President Muhammadu Buhari has sent condolences to the family of one of Nigeria’s celebrated columnists, Peter Enahoro, popularly known as Peter Pan.
Enahoro died on Monday at the age of 88 in London, the United Kingdom.
His death was announced in a terse statement by a fellow journalist, Ms Bunmi Sofola, on Tuesday.
“Regret to announce the passing on of our iconic journalist Peter Enahoro ‘Peter Pan’ today in London at the age of 88. RIP.
“Also known by the pen name of ‘Peter Pan’ because of his popular column in the New African magazine under that name. He has been described as ‘perhaps Africa’s best-known international journalist’,” Sofola wrote.
Enahoro, who became the Editor of the Nigerian Sunday Times in 1958 at the age of 23, was a younger brother of the late First Republic politician and elder statesman, Anthony Enahoro.
Buhari, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, described Enahoro as a “gifted and iconic journalist, author and publisher,” adding that Enahoro “earned the public trust by his fearless writings, tenacity, and commitment to the pursuit of truth.”
“The President 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.
“President Buhari urges 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,” the statement read.
Also, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, said Enahoro’s demise marked the end of an accomplished life of devotion to media excellence.
In a statement by his media officer, Tunde Rahman, Tinubu recalled the role Enahoro played in Nigeria’s march to nationhood through the instrumentality of the media.
He said, “The news of the death of Mr Peter Enahoro at 88 brought sadness because our society is always better and enriched by the wisdom of our venerable senior citizens like veteran journalists in the class of Peter Pan who shaped and changed the course of history with the power of their pen.
“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, rule of law and social justice in our country.
“His seminal book, ‘How To Be A Nigerian,’ published in 1966 will be a reference material on good citizenship.”
Similarly, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, hailed Enahoro for the mark he made as an international journalist, having worked as a 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.
Also, the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, described the deceased as a “national treasure”.
Obaseki said the late columnist made “insightful and critical commentary on the Nigerian nation and its march to a free, fair and just society.”
He added, “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.”
Enahoro attended the prestigious Government College, Ughelli (in present-day Delta State), and was a contemporary of the famous poet and Africa’s first professor of English, JP Clark.