Late Anthony Akhakon ‘Tony’ Anenih, CFR, the Iyasele of Esanland, was born in Uzenema-Arue in Uromi. In 1933 he joined the Nigeria police force in Benin City. Working at home, he obtained secondary school qualifications. He attended the police college in Ikeja, and was selected for further training in the Bramshill Police College, Basingstoke, England in 1966 and the International Police Academy, Washington DC in 1970.
He served as a police orderly to the first Governor General of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He worked as an instructor in various police colleges and in 1975 was assigned to the Administrative Staff College (ASCON), Lagos. He retired from the police as a Commissioner of police.
Early Political Career
He was State Chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) between 1981 and 1983, helping Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia become elected as civilian Governor of Bendel State. However, the governorship was cut short by the military takeover of December 1983. He was National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party from 1992 and 1993, when he assisted in the election Chief M. K. O. Abiola as president. He was a member of the Constitutional Conference in 1994.
Anenih was a member of the PDM until early April 2002, when he transferred to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Anenih was said to have masterminded the 26 April 2002 declaration of President Obasanjo at the International Conference center Abuja. He was deputy national coordinator of Olusegun Obasanjo’s campaign Organisation in the 1999 and 2003 elections.
Minister of Works and Housing
Chief Anenih was appointed Minister of Works and Housing in 1999. He subsequently became Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP.
In October 2009, a senate committee issued a report on their investigation into the use of more than N300 billion in the transport sector during the Obasanjo administration. The committee recommended prosecution of thirteen former Ministers, including Anenih, saying he had awarded contracts without budgetary provision. In November 2009, the Senate indefinitely shelved consideration of the report.
In October 2009, the Central Bank of Nigeria released a list of customers with major debt to five recently audited banks. It reported that, through Mettle Energy and Gas limited, Chief Tony Anenih and Osahon Asemota owed N2,065 million. Tony Anenih said he had nothing to do with Mettle Energy and Gas Limited, and said he had written to the then Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Farida Waziri, urging the commission to investigate the matter.
He 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 People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from 1999-2005. She was appointed minister of Women Affairs on 6 April 2010, when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan announced his new cabinet.
Aged 85, Chief Anthony Akhakon Anenih, is survived by many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
On October 28th 2018, Anthony Anenih was pronounced dead. His death was confirmed by his son, Mr. Anthony Anenih, Junior through a statement saying that he had passed on after a brief illness.
Mr Anenih, 85, died at Cedarcrest Hospital, Abuja, where he was receiving treatment