President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State have extolled the leadership qualities of late Anthony Anenih, eulogising him as an illustrious son of Nigeria and a politician of uncommon calibre.
Mr Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, said this during a requiem mass held as part of the state burial in honour of Mr Anenih, at the University of Benin Sports Complex, in Benin City, Edo State capital.
The president said that Mr Anenih lived a great life of service, and became a bridge builder across the political divide.
He said, “Anenih is a patriotic Nigerian, who has an unequal commitment to the Nigerian project. He is a man that believes in the growth and development of the nation.
In his tribute, Governor Obaseki said Mr Anenih was a rare-breed politician, who was “famed for his political wizardry, an uncommon gift to weather stormy waters and masterfully deliver results from the most difficult situations.”
“I stand here today on behalf of the Government and People of Edo State to pay tribute to and celebrate the life of a quintessential, rare-breed politician, philanthropist, a leader of leaders, statesman, an illustrious son of Edo and our father, Chief Anthony Akhakon Anenih,” Mr Obaseki said.
He added, “I commiserate with the great Anenih family of Uromi, Esan North East Local Government Area, the National and State leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the good people of Edo State on the passing of our great icon.
Noting that the elder statesman devoted a better part of his life to the development of the state and the country, he said late Mr Anenih contributed to national development in the various capacities he served while he lived.
“The whole of Edo State has suffered a huge loss with the death of Chief Anenih, the Iyasele of Esan land, who ranks as one of the most illustrious sons of the state,” he added.
Former Governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion, said Mr Anenih created a vast political family, adding that he was a great builder, who created a platform for unity and friendship across the political divide.
Former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, said Mr Anenih was a great mentor, adding, “he was a great adviser and a pillar of support for the downtrodden.
Former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mike Ogiadomhen, lauded late Mr Anenih as being instrumental in Nigeria’s change to democracy from military rule in 1999.