Passing away of Madiba must draw our two countries closer -Okey Emuchay MFR, Nigeria Consul General.

Posted by Olaniyi Abodedele on Monday, February 3, 2014 Under: News Stories


Nigeria Consul General, Okey Emuchay MFR on the 14th of December 2013, said that the passing away of Madiba must make our two countries closer during his address to the Nigerian community at a dinner he organized for the Nigerian Elder Statesman and former Aviation Minister in the 60’s, Chief Mbazulike Amechi at his Houghton residence in Johannesburg, just a few blocks away from Nelson Mandela’s residence.


Mr Emuchay said  that the passing away of the world Icon Nelson Mandela must make our two countries; Nigeria and South Africa closer. “The lesion which is as important as the passing away of Madiba must make our two countries South Africa and Nigeria to come even closer. Africa is looking up on Nigeria and South Africa, and if Nigeria and South Africa fail Africa, history will record us so badly. History will not be kind to us in the way and manner in which history has already recorded Madiba’s life and is doing a chronicle in death, history will be hash on both countries if we do nothing”, the Nigerian envoy warned.

In his opening speech, the Consul-General expressed appreciation to H.E. the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi who had been in touch with him about the visit of H.E. Chief Mbazulike Amechi. The Consular General said he only got to know that Mandela stayed in Nigeria when a friend of his Mr. Uche Eze-chukwu who writes for the Sun newspaper asked him to read a story in the Vanguard which was the Interview of HE Chief Mbazulike Amechi “He sent me a text to read a story in the Vanguard, His Excellency’s interview which was like breaking news, breaking news to Millions of people across the globe”.

“I didn’t know and a host of other people, millions of Nigerians I must confess, that at some point Madeba stayed with HE at his official residence in Ikoyi when you were Parliamentary Secretary. It wasn’t for one day or two days, it went into months. There was doubt if that was real, how come it wasn’t documented, how come in Mandela’s memoirs The Long Walk to Freedom, it wasn’t there? Some people had to start looking for copies to browse through to see if there was any such record of this very important stay in Nigeria”.

“That of Thabo Mbeki was understandable, he was the representative of ANC, he was living in Nigeria and made friends, and for others who came as students, secondary schools and Universities. In University of Nsukka, we had seven students from South Africa and from Namibia, in fact the current High Commissioner of Namibia in Abuja used to be with us in Federal Government College Enugu in those days”.

“So, Governor Peter Obi insisted that it was important that you under take this visit. First to honor a man words alone failed all of us here to describe, a man you knew very well, a man you had company with, a man who stayed with you and deterred and was put away for 27 years, and on his release he had no heart for vengeance, he had no heart to return to the people that put him away to visit upon them same as they did to him, a man whose humility was infectious”.

The Nigerian Consul General also revealed that as a young diplomat, he had the opportunity of working with the great Nigerian Icon and political father Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (Owelle of Onitsha).  He recollected the nostalgia he felt when HE Chief Mbazulike Amechi was reading the letter that Madiba wrote to him in 1964 from prison.  “I have such a letter written to me by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (Owelle of Onitsha) in 1991, it is one of my treasured items, I have the photocopy here and have the original in my house in the village. But today, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (Owelle of Onitsha) is not here, Nelson Mandela has gone, and the class of Madiba in South Africa are slowly and quietly leaving the stage. The younger generation has no idea, just like some of us are actually surprised with the fact that Nelson Mandela leaved with you for 6 months. The younger generations of South Africans do not even have an idea where Nigeria is on the globe not to talk about what Nigeria did”.

Okey Emuchay MFR insisted that “It is incumbent on us to tell our stories as a people and as a country, nobody will do that for us, now that we have your own story which supersedes the effort we have made in the past is a boost that will help us. You have said the narratives, we are going to run with that, and part of what we are doing here is to create platforms. I stand here happy to inform His Excellency that a building, our former chancery building in Rosebank lying fallow since 2002, Mr. President has graciously approved that the building be converted to a Nigeria cultural center. We are going to have books, if you permit us we are going to have a copy of this letter from Madiba, we will frame it, we are going to have DVDs. I discussed with former President Obasanjo before he left, he has lots of materials to give us”.

The Nigerian envoy concluded his address, noting that “We might never be able to have another Mandela in our own life time; he represented the best that humanity can contribute to nature. I have talked about his humility, I have talked about his doggedness, I have talked about his love for his people and his fight for what was right”.

On the passing of Madiba and his irreplaceable rare personality, Mr. Emuchay said; “I don’t know, but if we look on the political landscape in the world today, I am not sure, I might be wrong of any serving head of state who will die or any former president and head of government who will pass on, that you will have about a hundred president or head of government attending the funeral. Perhaps, we might give an exception to the Queen of England whenever it will happen, I don’t know. This week has been a very historic point that the word has gathered in unison to say good bye to the son of Africa, to say good bye to Madiba in the way and manner in which it was done on Tuesday”.

The Consul General concluded  with piece of advice to his audience to draw useful lessons from the life and times of Mandela. “As we mourn, we also celebrate an icon, a legend, a rare human being; a man some commentators have said is more popular than the currency of his country. There are parts of the world that they have never heard about the Rands, but I don’t think there is any part of the globe where the name Madela did not reach. So what is important is what did we learn? What did he represent,? What did we pick from the life and time of Madeba? What is important is what do we do from now that Madiba is no more, what are the lessons both for South Africans and for Nigerians?”


In : News Stories 



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