The Authority Icon: EMEKA ANYAOKU
For being a visionary apostle of Nigerian, African and world peace, a lover of knowledge and humanity; for fearlessly speaking the truth to authority, remaining an inspiration to future generations and present rulers, Chief Eleazar Chukwuemeka Anyaoku, GCVO, CFR, CON, Ichie Adazi of Obosi, is The AUTHORITY Icon
Chief Eleazar Chukwuemeka Anyaoku, GCVO, CFR, CON was born on January 18 1933, to Emmanuel and Cecilia Anyaoku in Obosi, Anambra State. At age 7, young Emeka was sent to live with his father’s only brother, Egwuenu Anyaoku, at Umuahia to start schooling in a very rural school. The colonial dispensation then generally did not encourage pupils to go beyond standard 4 or standard 6. In 1943, 10-year old Emeka was sent to stay with his father’s cousin, Nathaniel Enwezor who was Headmaster at CMS Central School at Agbor, 75 km from Obosi.
He attended Merchants of Light School, Oba. It was a boarding school founded by a friend of his father’s, Dr. Enoch Oli, a Nigerian educationist trained in London and Oxford. Mr. Oli taught Emeka and the other students the importance of hard work, good character and good inter-personal relations.
After his secondary education, Anyaoku in 1952 taught at Emmanuel College, Owerri in Eastern Region, until mid-1954 - lecturing in mathematics, Latin and English. He then decided to study Classics at the new University College of Ibadan. In 1959, he obtained a London University Honours Degree in classics as a college scholar and joined the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) in Lagos. He was sent on a course at the Royal Institute for Public Administration in London. On 1 October 1960, Nigeria was granted independence by Britain and he was posted back to the CDC West Africa regional office Lagos, in December 1960.
In 1959, he joined the Commonwealth Development Corporation. In early 1962, Anyaoku came in contact with the then Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belewa who developed interest in the brilliant young man. Tafawa Balewa was to persuade Anyaoku to join the Nigerian Foreign Service. Within a month of his entry, he was appointed Personal Assistant to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for External Affairs
There, he was closely involved in the process that led to the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in May 1963. Following Nigeria’s independence, he joined Nigeria’s diplomatic service, and in 1963 was posted to its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. In November 10, 1962, Anyaoku and Ebunola Olubunmi Solanke were married at the Anglican Cathedral Church in Lagos
In October, 1983, he resigned from his post and returned to Nigeria at the invitation of President Shehu Shagari to serve as the country’s Foreign Minister. On the overthrow of the government by the military on 31 December 1983, he went back with the unanimous support of the Commonwealth Governments to his previous position as Deputy Secretary-General. In 1989 at their meeting in Kualla-lumpur he was elected by Commonwealth Heads of Government the third Commonwealth Secretary-General. He was re-elected at the 1993.
Emeka Anyaoku is a published author and now holds 33 honorary Doctorate degrees from top universities in the world.