Full Speech Of President Goodluck Jonathan At The Launch Of Footprints Of An Iconic Diplomat:
I am really delighted to be here in this gathering with you today. I consider it a unique opportunity to be in the midst of a distinguished audience of eminent persons from within and outside Nigeria who have gathered to bear testimony to the fruit of hard work and to honour excellence. The launching of the pictorial biography of Chief Emeka Anyaoku, with the title: Footprints of an Iconic Diplomat, is indeed, a fitting tribute to a worthy son of our great country, a father, brother, friend and uncommon idol whose legendary exploits in public service transcend the ordinary routine.
The work we are launching today comes naturally as a gift to history; the history of our nation, the history and evolution of the Commonwealth of Nations, and indeed, an authentic pictorial reflection of efforts to reset the agenda of the international community, to promote justice and equity, democracy, economic development, environmental sustainability, and the ultimate goal of global peace. I am gladdened that there exists a consensual perception of what our respected Chief Emeka Anyaoku represents for humanity.
Just applauding the commitment and effort to produce this work would be doing too little to the character of this rare icon of our time. It is to me neither a surprise nor do I see it as accidental that it was considered worthy to undertake this tasking but laudable project. Had I the choice, I would without equivocation, commission such a noble venture. There can be no better befitting acknowledgement and recognition of service to humanity. I say this because from my vantage position, I have seen an unparalleled devotion to service and come to realization that in his primary chosen field of international affairs and diplomacy, Chief Anyaoku is an indisputable champion in an uncommon comfort zone comparable only to the proverbial captains of the diplomatic industry, always from other climes. I am therefore happy that this presentation has come as a fitting tribute that is well deserved.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me say that even while acknowledging the wisdom and veracity of this great work we are launching, it is the man himself that fascinates me the most. Chief Emeka Anyaoku, to me, represents an enigma of our time. His world straddles the labyrinth of professionalism that is enamoured in a rich and sound philosophical foundation and discharged with an intellectual and scholarly precision; and yet embodies the basic ethics that edify societal values and harmony with nature. The world view through his spectacle represents a collective vision of peace and general wellbeing of the global citizenry. I have no doubt that this is a world many of us here would love to help cultivate and indeed, live in.
You will agree therefore that notwithstanding his numerous accomplishments, Chief Anyaoku remains a Trojan warrior with an unquenching appetite for more victories. The question therefore relates to the source of the Chief's inexhaustible energy for the struggle to improve the lots of humanity.
As a career diplomat that rose through the ranks of the Nigerian Foreign Ministry, Chief Anyaoku excelled and became the first career Foreign Minister that Nigeria produced, a singular appointment in 2003 that was aptly characterized as an unalloyed 'square peg in a square hole', underscoring the seriousness with which Nigeria intended to pursue a consistent and time-honoured foreign policy at the time.
As Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Anyaoku spearheaded many battles for the decolonization of Africa, emancipation of all the people under oppressive rule, enthronement of democracy, rule of law, social equity and cohesion, as well as sustainable economic growth and development. In his advocacy in these fields, he was unequivocal on the consequences of inaction. He uncompromisingly spoke the truth whenever occasion demanded, without pandering to vested interests. For instance, at the 7th annual Emancipation Distinguished Lecture in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 29 July 1995, Chief Anyaoku admonished African and Diaspora leaders in the following words:
“The end of colonial rule and racist minority regimes in Southern Africa should not mean the end of the need for solidarity…New challenges have emerged…There is the continuing marginalisation of Africa in world affairs…Arresting and ending this trend of maginalisation is, of course, the responsibility of the governments and peoples of Africa in the first place…Intellectuals of the African Diaspora can make a contribution in the effort to restore Africa to the centre stage in world affairs...The most enduring legacy [of slavery] has been the failure of most Africans and peoples of African descent to achieve total psychological and intellectual emancipation…Clearly this cannot be achieved by the wave of any wand. It will take sustained efforts; but whatever it takes, that aspect of our reconstruction will have to be accomplished”.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The likes of Chief Anyaoku are not common in our midst. I must therefore count myself lucky to have the benefit of first admiring the exploits of this quintessential diplomat and Nigerian rare gem of international politics, and thereafter, as fate would have it, having the opportunity to work closely with him as my Honourary Adviser. I have enjoyed the demonstrative synergy between the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) on Foreign Relations, under Chief Anyaoku's leadership, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in guiding our foreign policy exertions for Nigeria. There is no doubt that your informed advice has catalyzed an effectively proactive and robustly dynamic foreign policy to the utmost satisfaction and benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Today, our foreign policy is targeted at supporting the economic programme of Government, to create jobs for our youths, create wealth in the society and support infrastructural development of the country. The high level of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into the country has been the result of the dynamic economic diplomacy driven by my Administration.
