Nelson Mandela and the Powers of The Time

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Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, India chief. These are the numerous titles and names this very special man among many other names was referred in the latest edition of the Ebony Magazine (Black Cool).

His life is so challenging that if the likes of this man could be positioned in different countries and communities with the same mindset, the world would have been said to be heaven on earth. Here is one man whose only concern was to see smiles on the faces of his people in spite of the agony he had to undergo in the struggle to fulfil destiny. Mandela dreamed big, suffered big, lives big and was celebrated big.

In the views of Sylvester Monroe as Mandela turned 90 on the 18th of July, 2008, that ‘he is indeed a rich man, but his wealth is measured not just by his bank balance, but in the fullness of his extraordinary life’. When you look at the life of this unusual man, he was so poor sometime to the point that he could be considered a beggar by virtue of his experience, it may not be news to a greater percentage of the people that he was imprisoned for 27 years on the notorious prison island, a more horrendous Devil’s Island not to be compared with our Kuje or Gasua prisons where the likes of Chief M.K.O. Abiola of the June 12 saga, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and a host of other freedom fighters cooled off sometimes for the sake of the masses, but on Robben Island. He was jailed as a common thief for the sake of his people “fighting to spread the riches of his country among the poorest of his people”.

Mandela who took the most prestigious honorary title of his clan “Madiba” is an awesome professional. A Nobel Laureate, lawyer, boxer, doctor, visionary, revolutionary, peacemaker, president and charismatic world leader,  a man to be envied, respected and emulated world over. Madiba led South Africa out of the claws and webs of apartheid and led the people of S/A as the first democratically elected president for five years. He gloriously stepped down after the expiration of his term in 1999 without perpetuating or succeeding himself as the usual practice of many African leaders. He never by virtue of his gallant victory over apartheid decided to remain in power, of which if he had signified such intention, he may not have been denied. He left foot prints as landmarks to be followed forever.

It may appear to quite a number of people that this may seem very absurd that after Madiba’s birthday and celebration with all the pomp and pageantry passed, what is new to be explicated in this write up. I was just ruminating over the life of this unusual, uncanny and most nonpareil individual of our time, in fact someone more of a super human having read so much about him lately.

 One very resounding and resonating thing to consider in all of this is the futility of life in its entirety and the drama that life carries with it. Sometimes it is like the drama of absurd, and you never can tell how it will end. The truth of the matter is that for any man going somewhere in life, regardless of your smartness, the propensity is always there for you to go through the pains, challenges and agony which is very identifiable with and very characteristic of life which seem like a must for every man to undergo in order to hit the mark in life. What is in a name? Mandela, amidst disappointment, frustration, failure, sickness, imprisonment, solitary confinement, and the Robben Island life, betrayal from loved ones and the like, this man never lost sight of his dream and where he was going. It is good to finish well in life. He never gave up his dream in spite of the futility of life, he realised his dream. Wherever mankind will talk of the great individuals who passed through this mother earth, the story will forever be incomplete in the political parlance if Mandela is not mentioned.

The question is what is new that anybody can say about Mandela? Then I will tell you that for generation yet unborn, the story and report on this man will forever be ever green. Here was a man who in spite of all his challenges and the outright seeming impossibility of his task refused to be deterred by the power that be in his days but held his destiny in his hands believing that if he died or lived to fulfil destiny, so be it. However, in the face of the glaring futility, he doggedly marched on to freedom from apartheid.

Today, there is a clarion call for all the leaders of our time, irrespective of religion, race, call or affiliation to take a cue from the life of this globally celebrated legend who stuck out his neck in order to birth freedom for his father land. If this man’s desire was to buy all the lands in Johannesburg to Cape Town and the rest of the land of South Africa , he probably may never be this celebrated as it were. Let all men particularly the leaders today understand that they will only be remembered for the good they would have done and left behind. If you acquired all the land and properties and choice cars without a proper plan for posterity, those properties will not speak for you. The wealth acquired through duplicity will not live forever. In fact, an untutored or untrained child will sell up all the properties acquired. Curses will never depart from the home of the wicked.

It is great to be called to serve; after all the Christian Holy Book says that “the powers that be are ordained of God” which simply translates that God is not unaware of the people on the throne governing. As such, there is the need for them to do it well and make a difference because some day they would give an account of their stewardship anyhow. If Mandela had chosen the path of the regular African leaders of the time and even those of them in time past, no one today will be singing the praises of this man. Many of these leaders on Sundays are in churches, in fact some of them hold key positions in churches as elders, knights, some are even pastors, while so many others go to the mosque regularly and will never miss the Friday Jumat prayers and they are sometimes prominent people in the mosque yet there is ultimately a disconnection from the lives and conducts of these people and the profession of their faith.

The international community held a birthday party for Mandela in England owing to his unalloyed and undisputed contribution to humanity; I wonder who among the crop of people in governance could be accorded such grace as it were. The more reason then why the powers that be should see this opportunity to serve as a rare privilege and so does it well so that posterity will judge them fairly.

Nigeria can never and I mean never be compared to any nation of the world. Ours is a special place with a special calling and purpose for all of us. I can’t see any nation matching any Nigerian by virtue of what the Supreme Being has deposited in us. And so for this reason and by the divine mandate of this country, the people that the Almighty has given the reins of leadership should think twice and not kill this entity call Nigeria . Rather consider the popular saying that ‘a good name is better than riches and gold’.

A great proportion of the people serving in the system today so to say are beneficiaries of Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo’s free education, the largesse made available by the likes of Sar’dauna of Sokoto, Tafawa Balewa, Nnamidi Azikwe and a host of other nationalists. These people brought hope to humanity. The impact and imprint of these people are still very visible among us. And so, what are we going to say about you, and what would it be said that the nation and the generality of the citizenry benefited from you? The price of oil kept sky rocketing and increasing the earnings of the nation, but paradoxically the level of poverty in the land is also proportionately on the increase. I once read that Lagos city had electricity before the city of London but what do we have today? The roads are weeping; some are limping while some others are practically paralysed and dead. In fact Ijebu-Ode , Ore – Benin road could be tagged as dead. If this is the kind of legacy left behind by Nelson Mandela, or these nationalists, no one, how much more the international community would celebrate them. And if our past nationalists never worked assiduously for the good of this country, I wonder what Nigeria would look like today.

This man’s life is just something that should be given some kind of consideration. We all have the grace to do it well in order to preserve what the Almighty has given us to oversee for him. I do believe that these positions of power are a loan by the Supreme Being to whoever is opportune to have it, as such; there will definitely be a pay back day. The more reason why there is the need to take a cue from the Madiba and leave a mark. Someday, while you are still alive or gone, something will be said about you either good or bad

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