Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has described elder statesman and former secretary general of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, as a colossus whose character, profundity of thoughts, international attainments and friendship have propelled to the status of a huge national asset.
In a congratulatory message on his 88 birthday, Ngige said: “Anyaoku is an institution who generations of Nigerians will look back in history to study as an enigma in exemplary citizenship and diplomacy. Generations will study him to become better citizens.”
Recalling his unrivalled record of achievements, Ngige said: “Till date, he is the only African to serve the Commonwealth as the secretary general. He is an international pathfinder and a valuable fulcrum of national leadership, whose contributions at various times rank very high in illuminating the dark alleys of our national history.
“Anyaoku’s eloquence, flowery and flawless oratory is an exemplar of elocution capitals, a benchmark of quality self-development and an accompaniment of global citizenship.”
The minister said Anyaoku made the country proud at the international level where he held exalted positions in the Commonwealth office where he rose from assistant secretary general to deputy secretary general and to secretary general, hailing his contributions in strengthening inter-commonwealth relations, and promotion of democracy and good governance, not only in Nigeria, but in the African continent and beyond.
“As the secretary general of the Commonwealth, he contributed to the dismantling of the apartheid regime and the enthronement of democracy in South Africa.
“He played crucial roles in the resolution of political crises in many commonwealth states, brokering peace between the leaders and opposition in countries.
“Back home in Nigeria, he left the plum office of deputy secretary general in 1983 to come and assist at home, accepting to serve as the minister of Foreign Affairs from October 1983 to December 31, 1983.
“He later, with the former United Nations secretary general, the late Kofi Annan, played an invaluable role in getting politicians to commit to non-violent elections and peaceful transition, eventually paving the way for emergence of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.”