Post-Apartheid South Africa: Nigeria Deserves Better Treatment, Says Fashola

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…Urges Leaders to Emulate Mandela.

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday lamented the hostile attitude of South Africa towards Nigerian  despite the nation’s immense support to end apartheid regime in that country.

Fashola, who spoke to journalists on the death of former President of South, Nelson Mandela at the State House, Ikeja in Lagos, Nigeria expressed regret over ungrateful treatments melted by South African and its government to the nation’s citizens in their soil, saying Nigeria paid a huge price for the liberation struggle in that country that are not being appreciated.

Reflecting on Nigeria’s position against the apartheid regime in South Africa, the  Lagos Governor said: “When you look at the part of the world where ovation for Mandela 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,” he said.

According to him, “The people, who collaborated with the government that enthroned apartheid at that time, are the people that are paying the biggest tribute now. But I ask myself: is this not the time for deep reflection? I doubt if 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. Adding that “apart from scholarship offered to South Africans, I remember President Yar’Adua met Thambo Mbeki in South African 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. Brigadier-General Joe Garba was our Foreign Affairs Minister and Professor Bolaji Akinyemi was the Director-General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.”

“There is no home that the anti-apartheid campaign was not then. Our university halls were named after Mozambique and all of these places. We founded all of these organisations in Angola and Zimbabwe, among others. The tragic irony is that we are the ones being driven out of South Africa. The British can enter South Africa. We have to take a visa. These are deep questions because they hurt me.”

Fashola regretted that people like Fela nearly lost their voices, singing about freedom, saying that as President Goodluck Jonathan is going for Mandela’s burial, he hoped he would play leadership roles the nation deserved “or we should ask ourselves if we have really lost, what is the way back? As I said, history has been revised and our voice is not heard on the international stage. This is our glory because we contributed so much to this course, and perhaps we ask ourselves what the investment pay-off has been.”

The governor, however, urged all to imbibe the lessons to forgive, negotiate and compromise just like Mandela did, hoping that Africa would be a better place.