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Akintola at 98: Anyaoku delivers lecture today

FORMER Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, will today deliver a lecture in commemoration of the 98th birthday of Chief Akintola Williams, the first African to qualify as a chartered accoun- tant.

Anyaoku’s lecture, entitled: “Re-establishing Nigeria’s leadership position in the World,” is the third in series of lectures organised by the Akintola Williams Foundation since 2015.

Born on August 9, 1919, Chief Williams began his education at Olowogbowo Methodist Primary School, Bankole Street, Apongbon, Lagos Island, in the early 1930s, the same primary school his late younger brother, Chief Rotimi Williams attended.

His firm, founded in 1952, later grew organically and through mergers to become the largest professional ser- vices firm in Nigeria by 2004.

Williams participated in founding the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. During a long career, Williams received many honours.

Anyaoku, the lecturer, was the third Commonwealth Secretary-General.

He was educated at Merchants of Light School, Oba and attended the University College of Ibadan, then a col- lege of the University of London, from which he obtained an honours degree in Classics as a College Scholar.

Anyaoku joined the Commonwealth Development Cor- poration in 1859 and by 1962, he came in contact with the then Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belewa, having accompanied his visiting boss, Lord Ho- wick, Chairman of the Commonwealth Development Corporation, to a meeting with the Prime Minister on the activities of the corporation in Nigeria and the West Afri- can region.

The Prime Minister, impressed by Anyaoku’s answers to some of his questions on the projects supported by the CDC in West Africa, took an interest in his future and persuaded him to consider joining the Nigerian Foreign Service.

After a grueling interview by the Federal Civil Service Commission, Anyaoku was offered an appointment in the Foreign Service in April 1962. Within a month of his en- try, he was appointed Personal Assistant to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for External Affairs.

In 1966, Anyaoku joined the Commonwealth Secretar- iat as Assistant Director of International Affairs. In 1977, the Commonwealth Heads of Government elected him as Deputy Secretary-General. Anyaoku was to become Ni- geria’s Foreign Minister in 1983 in the short-lived Shehu Shagari’s second term in office as president.

After the overthrow of the government by the mili- tary later that year, he returned to his position as Deputy Secretary-General. In 1989, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Kuala Lumpur, Anyaoku was elected the third Commonwealth Secretary-General. He was re-elected at the 1993 CHOGM in Limassol for a sec- ond five-year term, beginning on April 1, 1995.

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