer that his fame should endure as a writer. I remember that at that point I veered discussion to his Fugitive Offender and his career as a journalist. Surprisingly, Anthony Enahoro said very little, almost nothing worthy of recall here on the subject -although he was a frontline journalist whose encomiums and compliments were never thought too high or exaggerated.
On the subject of his fellow political colleagues and friends he was very forthcoming. He spoke glowingly, from different perspectives, of and on Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alfred Rewane, Chief Festus Samuel Okotie-Eboh, Chief S.L. Akintola, Chief Dennis Osadebey, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa and Alhaji Ahmadu Bello. Of course, I broached the subject regarding these illustrious personages and titans including military figures such as Generals Gowon, Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo. I found his respective pronouncement, assessment and even judgment with respect to each of these historical figures remarkably fair, sincere and joyfully profound for my critical mind and enlightenment.
My impression of him - as I volunteered to Ken when we departed Enahoro's for the residence of the late General Agbazika Innih that same evening - was that Chief Anthony Enahoro was a man of profound wisdom and exalted vision, who in a manner of living, showed an elegance tempered with frugality. Then his residence was a sparse, little bungalow whose wealth consisted merely of its political and philosophical mirth. I also told Ken that Anthony Enahoro was a man of distinguishing excellence whose invitation to me to visit him any time I pleased I would definitely obey. Ken obviously encouraged me to do so. He was pleased that he had won me the connection.
Somehow, since that first and only visit to the great man until he died, I could not answer his warm invitation. But I did so - in another curious manner. An old chum of mine, the late immaculate journalist, Mr. Sonny Biaghere (whose pen name was "Sonny Sambo") was the editor of Chief Enahoro's Sunday Sun. Mr. Biaghere, a graduate of Journalism from University of Nigeria, Nsukka gave me a sports column in that weekly -now defunct. Sunday Sun was then a very well edited provincial treasure-house but Chief Enahoro allegedly did not allow it to be well managed through his peculiar organizational style. Naturally it died unexpectedly. As I remember those times of the Sunday Sun, what I can say here is that Chief Enahoro, to quote our ebulliently radical writer, Odia Ofeimun in a recent interview in The News magazine, is allegedly not "the organizer" of men. Yet, whenever I am able to do the great piece I promised myself many years now on some of the great men I have met and known, Chief Anthony Enahoro will definitely occupy a place of distinction in it. From whichever way we may look at his life, this gift to us from Uromi lived well and died well. And may his life ennoble us to be earnestly and selflessly public-spirited in our endeavours.
Note: This column shall go on vacation soon. Please, bear with us.Share