Opinion: What Aso Rock should learn from Mandela’s qualities

by JesusParrot Godwin

nelsonmandela

Recently, the Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi while speaking at the Lagos Tribute to Mandela at the Freedom Park admits that our leaders are corrupt, including him. He said, “It is because Nigerians don’t talk that is why we become more corrupt. Until you speak, we won’t stop”. Let us prove them wrong. Again, let’s get rid of these monsters.
“A leader . . . is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”
–          Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
 
I beam with smiles the very first time I heard about the death of the great Madiba. Yet, another part of me weeps, looking back at his legacies and I ask myself ‘Who, in Africa would outlive these overwhelming bequests of Mandela?’ In Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Benin, Cape Verde, Congo and even South Africa where the hero lived, I have not seen any whom the cap fit. I listened courteously to the speeches of leaders especially in politics, how they pay tributes to the values of Nelson Mandela. A few of them honourably poured out their minds. Good for them!
I wouldn’t want to go back to Mandela’s history. A lot had been said about that. The most thrilling account to me is the aftermath of his 27years in jail. He went to jail for nothing and came out, not wanting to kill his jailers, but instead he became their friend and partner; He touched and inspired everyone around him not to exact a justifiable horrible revenge on their oppressors. Mandela was one of the few leaders who inspire confidence both inside and outside the country. Few others would have managed to unite the contrasting warring parties and pilot South Africa from what seemed to be the brink of civil war; and not writing a twenty (20) page book to incite Nigerians like Baba Iyabo, rather than unite as an elder statesman. Mandela acted like a saint, not so religious. Who told you he didn’t have issues to deal with? As a leader he survived trials in relationships, civil rights and politics, but his choices flagged off the way for a better world. It reminds me of a text in the book of Books ‘Do good to a point that even your enemy would not see a fault in you’. He developed an innate gosh, acumen, and smart enough to use politics for the betterment of the people.
My idea of leadership is not all about your eloquence alone, memorizing and making public speeches and being the boss for show off. Gradually, this is becoming like a routine for young people taking up leadership positions. World changers such as Martin Luther, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela had global repute by exhibiting potentials in unusual ways and they led by example. Throughout his life, Mandela lived a life of sacrifice. A lifestyle that is absent in the lives of our Abuja leaders. They only swindle our naira in billions and trillions; make our pensioners suffer in pains; sell our oil without remitting the funds; kill our brains via ASUU; marry our babies; refuse to give us light while neighbouring nations hail us for restoring their light; free their political stalwart from jail to create an impression of a good Godson. One of the key things Great Madiba tried to do was to free South Africa from corruption. He had a vision for his country and that was to free South Africa from poverty and corruption, and never wanted the country to be a ‘one man’ affair. As a nation and one time Giant of Africa, we need the leaders that can protect the publics; we need sensitive and good Parliamentarians; we need unbiased security forces; we need good political parties and respectable, upright and worthy leadership, not liars. A time, it all sounds great saying ‘get rid of corruption’, so let’s do something about it. Nigerians are so good at talking about doing things, but we never have the balls to do anything about it. Let’s stand up and get rid of these rampaging ogres.
Recently, the Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi while speaking at the Lagos Tribute to Mandela at the Freedom Park admits that our leaders are corrupt, including him. He said, “It is because Nigerians don’t talk that is why we become more corrupt. Until you speak, we won’t stop”. Let us prove them wrong. Again, let’s get rid of these monsters.
Madiba endured danger and time in prison in order to achieve freedom for his country. At present, Nigeria is going through a state of impasse and we need someone who will act as a trailblazer for a new Nigeria. Every day we hear irrelevant issues discussed; we hear more of problems than solutions; we hear more of finger pointing rather than dialogue to push the nation forward. Until we create room for growth and improvement as a nation, we would remain where we are.  It is the individuals who desire continuous growth, treasure knowledge and refuse to accept injustice that change lives. Whether you are a worker, a member of a family or a company, every person has opportunities to positively influence others in their life. Nigerians must rise as 2015 draws close!
One of the lessons Madiba taught us is his doggedness not to conform to lay down rules. I think the present Nigerian leadership should learn from this; to abide by your standards and ideals. Mandela spent his early childhood in Transkei, where he was being groomed to become a chief. At a point, he left Transkei, in order to avoid an arranged marriage, and moved to Johannesburg where he was employed as a mine policeman. Mandela said No to the prospect of a forced arranged marriage. Amazingly, as the great icon is celebrated not mourned, I observed something; nobody has ever used the word ‘LATE’ for Mandela as it is usually used for the departed soul. It shows that his spirit still remains with us and his legacies live on. Just like Jesus, you wouldn’t use the word ‘LATE’ for those whose impact lives forever. They sleep on!
No doubt, South Africa, Africa and the world at large has lost a great son, a father and friend. But, we earnestly hope that our leaders would imbibe the skills, attitude and qualities of Great Madiba. In his words, “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
Sleep on Madiba!
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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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