Buhari goofs big on Enahoro; Gowon pardoned him 54 years ago

Pa Anthony Enahoro: He was pardoned 54 years ago

By Bayo Onanuga

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been caught red-handed committing an egregious goof, in the recent presidential pardons announced for five Nigerians.

Anthony Enahoro, one of the posthumous beneficiaries, did not need the pardon.

The nationalist and politician was pardoned almost 54 years ago by the Gowon administration.

The pardon was gazetted on 12 August 1966 after it was signed by Lt.Colonel Yakubu Gowon, the head of state on 2 August 1966.

Gowon signed the instrument of pardon as “Head of the Military Government, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Nigeria”.

Buhari, Enahoro and Gowon- an error of a pardon

Enahoro was jailed for treasonable felony by the Balewa government in September 1963.

He was jailed along with Late Obafemi Awolowo, the former Governor of Lagos state, Lateef Jakande and the Ile-Ife born politician Michael Omisade.

Others jailed with them were Sunday Ebietoma, Effiong Oko Eyo and Samuel Akanbi Onitiri.

All the men were members of the Action Group, the opposition party.

They were tried for plotting to overthrow the Federal Government led by the Northern Peoples Congress.

Enahoro fled Nigeria via Ghana for Britain before the trial.

He became famously ‘the fugitive offender’.

He was later extradited by the British government of Harold Macmillan.

The extradition came amidst some furore in the British House of Commons and the press.

Enahoro, erudite newspaperman and parliamentarian was well known in Britain at the time.

But the Nigerian government requested his extradition under the 1881 Fugitive Offenders Act.

This request prevented Enahoro’s application for political asylum.

He was shipped home and tried with others.

They were charged with “offences of treasonable felony, conspiracy to commit a felony and conspiracy to effect an unlawful purpose.

At the end of trial, Awolowo, as leader of the Action Group was jailed 10 years.

Enahoro, Jakande and Omisade were jailed seven-years each.

Ebietoma, Eyo and Akanbi Onitiri each bagged a five-year jail term.

They were all jailed in September 1963.

Three years after, a military coup happened on 15 January 1966.

Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, the premier of Northern Region and Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, Premier of Western Region, Ladoke Akintola were all assassinated by young military officers.

The coup provoked a counter coup in July 1966.

The counter-coup brought the youthful Gowon to power. He was just 32.

It was Gowon that freed Awolowo, Enahoro, Jakande and all the others incarcerated for Nigeria’s first treason trial.

Gowon also invited Awolowo and Enahoro to join his government.

Awolowo served as Commissioner for Finance.

Enahoro was Commissioner for Information and Labour.

Gowon signed the pardon for the men and others, after their unexpired sentences were remitted by the Supreme Military Council.

(Read the GazetteFG Gazette on Awo, Enahoro and co)

On 9 April, when the superfluous pardon for Enahoro was announced by Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, scanty information was provided.

Enahoro was pardoned along with former governor of the old Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Alli and three others.

A government statement simply said: ” Prof Alli was the Governor of the old Bendel State in the Second Republic (1979-1983) and a great progressive, while Chief Enahoro was a foremost nationalist who moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence”.

P.M.News sent a message to Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola to clarify on which conviction the administration was granting pardon to Enahoro.

There was no response.

View Comments

  • Enahoro, together with Edwin Clark were indicted in 1976 by Muritala Mohammed military junta. Clark had all his cinema houses in Lagos confisticated. Only two civilians in the outsted regime of Gowon were set free.

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    • Tell them! They are so quick to passing judgement without necessary research work.

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      • When they (military of then) were guilty...what research would be needed? Research would only prove them wrong of the conviction they meted out to these people. Judgement is normally passed quickly to nullify the threat that theses unfortunate convicts posed to the military of that time.

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  • I wouldn't know but I remember there was a well publicised issue of Enahoro's dismissal as Chairman of FESTAC 77 Committee which was indicted for importing used Scania/Vanhool buses in place of brand new ones for the festival

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    • There is a difference between indictment and conviction. No panel can convict anyone. It can only indict. Only a court of law can convict. Ask the lawyers. It follows that the so-called pardon was wrong.
      This is just by way of educating us.

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  • Yakubu Gowon was around 28Years not 32years when he became Head of State . And he was unmarried then .No so we dey change history

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  • The clueless as you are so ever informed in your brains has just gotten your black ass lockdown to save us as directed by the current World Order. Yet you are all there disturbing our peace with pardons or wrongly pardon. I beg make una Shift

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  • Even during the military regime, we still have people who could speak up to the bad government. Now we are in democracy, every where is so silent like the grave yard. I weep for my nation because noting seems to be working.

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  • This is another low for this President. This President has failed woefully in all spheres of governance.

    There was a time when he appointed a dead person into his cabinet, not knowing the person has died many many years ago.

    The other time during an interview at United Nations sidelines, he was asked a question, instead of answering the question he started reading his speech. What a shame to answer unknown question with a prepared speech.

    Pardoning an already pardoned person is not the worst to expect from these morons, clueless, half baked and unqualified Fulani herdsmen government.

    Day by day Nigeria keeps going down the dungeon, no economy blueprint in place that tends to stimulate and invigorate the economy. They have no idea how to generate and source funds internally for infrastructural developments.

    All their ideas for infrastructural developments is through borrowing and taking up loans, you wonder why they were elected to office in the first instance. Even Okada rider can take loans for infrastructural developments.

    Not only do they not have a clue about governance and economy management and probity. They are so reckless with the national treasury. Nigeria has never had it so bad. I keep wondering how Nigeria has descended into economy abyss, quagmire and Oblivion in just 5 years of maladministration.

    Corona virus pandemic has given them cause to be looting the treasury dry. What a government that claims to have distributed 2 trillion naira to poor Nigerians under 3 days, once they were questioned for the evidence of the disbursement of funds, Treasury house went up in flames.

    Under this sleepy government, snake was alleged to have swallowed millions of naira, monkey was alleged to have swallowed millions. 37 billion was earmarked for the renovation of national assembly. Tinubu and his 2 bullion vans. Billions of dollars already spent in this government's 5 years of war against Boko Haram terrorists without success, yet Chad was able to decimate Boko Haram terrorists in just 2 weeks.

    What a failed government. What a needless change Nigerians made in 2015. What a huge mistake.

    What a situation. I take a stroll. Nonsense.

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    • Thank you once again for these observations. The country is speedily drifting into a terrible position with these morons sitting over the nation's seat of power. God save us from their madness

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  • Hahaha, the is double pardon. It is good to do so even as he is also dead . One pardon was whe. He was alife and this one now is for the spirit to rest in peace

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  • If this is true then there are many unanswered questions. How did a General in Nigeria Army and former head of state not know this,

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