•Say he was known for fearless writings, commitment to truth
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and his Lagos State counterpart, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, have extended heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and associates of one of Nigeria’s foremost journalists, Peter Enahoro, who died on Tuesday at the age of 88.
The president, according to a statement issued yesterday, by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, believed that as a gifted and iconic journalist, author and publisher, Enahoro earned the public trust by his fearless writings, tenacity, and commitment to the pursuit of truth.
Buhari recognised that the passion of the former Editor-in-Chief/Managing Director of the Daily Times, Assistant Publicity Officer, Department (now Federal Ministry) of Information and Pioneer Chairman, Nigerian Broadcasting Commission for public service was second to none, and he used his knowledge and mastery to mentor people, who have also added value to journalism practice in the country.
The president urged those who mourn the demise of this compatriot to reflect on his contributions to the country and build on the many honours credited to him for journalistic excellence. He also prayed that the soul of Peter Pan rest in peace.
On his part, Obaseki said he was, deeply pained by the news of the passing of the renowned journalist and scribe, self-styled ‘Peter Pan’ in his newspaper column, “where he made insightful and critical commentary on the Nigerian nation and its march to a free, fair and just society.”
According to Obaseki, “Pa Enahoro, who hails from Uromi, in Edo State, was sired by a lineage of politically-conscious parents and as he grew older, he made a lasting imprint on journalism practice in Nigeria and internationally.
“He ventured into journalism at an early age and rose rapidly to the highest positions in the field in the 1960s, becoming the Editor of the Sunday Times at 23 years and then Editor of the Daily Times in 1966.
“Pa Enahoro conquered the local scene and launched an impressive international journalism stint that heavily impacted how the outer world views and understands the complexities of Nigeria today.
“A quintessential columnist, his takes on Nigeria’s pressing and nagging issues were deeply thought-out and poignant, a reflection of his very matured political opinions as well as critical views of those in power at various times in the history of the country.
“He can be rightly described as a national treasure, who secured his place in history in the feisty early years of Nigeria’s nationhood. Working as a newspaper editor, he spared none of the Premiers of Nigeria’s three regions at the time in his satirical pieces – he would engage in gutsy debates with the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello; spar with the Premier of Western Nigeria, Ladoke Akintola, on topical issues, and Dr. Michael Okpara of Eastern Nigeria was not left out.
“Pa Ehanoro later went into self-imposed exile for about 13 years, during which time he worked at reputable international publications, bringing issues bedevilling Nigeria to the attention of the global community.
“He was a cerebral journalist, who deployed his intellect in the service of the country, providing and nurturing the space for healthy debates on national policies that impact the lives of the people.
“One can rightly say that his engagements were a labour of love for the development of Nigeria, and the vibrant press in the country today owes much of its credit to Pa Enahoro’s bold and courageous skill with the pen to hold those in power to account for their deeds.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Edo State, I express my sincere condolences to the Enahoro family, the Nigeria press, and all admirers of the great ‘Peter Pan’ and pray that God will grant all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Also, Sanwo-Olu mourned the passage of renowned columnist, describing his death as a colossal loss to journalism and the media industry in Nigeria.
Sanwo-Olu, in a condolence message issued yesterday, by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said the death of the ace columnist, popularly known as “Peter Pan” because of his column in New African Magazine, was painful and heartbreaking.
Enahoro, a well-celebrated journalist, author, businessman and publisher, died on Tuesday in London, at the age of 88 years.
Sanwo-Olu said the rich experience and knowledge of the late Enahoro, described as “perhaps Africa’s best-known international journalist” would be sorely missed.
He added: “The death of our iconic journalist, Peter Enahoro, is a great loss to the media industry and Nigeria, as well as his family and friends. ‘Peter Pan’ will be greatly missed. He made lots of positive impacts during his lifetime, contributing meaningfully to the growth and development of journalism in Nigeria.
“Peter Enahoro also made the mark as an international journalist. He worked as Contributing Editor of Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany; Africa Editor of National Zeitung in Basel, Switzerland and Editorial Director of New African magazine in London.”