BY EMMANUEL MGBEAHURUIKE, Owerri –
President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma, has said that a South African must not kill a Nigerian and a Nigerian must not kill a South African, adding that the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa should be stronger than any other part, for the sake of the Continent of Africa.
According to him, every Country in Africa should unite as a people to fight for the common course of economic and political emancipation of Africa stressing that Africans are one people divided by Colonial borders and it is important to recognize the efforts of some of our great leaders to make them do more.
“Africans must come together to address African problems. We are the same people. We cannot succeed if we handle problems as individuals. We need to recognize that we are one.”
President Zuma who spoke after being honoured with Imo Merit Award when he came for the signing of MoU between Jacob Zuma Education Foundation and Rochas Foundation College of Africa in Owerri weekend, said “Nigeria is a Country among Countries in the Continent of Africa and globally. What Nigeria says you must note, determines the lots of many.
“I am an ordinary freedom fighter belonging to the African National Congress (ANC). But in 1994, I felt, I have been part of those who have made oppressed people of South Africa to accomplish an important mission of liberating themselves. But political freedom without economic freedom is not enough freedom. That is why in our era, we have a government that will begin to make economic laws, because if the economic power is not there, there is very little you can do for the poor and the oppressed”.
“Then I have also realized that the time comes for nations to speak the truth, and I’m among those who are speaking the truth now, because the more things they said about me, that are not true, the more stubborn I become in my agitation. Don’t be dismayed. For these reasons, I stand here being seen as a Hero by the leadership of Imo State in Nigeria and to make me feel empowered that what I say, think and believe in, is correct.”
President Zuma added “I have also realized from the state of Imo the need to encourage by legislation, these efforts of our heroes. Also, I may suggest that nations in the African Union begin to replicate these types of foundations for the less privileged of society in their various countries and set aside special funds for the running of these foundations. Now this Merit Award says to me, You are encouraged by the Nigerians, work with them together to address African problems.”
While stressing that“I’m so passionate about the School established by the governor of this State and saw the Children coming from all over Africa, and the majority of Countries who are here because whoever they were, their future would have been silent and adamant.
They come from difficult situations, many of them orphans. I have learnt a lot from my brother, His Excellency, the governor of Imo State and had discovered more than I think I know about these emotions, about empowering the African Child and signing the coming together of our foundations influenced by the desire and need to empower the African Children”.
Giving him the Imo Merit Award, Governor Okorocha remarked “This afternoon, I speak with mixed emotions for a great son of this land Africa, who has toiled and who has been directed by God all his life to get to the point where he is today. To some people, he’s a dogged fighter, to most people in South Africa, he is a freedom fighter and to me, one of the reasons I present this accolade is that he remains one of the most misunderstood persons in Africa”.
He said “We in Imo State have chosen to identify with this great leader who meant well for his people; who had to toil, struggle and fight for the liberation of his people, not minding the consequences thereafter. This to me is courage. This to me is strength of character. Very importantly, Mr. President, you are a man with uncommon history. One who never saw the four walls of a classroom and who in the course of struggling to liberate his people, landed in prison for 10 years and still counting”.
Governor Okorocha added “Today, we have decided to honour you for your love for education, though you were deprived in your early days in life but you are working to make sure that every poor child went to School. Your love for education to us is the connection between you and government and the people of Imo State. The only industry we have and we can truly be proud of is education in Imo State. This is another reason why we have chosen to honour you.
“That fate of not allowing your background to have put your back on the ground is another reason we are honouring you. You are a Pan Africanist, and you are not ashamed of your race, colour and background, that kind of personality, is yet another reason why we have to honour you” he stressed.