In our sub-region, Nigeria's leadership credentials have helped to stabilize the region and bring peace to Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Guinea Bissau. Nigeria's visibility in the African Union (AU) is unassailable as we are now represented at the highest decision-making organ of the Organisation; a feat achieved last year in spite of our previous attempts for the past decade. We are also moving forward to ensure more relevance and visibility at the United Nations as we are poised to contest election into the United Nations Security Council for 2014-15. In all these, the synergy between the Foreign Ministry and the PAC is unmistakable.
Yet, it is not only in the international political arena that this our erudite and iconic father has excelled in the public service. Chief Anyaoku has been equally involved in championing nature's conservation; a commitment that has taken him to virtually the remotest parts of the globe. His vision in this regard is inspired by the belief that it is only in a safe and harmonious nature that human aspirations and existential endeavours can blossom. Therefore, as President of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) from 2001-2010, he deployed available intergovernmental instruments and mobilized influential Civil Society platforms to advocate the need for restraints in man's exploitation of the environment. His noble efforts in this regard have become even more pertinent and appreciated today in the face of the increasing negative impact of climatic and environmental challenges, which even the erstwhile skeptics, have turned the corner to acknowledge.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Chief Anyaoku is a complete man, who is also well-rooted at home. Commitment to dispense charity to the global world has not, for a moment, obscured him from his very cradle of life. Tribute to this Chief, therefore, cannot be complete without a word on his service to his people. His international profile and accomplishments have ensured that his immediate kinsmen, and indeed, the Ibo nation benefit from his unique exposure and wealth of experience. No wonder then that he was appropriately rewarded with the very important chieftaincy titles of Ichie Adazie of Obosi and Ugwumba Idemili.
Ladies and Gentlemen
History, we are told is the best teacher in all aspects of our living. The experiences and lessons from the service of Chief Anyaoku will no doubt remain indelible to us as both witnesses and beneficiaries of his exploits. But most important is the fact that in the modern world we live in today, written history has proven to be the best taught history. The ease with which we are able to reconnect with and appreciate the achievements of Chief Emeka Anyaoku cannot be divorced from the documented accounts of his stewardship to Nigeria and the global community.
While therefore acknowledging the efforts by many a Nigerian leaders to document accounts of their stewardship, I enjoin all public office holders, especially those within the leadership bracket, to see the publication of memoires as integral to their service mandates. Publishing such accounts will invariably afford the public the opportunity of understanding the philosophical underpinning of policies and actions.
In concluding this remark, I should like, on behalf of all of us, commend and greet Chief Anyaoku, the exemplary living monument of peace, champion of freedom, advocate of democracy and fairness, icon of diplomacy, epitome of excellence and the indefatigable defender of Nigeria's national interest. We thank you for inspiring and mentoring many. But I also charge those that have been so mentored to step up to demonstrate their readiness to take Nigeria to the next level.
Ladies and Gentlemen
All that we have done this far has been to highlight the contributions of our Chief to the service of our fatherland, in particular, and to the entire humanity, in general. But these achievements might not have been possible but for the dogged and resolute support and collaboration of his darling wife of 51 years, Princess Bunmi Anyaoku, Omoba of Abeokuta. We commend her for standing by her husband, our venerable Chief, and giving all necessary support since 1962.
Finally, for those that have made this launch a reality, especially Leverage Multi Global Concept, I commend you for a dream come true.
I thank you for your attention.
NIGERIAN PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN-