Nigeria can be a great country—Anyaoku

By Vincent Ujumadu

Awka— FORMER Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka
Anyaoku, said, yesterday, that Nigeria has all it takes to be a leading country
in the world if citizens could solve the numerous challenges facing the
country.

Speaking during the official launch of Emeka Anyaku Institute of International
Studies and Diplomacy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, UNIZIK, Awka, the
former Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed optimism that once the problems
were tackled, Nigeria will take her rightful place in the comity of nations.

While commending the university for the honour, Anyaoku hoped that the
Institute will provide facilities for teaching and learning diplomacy, as well as
studies on interdependence among Nigerian tribes to promote unity.

Anyaoku said: “It is an immense pleasure for me to be on the grounds of this
university that bears the name of Africa’s most illustrious son, Dr. Nnamdi
Azikiwe, and I am truly humbled to be given a lifetime honour by this
university.

“I often say that at the age of 84, I have entered the departure lounge, but
my prayer is that my flight should be delayed much longer.”

Half century of diplomacy

Anyaoku, who said he had been involved in diplomacy for over 50 years,
expressed happiness that he had been part of conflict resolution in many
countries of the world, including dismantling the apartheid regime in South
Africa.

He added that as the third Commonwealth Secretary General, he had not
known what to do with the large number and volumes of his books and
papers, adding that Nnamdi Azikiwe University had helped him to solve that
problem.

“I will now deposit all my books in this Institute to enable other people share
my knowledge,” he said.

Former Minister of External Affairs, General Ike Nwachukwu (retd.), who was
chairman of the occasion, said Anyaoku was someone to rely on when things
went wrong.

He said: “As a member of a nine-man committee sent by the Commonwealth
to handle the issue of apartheid regime in South Africa, we had to canvass for
Anyaoku, who was then the Deputy Secretary General, to be elected the
Secretary General of the Commonwealth.

“He later won the election and his 10-year tenure witnessed the growth of
most Commonwealth countries.

“I plead with young people of this country not to break Nigeria and we, as the
elderly ones, also have the responsibility to ensure peace and stability.”
According to him, Nigeria required an Institute of this nature where other
people should be made to know that not all Nigerians were bad.

While also commending UNIZIK for honouring Anyaoku, Nwachukwu recalled
that it was Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe that advocated that a man be better
honoured when he was alive, expressing happiness that a university named
after Azikiwe also decided to honour Anyaoku in his lifetime.

He has golden touch —Gov Obiano

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State described Anyaoku as one person
who will not be afraid to express his view on any issue, adding that as the
chairman of the Anambra Elders Council, Anyaoku had been one of the key
advisers to his government.

Governor Obiano said: “Anything Anyaoku touches turns to gold and that is
why we believe that as the chairman of Orient Petroleum Resources, which is
part of the state’s proposed Airport City, Anyaoku’s contributions will ensure
quick realisation of the project.”

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo , Chief Nnia Nwodo, said Anyaoku was
one Igbo man whose advice had strengthened and sustained his position as
the leader of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation.

According to Nwodo, “at the age of 31, I was appointed Minister of Aviation
and I served in the same cabinet with Anyaoku who was the Minister of
External Affairs. It was a great privilege for me.”

Roll call

Other personalities at the ceremony were former Head of State, General
Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd.); former Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus
Danjuma (retd.); former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili; former
President General of Ohanaeze , Professor Joe Irukwu; former Nigerian
Ambassador to the US, Professor George Obiozor, and former Chief of General
Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.)

Others were Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe; the traditional ruler of
Awka, Obi Gibson Nwosu; traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu, Professor Vincent
Ike; former Pro-Chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu University, Professor
Elochukwu Amaucheazi, and traditional ruler of Nnewi, Igwe Kenneth Orizu.

Captains of industry, including Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Jim Ovia, among
others, were repre-sented at the ceremony.

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