Tribute: And The “Madiba” Legend Lives On
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Madiba
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Madiba

Now that Nelson Mandela has passed on and the world continues to celebrate his legendary legacies, what lessons can Nigerians and indeed Africans especially the political leaders learn from Madiba’s examples? What arguably has emerged though from the moving tributes to the great man across the world has been the global consensus that Madiba was indeed an outstanding leader and the unofficial president of the world who taught the world the values of forgiveness and a nonpareil love for all regardless of race, creed, religion and personality.

Mandela’s death and the attendant global accolade and global recognition of his uncommon leadership qualities and love for humanity have proved the hitherto unrecognised fact that indeed a modern prophet has just passed on. This has now become an obvious fact and without being sacrilegious, Madiba was indeed a prophet whose passing has now brought home the essence of his sojourn on earth.

While paying his tribute to Mandela at the national memorial service, Desmond Tutu declared unequivocally the world’s resolve to follow Madiba’s example. He had declared at the memorial for Nelson Mandela that “we (possibly South Africans) have told God that we will follow Madela’s examples.” President Obama and indeed most of the world leaders who spoke at the memorial while extolling Mandela’s virtues said very much the same thing as they counselled the world to follow Mandiba’s examples.

The reality of Mandela’s peaceful passing and the attendant global accolade and mourning have demonstrated the fact that Mandela was indeed a prophet who had come to set good examples for the world to follow. This obviously is Christ-like and it is indeed similar to the unique sojourns of other prophets on earth. In particular, Desmond Tutu’s declaration will resonate with Muslims as it will remind them of Prophet Muhammed’s final message that he came to the world to perfect their religion and to set examples for people to follow.

And talking about being a prophet, Nelson Mandela shared similar experiences with most prophets. Like other prophets, Mandela was persecuted, vilified, oppressed, jailed, tortured and branded a terrorist. He was humiliated and de-humanised and his family had to endure excruciating pains as a result of his dogged fight to accomplish his mission on earth.

Throughout his 27 years imprisonment, Nelson Mandela stuck to the same message of freedom for all. He did not budge until his demands were met and he was set free to become the first black president of South Africa. And after becoming President, Mandela put his money where his mouth was by ensuring freedom and justice for all. He facilitated the emergence of true democracy in South Africa and ensured that there was the rule of law and consequently justice for all.

As a giant political leader, Mandela was humane and incredibly unassuming preferring to lead from behind. His focus was his people and their emancipation. He led by example and demonstrated clearly the significance of forgiveness and reconciliation in the effort to build a new South African nation where people regardless of colour, creed and political beliefs were equal stakeholders. He never assumed a moral high ground and never displayed a holier-than-thou attitude. Instead he showed humility and had the grace to persuade people to do well and forgive one another.

Mandela took his message of reconciliation and forgiveness to the world. He became a global icon whose views resonated with the rest of the world. With his outstanding leadership qualities, Mandela impacted the world and his message of love, reconciliation and forgiveness reached every nook and cranny of the world. He was indeed a unique world leader.

So what lessons for Nigerians? This question is pertinent if considered against the backdrop that we have had leaders in the country who have been equally persecuted or imprisoned but who unlike Mandela became more vicious and vindictive after their ordeals. We also have a situation in which those who seek the best for Nigeria are continually denied opportunities to do so. Many well meaning Nigerians still continue to suffer needless persecution in the bid to ensure genuine democracy and a better governed Nigeria.

Such great Nigerians who suffered untold human rights abuses before they eventually died included activists such as Gani Fawehinmi, Baba Omojola, Beko Kuti, Festus Iyayi and many others too numerous to mention. Many have suffered political persecution on account of their past activities and the unforgiving and oppressive nature of a tiny cabal that has seized the country.
Two great personalities among these numerous individuals who have and continue to suffer such political persecution in Nigeria are Bashorun M K O Abiola and Chief Great Ogboru. The two suffered greatly in terms of being brazenly denied their hard won mandate on account of what they represent to the notorious establishment. Abiola was jailed and he eventually died without realising his mandate.

Ogboru is still alive and he has consistently and doggedly sought justice in order to recover his stolen mandate. Since he had allegedly joined forces with a group of progressives to wrest power violently from the cabal that had turned Nigeria to their personal fiefdom, Ogboru too had suffered untold hardship from the establishment. Ogboru did not go to jail, but he had been in exile for a period of ten years.

Since his return from exile, Ogboru had led his people in Delta State doggedly to ensure true democracy, accountability, rule of law and speedy development. He has taken part in the governorship election in the state four times and he has won. But he has constantly been denied his mandate. The gang-up against Ogboru who is revered in the state and who still remains the main issue in Delta politics was informed by the unforgiving and oppressive nature of the cabal that has seized the state. Unfortunately too, the so called progressives across the country and within the state, who naturally should have joined forces with him, have because of crass opportunism and over-ambition continued to further undermine Ogboru’s effort to set his people free.

As we mourn Madiba, may the Lord touch the minds of Nigeria’s powerful leaders both in office and out of office, all those who see Nigeria as their personal property, the corrupt and unpatriotic elements who continue to use their powerful positions, resources and influence to pervert the cause of justice in the land to turn a new leaf. Like Mandela, they must learn to forgive and ensure justice for all.
Adieu Madiba.

*This piece was written by Doyin Iyiola, a media consultant.

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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