Chief Tony Anenih, a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Former Minister of Works, died on Sunday evening at the age of 85.
He was reported to have died in a hospital in Abuja where he was receiving treatment for an unmentioned illness for over a year. The last time the Chief was seen in a public gathering was during the burial of his son and wife last year. Some reports say that he did not fully recover from the shock of their death.
The Edo state born Mr Anenih was one of the founding fathers of the PDP and one of the most influential politicians of his era. He was popularly known as “Mr Fix it” by political associates for his ability to manipulate electoral processes.
What do we know about him?
Mr Anehih, who was born in 1933 joined the Nigerian Police Force in Benin City in the year 1951. After getting his secondary school qualifications, he attended the police college in Ikeja, and was selected for more training in the Bramshill Police college, England in 1966.
Tony Anenih retired from the Nigerian Police Force when he became a Commissioner of Police. After his retirement from the police, he joined politics and headed Nigeria’s ruling party between 1981 and 1983, (National Party of Nigeria) NPN.
In the controversial 1983 elections in his home state of Bendel (now split into Edo and Delta), he was believed to have helped Samuel Ogbemudia to victory. Mr Anenih was also the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993 under whose platform M.K.O Abiola ran and won the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Upon return to democracy in 1999, Mr Anenih was also a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party and was appointed Works Minister by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was accused of masterminding the mismanagement of about $300 billion while he held sway as works minister.
With Chief Tony Anenih’s profile, it is glaring that he was highly influential in the country’s political scene.
So far, stakeholders in the governance and political scene have sent condolences to the family of Anenih saying he will be missed. Among them are Senator Bukola Saraki, Godwin Obaseki and President Muhammadu Buhari.