Accolades came in torrents for ex-Commonwealth secretary-general, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, during the launch of Emeka Anyaoku Institute of International Studies and Diplomacy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, on Wednesday, as dignitaries highlighted his achievement.
The accolades came at a time Anyaoku outlined how Nigeria could become a great country.
To Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, “Anyaoku is not always afraid to express his views on any issue.”
Obiano revealed that the former diplomat has been an adviser to his government.
Highlighting the good things Anyaoku has done, Obiano said: “Anything Anyaoku touches turns to gold and that is why we believe that, as 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.”
On his part, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said Anyaoku has strengthened and sustained his position as leader of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
“At the age of 31, I was appointed minister of Aviation and I served in the same cabinet with Anyaoku, who was minister of External Affairs. It was a great privilege for me,” said Nwodo.
Former minister of External Affairs, General Ike Nwachukwu, who was chairman on the occasion, described Anyaoku as someone to rely on.
He said: “As a member of a nine-man committee sent by the Commonwealth to handle the issue of apartheid in South Africa, we had to canvass for Anyaoku, who was then deputy secretary general, to be elected secretary general of the Commonwealth.
“He later won the election and his 10-year tenure witnessed the growth of most Commonwealth countries.”
Nwachukwu added that Nigeria requires an institute, just as the Emeka Anyaoku Institute of International Studies and Diplomacy, where others people could learn that not all Nigerians are bad.
The former soldier commended Nnamdi Azikiwe University for honouring Anyaoku, and recalled that the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe advocated that a man could be better honoured when he alive.
Earlier, Anyaoku said Nigeria would become a leading country if citizens could solve the numerous challenges facing the nation.
On the institute, Anyaoku commended Nnamdi Azikiwe univeersity for the honour, and expressed hope that the institute would provide facilities for teaching and learning diplomacy.
He expressed optimism that it would offer studies on interdependence among Nigerian tribes, which, he said, would promote unity.
“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,” Anyaoku said.
He also noted that with the institute, there is a place for the large number and volumes of his books and papers.
“I will now deposit all my books in this institute, to enable other people share my knowledge,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, urged Nigerian youths to build on the legacies of the founding fathers to ensure the country does not break up.
He said the nation’s diversity must be positively explored by all, for its continued existence.
Abubakar underscored the importance of peace and unity for any society which desires meaningful growth and development and warned that the various agitations across the country could tear the nation apart.
“We must allow peace to reign; without which development would be impossible.
“Altogether, there is strength in diversity. All hands must be on deck to make our great Nigeria greater,” he said.
Former Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma, in his remark, noted that the present agitation for restructuring is a good idea but should not be pursued with violence.
He stressed the need for a unified country, and reiterated that it would be an abomination for Nigerians to seek visas to travel to another part of the country.