Uhuru-Spirit News


February 20, 2014 | Uhuruspirit

Nelson Mandela

Africans from different corners of the continent convened to celebrate the ‘life and times’ of African icon and former South African president, late Nelson Mandela.

The event, which saw dignitaries from all over Africa converge in Abuja, was tagged ‘Africa, liberation struggles and the future of the continent.’ Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku who represented the government of Nigeria described Mandela as a product of the social situation he found himself. He also brought to light, the roles played by individuals who worked behind the scenes during the fight to rid South Africa of Apartheid.

He said, “Sometimes when we praise Mandela, we forget to appreciate those who nurtured him, people like the founding fathers of the ANC. People who put Mandela up as a symbol of hope in the spotlight content to stay in the background. This is not the case in Nigeria; everybody wants to be the one.” Mr. Maku also stressed the indivisibility of Nigeria despite the challenges faced. He said, “Nigeria is not under threat. We have challenges but that doesn’t mean we will collapse. We will defend this country with the last drop of our blood.”

The event which was organised by Abuja Collective had in attendance the ambassadors of South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Jamaica, Cuba, Gambia, Namibia, Botswana and South Sudan.

South African High Commissioner to Nigeria Lulu Louis Mnguni expressed the gratitude of the South African people to Nigeria for its contributions to the fight against discrimination in South Africa. He urged Africans to learn from Mandela and strive for peace and unity in Africa.

Mr. Salihu Muhammed, who represented Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi called on Nigerian activists to get involved in politics so as to exert more influence on the economy and reverse the current trends.

Daughter of former Nigerian Head of State and Executive Secretary, Murtala Mohammed Foundation, Mrs. Aisha Mohammed-Oyebode described Mandela as an epitome of humanity who displayed extreme generosity of Spirit.

She said, “Africa as a continent has been saddled with so many negative labels, but we can stand taller than most because Nelson Mandela is one of us.”

Former COSATU General Secretary Jay Naidoo, who served as South Africa's Minister responsible for the Reconstruction and Development Programme during the Mandela presidency advised African leaders to selflessly fight for the people they lead. He said, “The struggle is not about the leaders but the people. Political freedom is much more than the Right to vote every four or five years; it talks about the right to health, good roads, education, security and amenities for the people.”

Activist and lawyer, Femi Falana advised leaders to not only celebrate Mandela, but also learn from his story.

The Leadership

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