I am deeply saddened by the passing of former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington. We thank God for giving Ambassador Carrington a long life of 90 years full of exemplary deeds and the best of human achievement He openly and unconditionally championed the advent of democratic freedom and constitutional governance in the country.
We thank God for giving Nigeria Walter Carrington when He did. Ambassador Carrington came to Nigeria on a diplomatic assignment but his true mission was even more sublime. Walter was both an African and an American.
This identity he knew full well for it shaped who he was and guided what he did. The best of both worlds was evident in him. This man may have been the citizen of one country but he was surely the brave and passionate son of two nations.
Walter Carrington was a renowned scholar, author, and astute, innovative diplomat. These things are excellent but they don’t tell the full picture. He was much more than that.
He was a proud and noble black man who stood up for his convictions when it would have been easier to simply turn and look the other way.
We were in the clutches of an epic battle between democracy and dictatorship, between freedom and oppression, between enlightened progress and authoritarian reaction. Carrington could have maintained a diplomatic distance. He could have acted cozily with the Abacha regime.
Without the courage and contributions of Walter Carrington, democracy might not have come when, and as it did. Certainly, more of our democracy activists would have suffered and perhaps lost their lives but for his extraordinary intervention.
In helping to secure the blossom of democracy, he became a thorn in the side of the regime and of those who simply cannot stand a good democracy or people being free.
We thank Walter Carrington for his love of us, and his special contributions to this country. May I offer condolences to his loving wife and our sister, Arese, who was such a wonderful partner to Walter.
This man became a bridge between Africa and the African-American. Let us continue his legacy by expanding and strengthening that bridge for the benefit of our race. Ambassador Carrington has gone to be with God.
But before he left, he taught us by example what it means to be pan-Africanist. Now we must follow. Well done Ambassador Carrington. Extremely well done!
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