There must be an afterlife of bliss for people so loved by humanity. It is hard to believe that Nelson Rohilala Mandela has ceased to exist even if in some ethereal form. The people whose lives he touched will wish to see him again in paradise. I for one never met him in person but I drew all my life's inspiration from him. From him I learnt that the circumstances of my birth can never limit the extent of my achievements. I was inspired to believe that my 'chi' doesn't consult my past in determining my future. He taught me that heaven is where there are no oppressors while hell is anywhere tyrants hold sway. Today I tell my friends that the white man is not superior... That being white isn't the same as being right... That being black isn't the same as being consigned to a life of lack. I learnt all these from Mandela. I learnt that there is nothing inherently or genetically wrong with the black man. That all humans are just souls with a similar essence and our skins are just clothes. Red, black, brown or white, we all recognize that a great soul has passed to the great beyond and in the words on Barrack Obama - we shall never see his type again.
The Lesson for Nigeria is that Nigeria never seems to learn any lessons.
1. World events come and go but everything remains the same in our nation. Moments like this are moments for introspection by our leaders but No - we will never learn. It is our unteachableness as Nigerians that makes it seem like there is a genetic defect which makes us incapable of producing legendary leadership. Nigeria is populated by know - it - alls. People who have not taken any world leader as a reference point and a standard. I recommend the life of Nelson Rohilala Mandela, warts and all to all Nigerian leaders. Study what it means to be passionate about your people even at the expense of your marriages and don't allow the person to whom you're married determine your actions or inactions in leadership. Nelson Mandela divorced severally simply because he was so consumed by his struggles for the emancipation of his people that the women in his life felt his energy was constantly sapped by his life work and not by them! I'm only advocating for a commitment that says 'No price is too great and No sacrifice too expensive'. Are there any Nigerian leaders that think so?
2. Emergence into leadership is by natural selection not by imposition or manipulation. It is nature that determines which ovum will mature into a Graffian Follicle. Nature throws up leaders. Life has always been this way. Every generation has its own challenges and within that generation nature hides away and nurtures the MAN with the answers. Through a series of life events, it often becomes apparent that a particular individual will be at the foremost part of the hottest battle for social justice, equality and fairness for all. Nigerians must LEARN to allow the best of us rule over the rest of us. We must not manipulate them out of opportunities for leadership neither must we distract them while in office till they can't perform creditably. Imagine what would have happened if Mandela were rigged out of elections or if the opposition radical elements kept criticizing and distracting his leadership till they couldn't focus on the task at hand. That is exactly how the Nigerian mind is wired - How unmanly the Nigerian man can be at times.
3. We must learn from Nelson what he learnt from Ghandi, that it is wickedness to see a position of leadership as a position of conquest. We, the followers, are not vassals of a leader and he is not a conquistador, nor an emperor installed to do what he pleases with the paraphenalia of office. We refuse to be beasts of burden in our own nation! It is unkindness to plunder public treasury for personal good simple because a leader can. Nigerians must develop a sense of shame that constrains us to deep introspection before we take any action. Before dipping your hand into the till or stretching your hand to collect a bribe, before holding your pen to inflate figures SHAMELESSLY, ask yourself 'What Will Unborn Generations Think Of Me'... The point is that Nigerians don't just care. Nigerians never learn. I could write till my fingers get sore but our attention spans are so short we wouldn't even remember. Mandela would live on in the memories of other world leaders but in the memory of Nigerians he's dead and gone we would forget by next week! The world would turn Mandela into an institution and constantly draw wisdom from his life, his speeches, his writings, his close associates and his struggles. The world will make documentaries out of his life and make sure his legacy as the finest African that ever lived lives on, as a lesson that Africa has a potential for greatness. The point is that the Nigeria I know will not allow people whose minds are as rigorous as Mandela's. Nigeria is a nation that cheats herself. We as a people must seek a way to accommodate such men in our government houses, our hallowed chambers and our presidential seat.
God bless the memory on Nelson Mandela.
God grant his soul eternal bliss in paradise.
God comfort his wider family of all races in the world.
God give his immediate family joy in knowing they gave the world a fine man.
God bless the Nation of South Africa - The rainbow nation for not rigging Mandela out, for not being in opposition to his ideas, for not fighting him to a stand still, for not criticizing him to death. A great nation you are to have accomodated a great man as this in Leadership with his warts, eccentricities and all. For we know that all great men are a hand full.
God grant me paradise. I want to see Mandela in heaven.
For in this world we will never see his type again.
Iroko Obasi ND