Buhari, Tinubu, Obaseki, Others Mourn Peter Enahoro

One of Nigeria’s most influential journalists, Peter Osajele Aizegbeobor Enahoro, has died at 88, leaving the media community in mourning.

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said the late Peter Enahoro earned public trust by his fearless writings, tenacity, and commitment to the pursuit of truth.

President Buhari said this in his condolences to the family, friends and associates of Enahoro.

The President said he recognises 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.

In a statement, the President urged those who mourn the demise of the compatriot to reflect on his contributions to the country and build on the many honours credited to him for journalistic excellence.

“May the soul of Peter Pan rest in peace,” the President said in the statement signed by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

In a tribute from the Office of the President-elect and signed by Tunde Rahman, Tinubu acknowledged Enahoro’s immense contribution to Nigeria’s march towards nationhood as a prominent journalist of his era.

Tinubu described him as a patriot who dedicated his entire career to advocating for a better Nigeria where every citizen can find joy and fulfilment.

He highlighted Enahoro’s remarkable achievements within the media profession and in nation building, citing his appointment as Editor of the highly influential Sunday Times at the age of 23 in 1958 and as Editor of the Daily paper in 1962 before assuming the position of Editor-in-Chief in 1966.

“An author, businessman, and publisher, Mr Enahoro will be remembered and forever cherished for his unwavering belief in the greatness of Nigeria and for using the instrumentality of media practice to promote good governance, the rule of law, and social justice in our country,” Tinubu stated.

Also paying his tribute, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State expressed sadness over his passing.

The governor, in a statement, described the deceased as a national treasure, who secured his place in history in the feisty early years of Nigeria’s nationhood.

He said Enahoro, who hailed from Uromi, in Edo, made a lasting imprint on journalism practice in Nigeria and internationally.

“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,” Obaseki stated.

“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.

“A thorough-bred Edo man, he spoke truth to power and espoused noble virtues of diligence, hard work and intellectual rigour.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, described his death as a colossal loss to journalism and the media industry in Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu in a condolence message, yesterday, said the death of the ace columnist is painful and heartbreaking.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said the rich experience and knowledge of the late Enahoro, described as “perhaps Africa’s best-known international journalist” will be sorely missed.

He said: “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.”

Veteran journalist, Dr. Dayo Duyile said, “when I came into journalism in 1962, he was the man who interviewed me in Daily Times and appointed me as a reporter. Our relationship was very intimate.”

Duyile said Enahoro liked “very good reporters and he maintained that attitude throughout his stay in Daily Times and when he started his magazine in London called Africa Now. He gave me a lot of opportunities to serve, giving me assignments even when he left Daily Times as Editor. When he went on self-exile after the second military coup, I thought we would not see again.

“Luckily he came back and started playing his role in the media world. When he wrote his book, titled, Then Spoke The Thunder and I read it. I sent him a very good letter congratulating him.

“He was loved and hated because of the way he wrote his column. His death is a shock but everybody will go away.”

The Nigerian Guild of Editor (NGE), President Mustapha Isah, said: “The death came to us as a shock. It is a big loss to the media industry in Nigeria. We are going to miss him greatly.”

He continued, “the best way to mourn him is that we must remain professional in carrying out our duties.

“Upcoming journalists can learn from his exemplary lifestyle by being principled.

May the lord accept his soul and give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.”

For Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) President, Chris Isiguzo, “we are deeply pained by the news of a foremost journalists who I will describe as a national treasure. He fought for an egalitarian society.

“He ventured into journalism at a very early age from where he rose rapidly to the highest profession in the 60’s. He was the Editor of Sunday Times at 23. He later became the Editor of Daily Times. It simply means he was committed to his career, he was not distracted.”

Respected for his wit and ability to use words expressively, he was a widely quoted political commentator and a distinguished publisher.

Born one of the 10 siblings in the famous political family of Enahoro, in Uromi, Edo State, on January 21, 1935, his eldest brother was the late statesman and politician, Chief Anthony Enahoro.

The ex-Daily Times chief was also known by the pen name ‘Peter Pan’ because of his popular column in New African magazine.

Peter Enahoro became the youngest national newspaper editor in his 20s, during the heady days of the First Republic.

He started his education at St. Stephens Elementary School, Akure (Ondo State), CMS Primary School, Ado-Ekiti (Ondo State); Government School, Ekpoma (Edo State), St. David’s School, Akure (Ondo State), Government School, Warri (Delta State), before graduating from Government College, Ughelli (Delta State) in 1948.

Having started his career in media as an Assistant Publicity Officer, Department now Federal Ministry of Information, 1954, he joined Daily Times as a sub-editor in 1955, at the age of 20, before moving on to serve as Assistant District Manager at Rediffusion Services, Ibadan, in 1957.

He became the Editor of the Nigerian Sunday Times in 1958 at 23 and Features Editor of the Daily Times in 1958, then the paper’s Editor in 1962, going on to become the Daily Times Group Editorial Adviser in 1965, and in 1966 Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Times.

His works have covered most of Africa’s major events of the last four decades. Not only has he travelled extensively in Africa; his career has also taken him all over the world.

His brilliant and courageous columns won him the admiration even of those at the receiving end of his witty satires.

HE began writing the Peter Pan Column in 1959 and it lasted until he left in 1966. “I can say that I made no permanent enemies in the political class during those seven years. On the contrary, the leaderships in particular went out of their way to be courteous, even more than that in some cases. The Sardauna of Sokoto said in a statement, “Israel does not exist.” Peter Pan ridiculed the assertion, reminding the Sokoto Prince and Premier of the North that the Federal Government in which his NPC party was a senior partner had diplomatic relations with the state of Israel. It entertained the nation that Saturday. But what was the Sardauna’s response when I met him face-to-face? He invited me to tour the Northern Region as his official guest and received me in his hometown, where he took me to visit the graves of his ancestors. I was told this was an honour,” he had told The Guardian

Peter Enahoro went into self-exile in Europe in 1966 and spent the years in Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom; but he never lost touch with the African continent.

He was Contributing Editor of Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany, from 1966 to 1976, and was Africa Editor of National Zeitung, in Basel, Switzerland, becoming Editorial Director of New African magazine in London in 1978.

He met and married Susanne in Cologne. They had two sons together. His keen sense of humour is best illustrated in his earlier book, How To Be A Nigerian. Peter Enahoro returned to his homeland in March 1992.

The Complete Nigerian was written within months of his arrival. Its quality, filled as ever with his sharp observations of the sparkling idiosyncrasies, indiscretions and contradictions of the Nigerian character, shows that Peter Enahoro has lost nothing of his sensitivity to the peculiarities and joie de vivre of his fellow country men and women.

an impressive international journalism. We have lost a quintessential columnist and his likes are not the type you find every day. Journalists of today must borrow a leaf from the legacies he left behind.”

He was a contemporary of the famous poet and Africa’s first professor of English, JP Clark

Aged 88, he died in London on Monday according to family sources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *