Wednesday, 11 December 2013

president Jonathan Snubbed at Mandela's Memorial



Despite leaving Nigeria early for the funeral of late South African leader, Nelson Mandela, President Goodluck Jonathan has been snubbed by the South African authorities at the State Memorial Service of the anti-apartheid leader.

PremiumTimesng reports that an official release of programmes during the memorial service shows that the Nigerian president was missing on the list of world leaders billed to give tributes.

The world leaders who will be giving tributes are:
  •  United State President, Barack Obama;
  • President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil;
  •  Vice-President Li Yuanchao of China;
  • President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia;
  • President Pranab Mukherjee of India;
  • and President Raúl Castro Ruz of Cuba.
Other leaders billed to give tributes are the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon; and the African Union Commission Chair, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Though Mr. Jonathan is not the only head of state that would not give tribute - there are about 90 heads of state attending the funeral, the apparent snub handed Mr. Jonathan also appears to rubbish the enormous effort played by Nigeria to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.

This was at a time when Western governments were pussyfooting to pressure the apartheid government to renounce its policy of segregation and its brutal abuses against the black majority.
Some Western governments including the U.S. had even designated the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) as a terrorist organisation, and Mandela a terrorist.

This point was also highlighted by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Monday in a chat with journalists.
There are more questions to answer. When you look at the part of the world where ovation is now the loudest, it was the part of the world the pain was the most vicious. In a very cruel irony, history is being revised. 
The people, who collaborated with the government that enthroned apartheid at that time, are the people that are paying the biggest tributes now. But I ask myself: is this not the time for deep reflection? I doubt if any African country expended as much time, as much money and as much commitment as the Nigerian Government. 
I was a teenager then in 1976 when anti-apartheid campaign really gained resurgence in every home in this country. Nigeria paid a huge price for what South Africa has become today. I remember the anti-apartheid campaign was at the core of Nigerian foreign policy. 
Apart from scholarship given to South Africans, I remember President Yar’Adua met Thabo Mbeki in South Africa and he was telling me about their relationship, which he said was dated to when Mbeki used to come to Zaria for student exchange programme. I remember we did not go for Commonwealth Games because of South Africa. I remember we took drastic measures against the foreign collaborators of apartheid regime and nationalised assets.”

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