Sir: At 85, the Iyasele (Prime Minister) of Esanland, Chief Anthony Akhakon Anenih has fulfilled the famous quote of Voltaire, to wit: God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.
Truly, Pa Anenih is an embodiment of the mercies of God and the gift of life.
He has also been a beneficiary of good life, living well for himself and his community.
It is therefore appropriate for family members, friends and well wishers to expect the octogenarian to savour this graceful period and celebrate, having advanced well in age.
But, he has decided to toe the path of asceticism and abnegation, principally because of the sad state of the nation that has witnessed so much losses, bloodshed and instability.
Having appreciated the effort being made by government and influential Nigerians in restoring peace and stabilising nation, he had called on well meaning Nigerians to join in prayer for God’s intervention to restore peace in our nation.
Tension is building: the international community is concerned; the nation is agitated, and the people have started living in palpable fear, but it must not be heard at home and abroad that the head of a baby strapped behind the mother’s back became awkward, while the elders were in the market place.
A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.
It is time elders in the land stepped in before it is too late, and just only a few of them like Pa Anenih have taken a dispassionate and non-partisan approach in their intervention in the state of the nation.
And to those who have continued to wonder why the old man will never give up attending to some issues affecting the country, despite his encumbered health, he said copiously in page 191 of his book, My Life and Politics: On the Nigerian political scene, I have only tried to play my part in the true Shakespearian sense All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exists and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.
Indeed, no soothing immortal words can better capture his legendary commitment to Project Nigeria more than Shakespeare had done ahead of time.
Indeed, Pa Anenih has ostensibly elected to play the role of a statesman, having stepped out of active political stage.
His trajectory is worthy of being trodden by those who cherish his politics. I will like to advise the current players to read his book.
It should serve as a political compass for the current players and actors to learn from the mistakes of the past and how to navigate the tides.
When nations and societies go through crises and challenges, they are able to weather the storm through sheer wisdom of the old and strength of the young.
Therefore, Pa Anenih may, as time goes on, consider convening, periodic meetings of the young and emerging politicians to share with them some wise counsel.
Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Editor, The Congresswatch magazine.