Emeka Anyaoku, a former Commonwealth secretary general, said the current state of affairs in Nigeria was bringing the country dangerously close to disaster.
Mr Anyaoku made the remarks at the Emeka Anyaoku Lecture Series on Good Governance, which was held in his honor on Thursday in Awka.
The former diplomat, who is from Obosi in Anambra State’s Idemili North Local Government Area, claimed he had to violate a 10-year vow to stay out of the public eye since Nigeria was swiftly straying away from its founding fathers’ goals.
Developments in this country are pushing Nigeria to the brink of national disaster,” he said.
Mr. Emeka Anyaoku, 88, bemoaned the country’s decline into “international irrelevance” and its descent into the ranks of impoverished nations.
He claimed that the state of deterioration has robbed Nigeria of its residents’ desired respect and a much-needed sense of belonging.
He denounced the surge in kidnappings and the crimes of bandits, whom he described as “terrorists, and nothing more.”
Bandits operating in northern Nigeria have carried out violent attacks on Nigeria’s security institutions, including the army, in addition to widespread abductions of residents.
In July, for example, seven soldiers were murdered when bandits ambushed Nigerian forces in a village in Kebbi State.
Mr Anyaoku expressed concern over the recent assassination of a Nigerian diplomat in Jakarta, Indonesia, stating that such an event demonstrated the world’s contempt for Nigeria.
Mr Anyaoku noted that such heinous behavior was unthinkable in their heyday in diplomatic circles. He remembered how, as a young assistant working in Nigeria’s embassy in the United States in the 1960s and early 1970s, he was sought out by practically every state in the country.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State stated the lecture this year arrived at the opportune time in the state’s political history in his speech at the occasion.
Mr Obiano described Mr Anyaoku as an exceptional public servant who successfully managed the world body despite its diversity.
He added that as governor, he had always been inspired by Mr Anyaoku’s illustrious public service legacy and that the least he could do was provide good leadership to the people of Anambra.
We have also come under the powerful influence of the ideals and philosophies that formed the foundations of his entire life’s work and remarkable career that changed the interface between nation states.
“This event could not have come at a better time. Anambra is on the brink of change. A serious political whirlwind is blowing across Anambra State at the moment.
“I have no doubt that a lecture on leadership and good governance will help to remind Anambra people that their number one consideration should always be about which party and candidate would give us good governance.
He was 30 years old then. Instructively, that marked the curve in a historic career that has inspired successive generations across continents, cultures and religions. That is the true meaning of impact.
Here in Anambra State, my team and I have made great efforts to carry the lamp of excellence which Chief Anyaoku had lifted very high on the international stage with dignity and honour,” he said.
Mr Anyaoku was also regarded as a gift from the Obosi people to Anambra, Nigeria, and the world by Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River State.
The event’s guest lecturer, Kingsley Moghalu, urged Nigerian leaders to stand up and offer decent governance to the people.
He went on to say that the general lack of good governance in Nigeria was due to a lack of leadership and a sense of responsibility to the people. He also expressed concern about the obsession with exacting power and the desire to build cliques and a loyalist clan over competence as the source of misrule in the country.
Former Bayelsa senator Ben Murray-Bruce and Hope Eghagha, a professor and lecturer at the University of Lagos, were among the other speakers at the occasion.