Nigerian political leaders, the clergy and the business community yesterday in Abuja, eulogised former chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, for his contributions to national development.
They spoke at a requiem mass, service of songs and night of tributes held in honour of the astute politician, fondly called “Mr. Fix It” by his political associates at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, kicked off the special mass at exactly 5.07pm when he led the congregation including the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, into the main auditorium of the church.
The ceremony was attended by former President Gooduck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, former Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon, Yakubu Dogara, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and his PDP counterpart, Prince Uche Secondus.
Others were the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former Senate Presidents Anyim Pius Anyim and Ken Nnamani, former APC chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Senators Godswill Akpabio and Jonah Jang, minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court, and former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase.
In his homily, Onaiyekan said that death does not end life but only changes its form and phase. He said that the event called for celebration and not mourning because Anenih lived a fulfilled life, adding that the fact that he died at the age of 80 required thanksgiving to God.
He prayed that God grants Anenih’s family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
In his tribute, Jonathan described Anenih as his father, who helped them to win the governorship election in Bayelsa State during the first term of the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He recalled his last days with Anenih before he passed on in the hospital.
Oshiomhole said that Anenih had a forgiving heart and recalled an incident in a Catholic Church in Uromi, Edo State where the deceased pointed at him in the audience and declared that, “I have forgiven you Adams and others who have offended me.”
He said with such a large heart, Anenih was a true Catholic and remained his father until he died.
Secondus traced Anenih’s political exploits to the days of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) where he helped the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola to win the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election.