What Nelson Mandela Said About Nigeria 12 Years Ago Is Still Happening Today

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In the year 2007, Nelson Mandela poured his out to Nigerian journalists about the problems of Nigeria, and more than a decade later the problems are still here.

Here is what he said.

‘You know I am not very happy with Nigeria. I have made that very clear on many occasions’. Yes, Nigeria stood by us more than any nation, but you let yourselves down and Africa and the black race very badly.

Your country used to be respected. After your suspension from the Commonwealth, many western countries approached me to help in isolating Nigeria so that it will be easier to bring down your military dictators. I consulted many African leaders, and all were unanimous in their advice. They told me to stay clear of Nigeria. That you will fix your problems. You have done it before. ‘But, you have not. Not this time’. The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence. Nigerians love freedom and hate oppression. Why do you do it to yourselves?

“Your leaders have no respect for their people. They believe that their personal interests are the interests of the people. They take people’s resources and turn them into personal wealth. There is a level of poverty in Nigeria that should be unacceptable. I cannot understand

‘What do young Nigerians think about your leaders and their country and Africa? Do you teach them history? Do you have lessons on how your past leaders stood by us and gave us large amounts of money? You know I hear from Angolans and Mozambicans and Zimbabweans how your people opened their hearts and their homes to them. I was in prison then, but we know how your leaders punished western companies who supported Apartheid’.

‘But what about the corruption and the crimes?’ he asked? ‘Your elections are like wars’. Now we hear that you cannot be president in Nigeria unless you are Muslim or Christian. Some people tell me your country may break up. Please don’t let it happen’.

Let me tell you what I think you need to do’ he said. ‘You should encourage leaders to emerge who will not confuse public office with sources of making personal wealth. Corrupt people do not make good leaders. Then you have to spend a lot of your resources for education. Educate children of the poor, so that they can get out of poverty. Poverty does not breed confidence. Only confident people can bring changes. Poor, uneducated people can also bring change, but it will be hijacked by the educated and the wealthy’.

“give young Nigerians good education. Teach them the value of hard work and sacrifice, and discourage them from crimes which are destroying your image as a good people.’

many year’s later Nigeria is still battling with all Mandela said. It’s really sad.

(Excerpt is taken from a 2007 interview with Mandela conducted by Dr Hakeem Baba -Ahmed….See More

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