Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan; Nigerian Ambassador to Britain, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida; and ex-Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu have extolled the virtues of Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who celebrated his 80th birthday in London on Saturday.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, Annan described the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth as “an impeccable public officer and astute diplomat’’.
He said, “Anyaoku has done a lot for the world and the Commonwealth of Nations where he gave his best for 34 years.
‘‘This is a wonderful celebration for a man who has done so much for his country and the world.
‘‘I am personally happy to be here to honour him, celebrate him, and to wish him another 30 years.
‘‘He is so youthful. I have never seen a younger 80-year-old man like him and I wish him sound health because the world still needs him.”
Tafida described Anyaoku as a seasoned diplomat, whose personality and virtues could be difficult to replicate.
He told NAN, “Anyaoku is a distinguished diplomat, who served in various capacities, from being a Deputy Secretary-General of Commonwealth, to Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, and later Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
‘‘Apart from being a member of many international bodies, he is currently the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Foreign Relations.”
Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Ade Adefuye, said Anyaoku remained the nation’s best “gift to the world”.
According to him, the octogenarian, who was elected SG of the Commonwealth in 1989, made the organisation attractive for non-former British colonies like Cameroon, Rwanda, and Mozambique to join.
Anambra State Governor Peter Obi on his part, described Anyaoku as a “global citizen who should be celebrated daily’’.
In a statement on Sunday, Tinubu said, “Chief Anyaoku signposts what is best and possible about the average Nigerian and Nigeria as a country. He has demonstrated beyond doubt that our country is blessed and not cursed and that if true leadership exists, Nigeria can produce a dozen and more Anyaokus.”