(By Yakubu Abdulfatai)
“Come to think of it, is it possible to celebrate the life of a man still living in such an ecstatic manner? What would happen if this same man latter passes on? These are questions we must ask ourselves and our leaders who are still in the corridor of power. These questions must get the responses of our executives, legislators and judiciaries including our dishonest followers who live a life of blackmail to win cheap recognition from political class.“
MESSAGES got to the whole world that a man of noble qualities took ill with an infection of the lungs. This sent a chill down the spines of South Africans and pushed the journalists to the media; different write-ups and overwhelming remarks all in accolades of a living hero. At a point, I was beginning to think that Nelson Rouhilala Mandela, a.k.a. Madiba, was dead. I could not stop at my confusion as l almost started telling people, “May his soul rest in peace”. Flowers from well-wishers and copious messages of sympathy and empathy kept pouring in even as all calibre of persons trooped to the hospital where he was admitted singing songs of praises and prayers for his quick recovery.
Madiba is not dead. He lives on. His news of ailment is only a reaction of the people to his person, his achievements, his meekness and, above all, his love for humanity. There is no writer today that would write about great achievers of the world without mentioning Nelson Mandela. It would be out of place to engage our students of history without discussing this man of outstanding prowess, who fought diligently to liberate black Negroes in their millions. He stood firm defending his father land and never jettisoned the trust reposed in him by his people. What else do you expect from a leader?
Come to think of it, is it possible to celebrate the life of a man still living in such an ecstatic manner? What would happen if this same man latter passes on? These are questions we must ask ourselves and our leaders who are still in the corridor of power. These questions must get the responses of our executives, legislators and judiciaries including our dishonest followers who live a life of blackmail to win cheap recognition from political class.
Each time I think of Nigeria I am always overwhelmed by the selfish practices of supposed “servant leaders”. Our pride as voters is mocked and tagged with a ribbon of shame by the way they run the government after elections. Whenever we troop out to vote, it is usually our wish that the in-coming government will turn things around for good but our hopes and aspirations are cut short after the swearing-in ceremony of our electoral victors. This is not the bargain of the Nigeria electorates.
Going down memory lane, I remember when I was still in school. There was this boy by name Francis. He was vying for the position of a departmental president and did come around to ask that we support him to victory in the scheduled departmental elections. He presented to us a mouth-watering manifesto capable of inciting the ‘devil’ against him to vote in his favour. Nobody ever thought that this boy, Francis, had something up his sleeve.
Election came and he won convincingly and was later sworn in as the president of the department. Alas! Things took a different dimension when our “president’ came out to address the department. His address was titled “The story has changed”. In his explanation, he made us understand that the gossip to the river usually changes when returning home with water. It took us weeks pondering over this statement. Activities in the department took a nosedive for the worst. The manifesto he read to us went to the shredder and our Francis became incommunicado. This is school politics in retrospective. Politicians like Francis are there in our national politics. They learned their acts in school politics and perfected them under the cloak of unconstitutional immunity.
It is only in this country an aspirant will use the words of Martin Luther King Jr. during political rallies and exhibit the characteristics of Adolf Hitler when in office. The culture of checks and balances is totally ignored as favouritism is held sacrosanct.
This brings to fore the hullabaloos that followed the aforementioned celebration of Madiba as a global hero. It is not out of place to celebrate a man that spent 27 years in prison in order to give a life to his countrymen and women. South Africans are ready to spill blood at the mention of his name. Why? It is the only way to reciprocate the labour of a committed patriot, who never stopped at anything to liberate his people from the strong grip of apartheid.
This nation (Nigeria) is waiting patiently for a Messiah Madiba, who will end the reigns of these monsters of corruption and liberate all citizens from the claws of refined slavery. It is our hope that this dream will come to reality. Then the efforts of the tax payers would be seen in our roads, electricity, health, education, transport, housing and so on. And like South Africans, we could also roll out our drums and celebrate our own Madiba.
The whole world is looking forward to that day this iconic friend of humanity will pass on and the hue and cry that would follow. Nelson Mandela is only ill but the festival of prayers that greeted his ailment was like a funeral procession. Let our leaders in sister countries, including Nigeria, make history while they hold tight the mantle of leadership. Power might be sweet but the Great Madiba tested it all – the good, the bad and the ugly side of power.
History has it that leaders, especially presidents in many countries of the world, are power freak. A head of state can undermine the constitution and cling to power till ‘thy kingdom come’ provided there is still life in him to keep such person on the esteemed position. This happened in Libya and it is happening in Zimbabwe. It was in Libya that Muammar Gaddafi never dreamt of bequeathing power to a successor let alone stepping down from the throne. On the contrary, Nelson Mandela was never over-possessive. He almost transferred power immediately after the liberation of South Africans but only waited for things to normalise, which spanned his reign for some years and shunned the idea of going for a second term in office. This should be the political orientation of men who deem it necessary to make a difference in the lives of the populace.
Who said we cannot have our own Mandela? It would only take a redirection of attitude to achieve this. If we do away with greed and resort to applying our vast resources to addressing the needs of the people without recourse to egocentric decisions of political opportunists or mediocrities, we can succeed as a people and as a country. It is only in this light that our nation can breed many Mandelas, who will gain international recognition for their services to humanity. As Nigerians, this is our dream, our aspiration and our expectation. To God be the glory, it shall come to fruition.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.