Nigerian is in mourning as a celebrated politician and ex-minister of works and housing Chief Anthony Akhakon “Tony” Anenih recently passed away. Born in 1933, Chief Anenih trained as a police officer in Nigeria at the Ikeja Police College, the Bramshill Police College, Basingstoke, England in 1966 and the International Police Academy, Washington DC in 1970. He began working for the Nigerian government serving as a police orderly to the first Governor General of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe. He then worked as an instructor in various police colleges, and in 1975 was assigned to the Administrative Staff College (ASCON), Lagos and retired afterward from the police force as a Commissioner of police.
Mr. Anenih ventured into politics as the State Chairman of the now-defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) between 1981 and 1983, supporting late Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia to become elected as the civilian Governor of former Bendel state but the governorship was cut short by the military takeover of December 1983. He was later the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party also now defunct, from 1992 and 1993, when he assisted in the election of Chief M.K.O Abiola as president, which made history as Nigeria’s freest and fairest election and commemorated as Nigeria’s democracy day today. Thereafter, he also became a member of the Constitutional Conference in 1994.
Anenih was a member of the PDM until he transferred to the PDP in early April 2002. He was said to have been the mastermind in the declaration of President Olusegun Obasanjo at the International Conference center Abuja. He was also the deputy national coordinator of Obasanjo’s campaign organization in both the 1999 and 2003 elections, under which he was appointed Minister of Works and Housing in 1999 and became Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP.
The celebrated ex-minister had his brush with the law when a Senate committee in October 2009, issued a report on their investigation into the use of more than N300 billion in the transportation sector during the Obasanjo’s administration. The committee recommended the prosecution of thirteen former Ministers, including Anenih, stating that he had awarded contracts without budgetary provision. However, it wasn’t long before the case was shelved indefinitely by the Senate the following month in consideration of the report, and has not been re-opened till date. That same year, Chief Tony Anenih was also listed by the Central Bank Of Nigeria among a list of customers with major debt to five banks. The report stated that Chief Tony owed N2,065 million through a company known as Mettle Energy and Gas limited but he denied having any involvement with the said company and wrote to the then EFCC Chairman, Farida Waziri urging the investigation of the matter, which is still pending till date.
Despite the above, Chief Anenih who passed away on the 28th of October 2018 is widely mourned mostly by many of the most prominent politicians who he served alongside in government.
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Great man will be missed