Olusegun Osunkeye, chairman, Lafarge WAPCO, honours Christopher Kolade and Emeka Anyaoku, renowned diplomats, who made positive contributions to Nigeria and the continent as they marked their 80th birthday anniversary recently
The life of Christopher Kolade, chairman, Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, has demonstrated the veracity of the axiom that says to lead is to serve. For decades, Kolade, former Nigerian high commissioner to United Kingdom, UK, has dedicated himself to the service of Nigeria, through passion for promoting values of ethical behaviour and integrity. These qualities have empowered him to serve successfully in four spheres of life and with merit in each area: public service, private sector, diplomacy and academia. His appetite to promote ethical and developmental issues concerning Nigeria inspired him to initiate the Convention on Business Integrity and Nigeria Leadership Initiative, as his own contribution to ending the integrity and leadership malaise in the society.
For these accomplishments, Olusegun Osunkeye, chairman, Lafarge WAPCO, honoured Kolade at a dinner recently when he attained the glorious age of 80 years. Kolade was adjudged a positive role model for the Nigerian youth. He has empowered hundreds of youths by providing them with financial support to make worthwhile contributions to the process of realising a better Nigeria. So far, Christopher Kolade Foundation has given grants to the Institute of Child Health, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, and University of Abuja, Gwagwalada among other institutions.
Emeka Anyaoku, former secretary general, Commonwealth, was equally honoured for his outstanding performance for leading change efforts to improve the lives of Nigerians and Africans at large. For instance, in his 10-year tenure at the 54-nation organisation, he had to his credit, the successful rebranding of the body from being a paper tiger to an active body for the promotion of democracy and human rights. For this he received 32 doctorate degrees from universities in Britain, Canada, Ghana, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa and Nigeria among other countries. This feat made the University of London to establish a professional chair in his name, the Emeka Anyaoku Professor of Commonwealth Studies, the first African to be honoured in a British university.
To Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, the duo are friends, who share a lot in common, being only separated in birth by a three-week gap in favour of Kolade. Obasanjo while giving a toast to the celebrants told his audience that the duo’s personal achievement in the public space is incomparable. “If you want a job to be well done, give it to them, they are Nigerian in many ways in terms of integrity, loyalty and honesty,” he said.
Osunkeye explained that it became imperative to celebrate the two icons whom he described as possessing enduring values of ethical behaviour and integrity in personal, business and professional life. “They have attained age 80 in outstanding character and have served our country and humanity, meritoriously for decades without blemish. They are iconic figures worth emulating by Nigerian youths,” he told the magazine.