By Jude Atupulazi and Ikeugonna Eleke
The Governor of Anambra of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has described former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, as a global citizen on the latter’s 89th birthday.
This comes as the immediate past Governor of the state, Mr Peter Obi,
also described Anyaoku as an exemplary ambassador of Nigeria and Anambra State on the global stage and a personality who had continued to contribute to the peace and development of Nigeria, and Anambra, his home state.
Obiano, in his message, expressed glowing tribute towards the statesman, describing him as exemplary, while assuring him that the government and people of Anambra State would always celebrate him as a global citizen who thought home.
In a press release by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C Don Adinuba, on behalf of the governor, Obiano said Anyaoku was the most decorated African in modern history, as exemplified by 34 honorary doctoral degrees he had received from various local and foreign universities.
Part of the release stated that ‘Chief Anyaoku’s tenure as the Commonwealth chief executive from 1990 to 2000 is spoken about throughout the world in nostalgic terms. The organization, for example, became a global vehicle for the mobilization of democratic values like holding periodic free and fair elections but also upholding the dignity of the human person. He was thus easily reelected at the summit in Cyprus in April, 1995.
‘Chief Anyaoku has been serving Anambra people in various other ways. For instance, his leadership of the Anambra State Council of Elders has been marked with great understanding, wisdom, knowledge and dignity.
‘He has demonstrated great love for his Obosi Community too, inspiring other eminently successful individuals to identify with theirs. He always spends the Christmas holidays in Obosi and his presence frequently attracts local and international statesmen to the community.
‘As Chief Anyaoku, who proudly holds the traditional title of Adazi Obosi, marks his 89th birthday, the people and Government of Anambra State thank God for his life and wish him many more years of good health, wisdom and service to God and humankind.’
Adinuba also revealed that Governor Willie Obiano had called on the former Commonwealth chief executive to wish him a rewarding birthday.
For his part, former Gov Obi, in a congratulatory message released by his media office, signed by Barr Valentine Obienyem, explained that while he lived in the United Kingdom in the 90s, he always felt proud, as an Igbo man with Anyaoku’s contributions to the Common wealth of Nations.
According to Obi in the statement, ‘I recall that it was in 1997, during Chief Emeka Anyaoku’s tenure at Edinburgh Conference, that the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), of which I was an early member, was formed.
‘As a body saddled with the responsibility of enhancing trades and mobilising investments among the member nations of the Commonwealth, the CBC played an active role in the economic development of member nations. Being an early member of the Council afforded me the opportunity of participating in their conferences in Malaysia, Mauritius, India, Australia, Malta, South Africa, etc.’
Obi also recalled that he had also been privileged to speak at different Commonwealth events, especially the ones held in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Continuing, Obi said, ‘In 2013, as the then Governor of Anambra State, I recall being a special guest at his 80th birthday hosted by the then Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, at the Commonwealth Headquarters.
‘Also as the then Chairman of South East Governors, I co-hosted the 80th birthday celebration of Chief Emeka Anyaoku at Obosi, which had in attendance, all the then South East Governors; former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and many other dignitaries from across the country and beyond.’
Obi said he was honoured to associate with and celebrate a man whose greatness, he said, had rubbed off on people, both individually and collectively as a nation.
‘It is my earnest prayers that God will grant him good health of mind and body now and always,’ Obi, the Vice Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the general elections, prayed.