Mr Emeka Anyaoku
Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth
Date of Birth: 18/01/1933
Place of Birth: Obosi
Education: Merchants of Light School, Oba; University College of Ibadan.
Career: Joined Commonwealth Development Corporation, 1959; Posted to Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York, 1963; Assistant Director of International Affairs, 1966; Assistant Secretary-General, 1975; Deputy Secretary-General with responsibility for international affairs and the Secretariat’s administration, 1977-83; Foreign Minister, 1983-84; Deputy Secretary-General, Commonwealth, 1984-89; Commonwealth Secretary-General, 1989-00.
Commentary: Referred to as a ‘diplomat's diplomat,’ Anyaoku worked for over 35 years in diplomacy and international affairs. He promoted the Commonwealth's role in the democracy movement of the
1990s, with the formulation of the Harare Declaration on Human Rights
and Democracy in 1991. It was in Anyaoku's own country that the
Declaration was first seriously tested in 1997, when General Sani Abacha's regime executed Niger Delta activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others. Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth but Anyaoku stayed on as Secretary General.He has turned down invitations from several politicians to enter politics and contest the presidency. He is a traditional Ndichie chief, Ichie Adazie of Obosi. In 1997 he organised the first African Commonwealth Heads of Government Roundtable to promote democracy and good governance in Africa.