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The regime of Yakubu Gown pardoned Late Chief Anthony Eronsele Enahoro in 1966, meaning President Muhammadu Buhari may have goofed in his latest Presidential pardon granted the foremost nationalist and five others a few days ago, a document obtained by InfomediaNG has revealed.
Buhari’s Presidential Beneficiaries
- Anthony Eronsele Enahoro
- Prof. Ambrose Alli,
- Lt. Col. Moses Effiong,
- Major E.J. Olanrewaju
- Ajayi Babalola.
A controversial pardon list
The most controversial person in the list is Enahoro who was pardoned in 1966 by Gowon
Gowon’s administration which granted him pardon was contained August 12, 1966 gazetted.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Documents Showing Gowon Pardoned Enahoro in 1966:
The document showed that a few hours after Nigeria’s military coup, the Head of the National Military Government at the time, Lt.Colonel Yakubu Gowon, granted Enahoro six others presidential pardon August 2, 1966.
Beneficiaries of Presidential Pardon by Yakubu Gowon in 1966
Entitled, “Instruments of Pardon -Remitting the unexpired portion of the sentences on the following” the beneficiaries of the presidential pardon alongside Enahoro are:
- Chief Obafemi Awolowo (page 1563)
- Lateef Kayode Jakande (1564)
- Michael Adedapo Omisade (1565)
- Sunday Ebietoma (1565)
- Effiong Okon Eyo (1566)
- Samuel Akanbi Onitiri (1566)
In the Gazette, the pardon which was granted Enahoro was contained on page 1564.
Part of the Gazette read:
“Whereas Chief Anthony Eronsele Enahoro, having been duly convicted of the offences of treasonable felony, conspiracy to commit a felony, conspiracy to commit a felony and conspiracy to effect an unlawful purpose, and sentenced to imprisonment for seven, three, and one years respectively on all counts:
“And whereas the said Chief Anthony Eronsele Enahoro, having served a portion of the sentence originally imposed on him in September 1963:
“And whereas the Supreme Military Council after reviewing his case, is pleased to remit the sentence and to grant a full pardon:
“Now whereas, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 101 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic and of all other powers enabling it in that behalf, the Supreme Military Council do hereby remit the unexpired portion of the sentence imposed on the aforementioned Chief Anthony Eronsele Enahoro and grant him a full pardon.
“Given under my hand and the Public of the Republic of Nigeria at Lagos this 2nd day of August, one thousand nine hundred and six-six.”
Why were Enahoro and others jailed?
Enahoro was a member of the Action Group (AG) alongside leader of the party Obafemi Awolowo and others. All the affected persons were members of the opposition party.
They were jailed by the government of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa in September 1963.
The government of Balewa tried and sentenced them for plotting to overthrow the Federal Government led by the ruling Northern Peoples Congress (NPC).
Enahoro was tried for treasonable felony and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment but reduced on appeal. He died in December 2010 aged 87.
Enahoro, one of the radical politicians at the time escaped enroute Ghana for Britain before the trial and became famously ‘the fugitive offender’.
Balewa’s government requested Enahoro’s extradition which the British government granted with no pressure and he was extradited by the British government of Harold Macmillan.
Though some members of the British parliament opposed his extradition in the British House of Commons.
However, the jail term of Enahoro, Awolowo and other AG members was a blessing in disguise as major prominent politicians were swept off by the January 15, 1966 coup led by Major Nzeogwu Kaduna.
They had spent three years in jail before Gowon granted them presidential pardon.
And after then, there are several reports that showed that Enahoro held several political positions afterward.
Usually, an ‘ex-convict’ couldn’t hold political positions at the time, and no other military regimes try nor convict him,
Was Buhari Presidential Pardon necessary?
Going by the Documents Showing Gowon Pardoned Antony Enahoro in 1966, the inclusion of the late nationalist has been described as necessary by political analysts who followed the event of 1960 till 1985.
Making the announcement on Friday, April 10, 2020, the Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola made a few explanatory remarks about how the APC-led government arrived at the Buhari Presidential Pardon, but spoke scantily of late Ehanoro.
Also, Aregbesola did not explain how President Buhari arrived at the decision to pardon them in death.
Who is Anthony Enahoro?
Mr Ehanoro who died in December 2010 at the age of 87 was released in 1966 after serving 15 years in detention for alleged treasonable felony.
He’s a renowned journalist and nationalist. In 1953, Anthony Enahoro became the first to move the motion for Nigeria’s independence which was granted in 1960 after several political setbacks and defeats in parliament.
The radical politician began his political career in 1950. He allied with Arthur Prest to found the Mid-West Party, before joining Awo’s Action Group.
Enahoro was one of the major players during the 1962 political crisis in the Western region, he was detained along with other Action Group leaders, accused of treason.
In his autobiography, Fugitive Offender (1965), he claimed that the trial was based on slender and doubtful evidence, which in the long run would help in salvaging his political reputation.
After he regained freedom in 1966, he re-launched himself fully into the political game, taking several key roles in government.
Some of the positions he held included: Commissioner for information and labor during the regime of General Yakubu Gowon in 1967.
Enahoro’s trouble with Sani Abacha
Several years after his ordeal in the hands of NPC-led government, Enahoro would later be jailed be charged with treason by the autocratic military regime of Late Gen Sani Abacha in 1997.
He wasn’t alone, charged along with him are Prof. Wole Soyinka, Alani Akinrinade and eight, but after the death of Abacha, the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who succeeded Sani Abacha, dropped the charged against Enahoro.
As such, Enahoro had no offence hanging on his necks till his death in December 2010 at the age of 87.
Could Buhari Presidential Pardon be a double pardon or was it a mistake on the part of those who compiled the name for Mr President?