Chief Emeka Anyaoku

Emeka Anyaoku

Emeka Anyaoku, GCVO, CON (born January 18, 1933) was the third Commonwealth Secretary-General. He is a Nigerian of Igbo descent.


Born in Obosi, he attended the University College of Ibadan, then a college of the University of London, from which he obtained an honours degree in Classics.

Political career

In 1959, Emeka Anyaoku joined the Commonwealth Development Corporation. Following Nigeria's independence, he joined Nigeria's diplomatic service, and in 1963 was posted to its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

In 1966, he joined the Commonwealth Secretariat as Assistant Director of International Affairs. In 1968-69 there was a campaign by the Nigerian military government for the recall of Anyaoku; which said he was not a suitable Nigerian nominee, and they were anxious about his loyalty to the country of his birth. But Emeka had resigned from the Nigerian Foreign Service and Arnold had no difficulty in turning aside the demand.

In 1977, the Commonwealth governments elected him as Deputy Secretary-General.

In 1983, Nigeria's civilian government appointed Anyaoku to become Nigeria's Foreign Minister. After the overthrow of the Government by the military later that year, he returned to his position as Deputy Secretary-General with the support of the new government in Nigeria and the endorsement of all Commonwealth Governments.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting at Kuala Lumpur in 1989, Anyaoku was elected the third Commonwealth Secretary-General. He was re-elected at the 1993 Limassol CHOGM for a second five-year term, beginning in July 1995.

Ichie Adazie of Obosi

Aside from his international career, Chief Anyaoku continues to fulfill the duties of his office as Ichie Adazie of Obosi, a traditional Ndichie chieftainship. In 1990, the heads of all 19 communities of the Idemili Clan in his home state of Anambra accorded Anyaoku a unique honour by investing him with the title of Ugwumba Idemili. His wife, Bunmi, is also a chief - Ugoma Obosi and Idemili - in her own right, with a long involvement in welfare work in Nigeria and through Commonwealth organisations.

Anyaoku is currently President of the World Wide Fund for Nature.


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