THE 95th birthday celebration of Dr Nelson Mandela was celebrated in Asaba, Delta State yesterday with Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan calling on Nigerians and the world to devote time to do more job for humanity.
Speaking at the planting of 95 trees to commemorate the 95 years of Dr Mandela on earth in a garden named, Mandela Garden of 95 trees, in Asaba, Governor Uduaghan stated that the twenty seven years Dr Mandela spent in prison should inspire people to spend several hours and days to serve humanity as a mark of honour to Mandela.
Governor Uduaghan who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Dr Festus Okubor disclosed that the planting of the garden was a privilege because, “in its full bloom, it will serve as an irresistible tourist attraction while at the same time, keeping the memory of that great African, fresh at all times in the minds of all, even beyond the lifetime of the initiator.”
“Let me commend our indomitable desert warrior and the relentless crusader for a sustainable environment, our own, Dr Newton Jibunor, whose fertile mind brought this idea of not only dedicating a garden to one of Africa’s greatest heroes, Dr Nelson Mandela, but with a thought for the environment in what he has most appropriately named, Mandela Garden of 95 Trees,” Governor Uduaghan said.
He added, “the significance of these ninety-five trees should not be lost on us all, it is aimed at drawing attention to matters concerning our environment, which we should all work together to protect,” reiterating, “if Dr Jibunor is planting ninety-five trees, we should all resolve to plant equal or a greater number of trees to protect our environment.”
Governor used the occasion to call for people to be environment-friendly, stating, “let us start with planting of trees, let us resolve to avoid cutting or digging across highways, let us resolve to seek approval before we erect our structures, let us resolve not to tamper with roads generally or dump refuse anywhere it pleases us,” asserting, “there are too many things we are taking for granted, that degrade the environment beyond our wildest imagination.”
“Let me appeal to everyone gathered here to pray for our elder statesman, Dr Nelson Mandela, he has tenaciously held on to life in spite of his serious health challenges and at this point, sincere and fervent prayers are what is needed to keep him here with us,” the Governor said.
Earlier, Dr Jibunor who supervised the planting of trees at the garden stated that the Asaba garden makes it four in the world; one in New York, another in London, while one is in South Africa, asserting that the garden will be one of the major tourists attractions in the country as visiting Heads of State and important dignitaries visiting Nigeria will visit the garden to plant a tree in honour of Mandela.
While stating that he will practically live his last days in the garden, Dr Jibunor commended Governor Uduaghan for approving the planting of the garden.