L-R: Primate of Anglican Church of Nigeria , Nicholas Okoh; Chief Emeka Anyaoku and wife, Bunmi; former governor Bola Tinubu; Governor Peter Obi and General Yakubu Gowon after the thanksgiving service in honour of Anyaoku who marked his 80th birthday and 50 years of marriage to Bunmi at St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Obosi, Anambra State... Saturday
By Emeka Osondo and Charles Onyekamuo
It was encomiums all the way Saturday as former Commonwealth Secretary General Emeka Anyaoku celebrated his 80th birthday and golden jubilee of his marriage to his wife, Bunmi, in Obosi, Anambra State.
Leading the pack of admirers was President Goodluck Jonathan who in his message noted that Anyaoku’s 80 years of life had been laced with outstanding accomplishments and great personal fulfilment.
The president, who was represented by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Nwogu, said: “You have not only served our nation at the highest levels with an uncommon sense of patriotism and unwavering dedication, you have also brought great pride to Nigeria through your notably successful services as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations”.
Anambra State Governor Peter Obi described the event as a celebration of decent life, noting that Anyaoku is a global ambassador who represented Nigeria and Africa very well.
His administration, he said, would continue to honour those who had distinguished themselves in their honest endeavours and brought pride to the state.
He enjoined the upcoming generation to emulate Anyaoku’s lifestyle and shun irresponsibility and fraudulent accumulation of wealth.
Earlier at the church service officiated by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Obi thanked God for the day and for leaders of the country.
He said 80 years longevity celebration in Obosi known as “ ito Ogbo” should be emulated by other communities because it is good to celebrate one when he is alive.
The governor also urged Nigerian leaders to rededicate the nation to God, adding that unless Nigeria stands out as a nation, other black nations in the world would hardly find their feet.
He called on Anyaoku to stand out so that the Igbo nation would have a sound leadership.
Obi said Nigeria is full of political contradictions that needed the emergence of a new crop of leaders to pilot instead of recycling old hands.
Rev. Okoh, described Anyaoku’s life as one worth living.
He described it as a life full of God's favour and kindness even as he tasked Anyaoku to re-dedicate his remaining time on earth to the service of humanity.
Okoh said though the country was passing through a lot of security challenges at present, the nation could still stand if only the leaders would become servant leaders who are ready to devote their lives to the service of God and humanity.
Former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) prayed God to bless and protect the Anyaokus to be able to serve the country and black race.
An elated Anyaoku thanked the dignitaries who came to celebrate with him, asking God to bless all of them.
Those present at the event included Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta) and Theodore Orji (Abia) as well as former Lagos State governor Bola Tinubu, Senators Chris Ngige and Andy Uba, Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Information Dr. Dora Akunyili and Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma.