Son to late nationalist, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Eugene has disclosed that his father regretted that Nigeria got independence early.
Eugene claimed that his father was of the belief that Nigeria would have been a better place if the colonial masters had stayed longer.
Speaking with Punch, Eugene disclosed that his late father held the notion that, “countries that are doing well in Africa are the ones the colonialists stayed long enough.”
He made the disclosure while reacting to whether his dad would have regretted moving the motion for Nigeria’s independence if he was alive to see the current state of the country.
Responding, Eugene said, “You don’t regret making sacrifices. It is wrong for one to think that he would regret doing what he did. What he did regret was that the sacrifice did not yield enough result. There was an incident during the late Sani Abacha’s time.
“My father, the late Bola Ige, David Jang, Dan Suleiman, Segun Osoba and Balarabe Musa, were all detained in a building in Lagos. I was the only person allowed to see them and was bringing food for them every day.
“The building was in a very busy part of Lagos and they were kept on the top floor. I was annoyed looking at all the old men. I told them to go to the window and look at the people whom they were suffering for, going about their normal business. I asked them why they wanted to make sacrifices for people who did not appreciate them. They explained that the sacrifices were not for today but for future generations. They were committed to doing good and not worried about the reward or what was coming to them.
“There were two things that annoyed my father or that he regretted. One was that we got independence too early. He thought, when they were young, that the country wasn’t moving fast enough and that once we got rid of the whites, we would move faster.
“But it was a big mistake. The countries that are doing well in Africa are the ones the colonialists stayed long enough. Where is the most exclusive part of Benin? Is it not the GRA where the white man lived? If we were in a good country, the GRA is supposed to be a slum by now.
“If you travel overseas, the servants’ quarter is either at the base or top of the house. Here in Africa, because they did not want to live with the black man, they put a building at the back of the compound facing away from the house.
“That was where the black slaves lived. That boy’s quarters has now become accommodation. By now, we should have outlawed boy’s quarters. But the people in Nigeria who are supposed to be building houses for the poor to live are building N50m houses and the same old boy’s quarters. Is that progress?”