Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has accepted to be the chairman of the annual The Sun Awards, billed for February 18, 2017 in Lagos.
Nineteen distinguished Nigerians will be honoured in the award ceremony, holding at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria island, Lagos.
Having received a letter from the management of The Sun Publishing Limited requesting him to chair the prestigious event, Anyaoku called the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Eric Osagie at the weekend. He said: “I have received your letter, requesting me to be chairman of The Sun Awards. I accept. Please, take this telephone conversation as confirmation of my acceptance to attend the event and be chairman.”
Born on January 18, 1933, Anyaoku, was educated at Merchants of Light School, Oba and University College of Ibadan (then a college of the University of London), where he obtained a degree in Classics.
He joined the Commonwealth Development Corporation in 1959. While working with Lord Howick, Chairman of the Commonwealth Development Corporation, Anyaoku met then Prime Minister of Nigeria, the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belewa, in early 1962, who persuaded him to consider joining the Nigerian Foreign Service.
After a successful interview with Federal Civil Service Commission, he was employed in the Foreign Service in April 1962. He was later appointed Personal Assistant to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for External Affairs, which gave him opportunity to be involved in the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in May 1963.
Anyaoku joined the diplomatic service and was posted, in 1963, to its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, USA. In 1966, he joined the Commonwealth Secretariat as Assistant Director of International Affairs. The Commonwealth Heads of Government elected him as Deputy Secretary-General in 1977. In 1983, Anyaoku was appointed Nigeria’s Foreign Minister.
After the overthrow of the government by the military the same year, he returned to his position as Deputy Secretary-General at the Commonwealth. In 1989, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Kuala Lumpur, he was elected the third Commonwealth Secretary-General. He was re-elected at the 1993 CHOGM in Limassol for a second five-year term, beginning on April 1, 1995. He retired from the Commonwealth after completing two-terms as secretary-general.
Distinguished awardees at this year’s occasion include: Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun State Governor (Man of the Year); Barrister Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (Governor of the Year); Hon. Yakubu Dogara (Political Icon); Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari (Courage in Leadership) and Sir Tony Ezenna(Manufacturer of the Year).
Other winners of The Sun Awards, who will also be honoured on February 18, are: Dr. Stella Okoli, CEO, Emzor Pharmaceutical (Business Personality of the Year); Mr. Herbert Wigwe, MD, Access Bank Plc (Banker of the Year) and Dr. Cosmas Maduka, Chairman of Coscharis Group (Investor of the Year).
Already the nation is gripped in excitement as the countdown begins today.