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#OnThisDay: Emeka Anyaoku becomes Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

Today we salute Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who on October 18, 1989 became the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations. Anyaoku was born on January 18, 1933 in Obosi, Anambra State educated at the Universities of Ibadan and London, earning an honours degree in Classics from the latter. He joined the Commonwealth Development Corporation in 1959, and became a member of Nigeria's diplomatic service in 1963. His first post was at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

When the Commonwealth Secretariat was established, he became its Assistant Director of International Affairs, rising through the ranks to become Assistant Secretary General in 1975 at the age of 42. After a brief return to Nigeria to serve as Foreign Minister to the Shagari administration, his in-depth knowledge of national, continental and international affairs led to his election as Secretary-General. His skilled and inspired leadership led to his re-election to a second term in 1993. Aside from his many professional achievements, Anyaoku is also the Ichie Anyaoku of Obosi, a traditional title. He is the author of several books, and a chair in Commonwealth Studies was named for him at the University of London. He was decorated by Queen Elizabeth as an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2000. WATCH: A recent interview with Chief Emeka Anyaoku http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vXCjWPC19o   Discover more Nigerian achievers in ZODML's Discover Nigeria section.

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