Nelson Mandela: A Model of a Leader ...?

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

It has often been said that good leadership is the bane of most African nations. And it is largely true. Nigeria and the rest of African nations are in an endless search for a true leader and patriot.

But Nelson Mandela of South Africa has hit the African board of leadership with a great difference and excellence. He was a born leader with a vision and a. mission. He made a distinguishing landmark in his leadership style.

He began as a young law student in the University, to be engaged in the difficult task of being conscious about the rights of people and the need to defend these rights.

He was not only conscious but also a foremost defender of human liberation. Like now as before, the abuse of human rights and dignity everywhere in Africa belongs to the order of the day.

People are violated in the sacredness of their beings. They are often being treated as non-persons. But Nelson Mandela had a different orientation. He grew up a defender of the rights of the people and that of the nation.

He believed in the sovereignty of a nation. He paid the costly price of this belief and convictions. It sounds unbelievable yet it is true, that Mandela, unlike any of the African politicians, Stakeholders, and Patriots, spent 27 quality years of his life incarcerated in prison, as a result of his dogged fight in the defence of the dignity of South African people against a white minority Apartheid regime.

Apartheid in South Africa like the Slave trade and Colonialism in other parts of Africa has remained the most inhuman treatment meted on Africa by Europe.

This barbaric encounter with Europe left us with the great wounds of inferiority complex writ large among most Africans in their relations to Europe even till this age.

The typical African has always looked at Europeans as demi-gods and their nations as the habitat of the great gods, to the disdain of African peoples and values.

But Nelson Mandela made Africa proud. He chose to die rather than live in chains. And he paid the price of his noble convictions with his blood.

Though, in prison, for the course of right, Mandela was the leader reining in the hearts of the men and women of South Africa from the restricted confines of his prison room.

He was a leader in chains who brought liberation to his people. This supreme form of self-abnegation has remained for South Africa and the rest of the world a great high water of patriotism, unparalleled.

Nelson Mandela has not lived for himself but for his people, and for generations of great South African sons and daughter yet unborn. In deed he has left a legacy for world leaders in all ages and times.

He has remained a symbol of freedom and human promotion for our age and ages to come.

Though dead in the flesh, Nelson Mandela lives on. He lives among us in the great and courageous battles of freedom he has fought and won. He lives in the dynamism of his convictions that human freedom has wings, and no power on earth can prevent its flight out of oppression.

And so the Nigerian politicians and purported leaders of the people are to take a clue from Nelson Mandela, whose living legacies in self-less services to his people remains indelible on the sands of history.

Posterity will judge and condemn leaders of nations who instead of serving their people, exploit and kill them. The souls of such leaders will not know peace. But the soul of Nelson Mandela will enjoy an eternal bliss, having lived and died for his people!

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