By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja – The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, described late Chief Tony Anenih as “a true democrat”.
The tribute followed a letter by Rep Segius Oguns (Edo-PDP) and read by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, notifying the House of the demise of Anenih.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that late Anenih, who passed away while the National Assembly was on a two-week recess, died on Oct. 28 at the age of 85.
Oguns, who represent Esan North East/South Federal Constituency in the House, described the former Works Minister as “a philanthropist of the highest order”.
He said the late chief contributed to the development of Edo State and Nigeria at large.
“He is one of the biggest farmers in this country who employed so many people.
“Even in his party, his philanthropic gesture was felt that they called him ‘Mr Fix’, he was fixing problems for people,” he said.
Also speaking, Rep Joseph Edionwele (PDP-Edo) described Anenih as “a father and a mentor”.
Edionwele, who represent Esan Central/Esan West/Igueben Federal Constituency, said he attained his present position through the late chief’s support.
According to him, he was not only a true democrat but a strategist and a true Nigerian.
Dogara, who urged the House to rise for a minute silence, prayed for the repose of Anenih’s soul.
Anenih, 85, died on Sunday at Cedarcrest Hospital, Abuja, where he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
Born in Edo State, Anenih was one of the most influential politicians of his era.
Anenih was a state chairman of the then ruling party, National Party of Nigeria (NPN), between 1981 and 1983.
He is 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 Mr Samuel Ogbemudia to victory.
He was also the national chairman of the Social Democratic Party in 1993 under whose platform, Chief Moshood Abiola, won the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.
Upon the return of democracy in 1999, Anenih was also a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was appointed Minister of Works by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.