Former Secretary General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has decried Nigeria’s declining reputation globally.
Anyaoku who spoke on Tuesday at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, during the Maiden Symposium of Emeka Anyaoku Institute for International Studies and Diplomacy, said a lot of work needed to be done to raise Nigeria’s profile in the comity of nations and to win back the respect of Nigerians.
He described the special guest of honour, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as the most visionary president Nigeria had ever had, just as he thanked him for agreeing to honor the invitation.
He said, ‘In his first time as head of State, Nigeria’s standing internationally was such that he was able to convene a worldwide festival of arts in Lagos involving blacks globally, landmark of Nigeria profile in global community.
‘In 1989, the competition of the post of secretary general was between Nigerian and former president of Australia and Nigeria was elected. These was the era when Nigeria was flying high internationally. When the Nigerian passport was treated with respect and dignity globally.
‘Nigerians were most sort after speakers abroad. Unfortunately, today, Nigeria’s standing in the world, I must say, has declined, amidst robust brilliant performances.
‘Today, Nigerian passport is treated with contempt in many parts of the world. We have a lot of work to do for the future in terms of raising Nigeria’s profile in the comity of nations and winning respect for Nigerians.’
Anyaoku who also marked his 89th birthday at the event, said Nigeria’s standing and diplomacy in the world could be greatly influenced by the country’s domestic situation.
‘As the most populous African country, Nigeria has a special responsibility for obliterating the abiding legacy of the slave trade by winning respect and genuine acceptance of the nation of human equality among the non-black races across the world,’ he said.
Earlier, former Nigerian President and Chairman of the occasion, Chief Obasanjo, said Nigeria had lots to learn from diplomacy and international relations.
He stressed the place of unity and integrity for Nigeria to achieve meaningful development, as well as continuing a better foreign policy.
He said, ‘We have a role to play in view of our population in the comity of nations. But to be able to play that role, we have to be good at home before going outside.
He extolled Anyaoku for his immense roles and contributions in international diplomacy.