Chief Tony Anenih, a famous advocate of ‘no vacancy in Aso Rock’ is dead. He was aged 85.
Chief Anenih, who served under the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as Minister of Works and Housing, died today, Sunday at the Cedar Crest hospital in Abuja, where he had been on admission since a week ago.
He was once the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Chief Anenih was married to Josephine Anenih, a lawyer, who was the chairperson of the Federation of Women Lawyers from 1994 to 2000 and also was the first National Woman Leader of the PDP, from 1999-2005.
Chief Anenih had on November 26 last year, launched his autobiography ‘My Life and Nigerian Politics’ at which occasion he announced that he was quitting politics.
Here are five interesting quotes from his autobiography:
On picking Atiku Abubakar as Obasanjo’s presidential running mate
1.) “I asked Obasanjo whether he would want a vice-president that would give him absolute confidence and allow him to sleep with his two eyes closed or whether he would want a vice-president he did not trust. “He answered that he would like to sleep with his two eyes closed. It was at this point that I asked him: ‘What about Atiku?’ Chief Obasanjo’s answer was that Atiku had just won his governorship election and the law might not allow him to come on board as his running mate.
We both decided to get a lawyer to advise us and Barrister Alimi Rasaq of Kwara State was sent for. He advised us that there was nothing in the constitution that prevented Atiku from being his running mate; especially as Atiku had not been sworn in”
On how he thwarted Atiku Abubakar’s move to become president
2.) “As a result of my preparations for Chief Obasanjo’s second tenure, I stepped on the toes of many of those who did not want him to seek a second term. These are the people I can now refer to as members of the ‘G3’. These were General Ibrahim Babangida, (ex-) Vice- President Atiku Abubakar and the (ex-) National Security Adviser, General Aliu Gwarzo.
“He [Atiku Abubakar] erroneously believed that he was the only politician at the Villa and that he was better qualified than the President. I was well ahead of him in all his plans to prevent Chief Obasanjo from running (for re-election).”
On how he survived an eight hour heart surgery
3.) “There is nothing God cannot do if you believe in him sincerely. I had a problem with my heart. So I was subjected to eight hours of surgery and seven doctors were carefully selected to do that because of their experience. Before the operation, the seven doctors told the people that accompanied me (to the hospital) that I wouldn’t make it. I heard them.”
On how he was jailed during the military regime of Buhari because he was rich
4.) “The military regime of General Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon threw me into detention for 18 months on the basis of an anonymous petition that as a prominent and wealthy politician and leader of the NPN in Bendel State, the military administrator would not find his footing unless I was removed from the scene.
“I must emphasize it again and again that I did nothing wrong to anyone, the government or the state to merit a detention. My crime was that I was a wealthy, influential and highly respected politician.”
On how Chief MKO Abiola begged Ibrahim Babaginda to let him become president for a day
5.) “We could hear Chief Abiola telling Akilu to tell his friend (IBB) that they were still friends, and that he should allow him to be president even for one day, and he would resign thereafter; that all the photographs they took together were still all over his house, and that he should not forget the past, and that God would bless him.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed condolences to the Anenih family on the death of the patriarch and elder statesman, even as he commiserated with the government and people of Edo State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The President, who described Anenih as an illustrious son of Edo and former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, said that he will be remembered as a frontline figure in the annals of Nigeria’s political history.
He said 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.
He said that across the political spectrum of Nigeria, Chief Anenih was known for his strong views on issues pertaining to the unity and stability of the nation.