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Ex-PDP BoT chair, Tony Anenih, dies at 85

Ex-PDP BoT chair, Tony Anenih, dies at 85

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As BoT chairman, Anenih wielded so much power within the opposition party and acquired the nickname; “Mr Fix It”.

Tony Osauzo, Benin and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

Former chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Anthony Anenih, is dead.

He died in Abuja, yesterday, at 85.

READ ALSO: Anenih: Exit of political icon

Family sources confirmed he died yesterday evening at Cedar Crest Hospital, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where he reportedly received treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

When Daily Sun visited his Asokoro District residence, in Abuja, yesterday night, there was no light in the compound, indication no one was home.

However, a staff of Cedar Crest confirmed to Daily Sun that the former PDP leader died there and that his remains were taken away few minutes past 7:00 p.m.; to an undisclosed mortuary in the FCT.

Anenih, who was also a former minister of Works, during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s first tenure, was a founding member of the PDP, in 1998. He would go on to play key roles in the opposition party, from 1998 to 2015, when he retired from politics following the opposition party’s loss in the 2015 general elections.

The “Leader”, as Anenih was fondly called by his supporters, was born in Uromi, present day Edo State, in 1933. The former PDP leader served in the Nigerian Police Force and retired as a deputy commissioner of police in 1975.

After his retirement, Anenih joined the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and served as chairman of the party in the defunct Bendel State, from 1981 to 1983. As party chairman, he led the NPN to defeat Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) as the ruling party in the state, in the 1983 governorship poll.

He was believed to have played a major role in the controversial 1983 general elections including in his home state of Bendel (now Edo State) where he helped Samuel Ogbemudia to victory.

In the botched Third Republic, the late elder statesman was national chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), between 1992 to 1993 and was also, a member of the 1994 Constitutional Conference.

The former PDP BoT chairman was a member of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), one of the political groups which fused to form the PDP in 1998. After his stint as Minister, Anenih became the chairman of the PDP BoT.

As BoT chairman, Anenih wielded so much power within the opposition party and acquired the nickname; “Mr Fix It,” owing to how ability to fix knotty political issues for the PDP, which was the ruling party from 1999 to 2015.

Until his retirement from partisan politics, Anenih played key roles in the affairs of the PDP and in the country, particularly during the tenure of former presidents Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

A politician with a larger-than-life image, Anenih had, in response to a newspaper report, that he was “soup” over some political matters, noted that “no pot was large enough” to contain him.

In 2007, Obasanjo, however, succeeded him as BoT chairman; after the latter completed his tenure as president. The Uromi-born politician would later return to his position as PDP BoT chairman, after Obasanjo relinquished the position.

However, Anenih would, again, relinquish the position in 2015, after Jonathan lost the presidential poll, so that the latter can assume the position.

In his tribute, President Muhammadu Buhari described him as “a frontline figure in the annals of the nation’s political history, Chief Anthony Anenih lived a life of service…”

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari also affirmed 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.”

READ ALSO: Tony Anenih is dead

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