By Eromosele Abiodun, Nume Ekeghe in Lagos and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and a former Minister of External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, yesterday lauded the late former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington, for the key role he played in the enthronement of democratic rule in Nigeria.
Fayemi said Carrington diligently served humanity in his lifetime using the instrumentalities of the law, academia and diplomacy in his home country and other parts of the world where he worked.
In a statement issued yesterday, the governor said the history of restoration of democracy in Nigeria would not be complete without a worthy mention of Carrington’s courageous interventions during the period of military dictatorship.
Fayemi described Carrington as a towering figure in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria because of his courage, tact and commitment to its enthronement.
He hailed the deceased for giving the human rights and pro-democracy movement necessary moral support to ensure the return of civil rule to Africa’s most populous country.
Fayemi credited Carrington with solving some problems encountered by the pro-democracy movement in the course of freeing Nigerians from the jackboots of the then military junta.
According to him, “Carrington was on the side of Nigerians, and stood by the truth at the risk of his life during the most brutal military dictatorship in the country.”
On his part, Akinyemi, however, stated that like himself and many others, Carrington was very disappointed at the outcome of the democratic struggle in Nigeria.
He stated this yesterday when he appeared on the Morning Show, a breakfast programme on ARISE NEWS channel, a sister broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers.
According to the former minister, “Carrington was an ally, a supporter and a firm motivator of democracy in the world. By his death, the world, Africa and Nigeria have lost a very significant player in the drive to ensure democracy in the world.
“The ambassador came to Nigeria just on the eve of June 12, 1993, election, and the democratic movement in Nigeria could not have had a better supporter than Carrington. After the crisis broke, he was constantly beside us, and there are some aspects I cannot talk about but maybe another time.”
Carrington, he stressed, was a great supporter of democracy in Nigeria, adding that: “Like most of us, he was very disappointed at the outcome of the democratic struggle in Nigeria. Yes, a street was named after him, but I think we should have done more because there are Americans who came in and benefited a lot at the return of civilian rule in Nigeria, but Carrington did not get the kind of recognition I thought he would be given. We have lost a friend who lived a good and fulfilled life. We would miss him.”
Also, speaking on the nomination of Kamala Harris as a vice presidential candidate to former United States Vice President, Joe Biden, in the November 2020 elections in the US, he expressed optimism at the choice of the candidate and the Democratic Party winning the upcoming election especially with Harris on the ticket.