By Victor Asije
Lagos – The United Nations General Assembly in New York will this week embark on the celebration of the ideals that the late former South African President Nelson Mandela
The Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Nigeria, Mr Roland Kayanja, disclosed this in Lagos at an event to mark this Year’s Nelson Mandela International Day.
According to him, the Nelson Mandela International Day is an opportunity to reflect on the life and work of a legend, who embodied the highest values of the United Nations.
“This year’s commemoration is unique. Madiba would have been 100 years old today.
“He was a model global citizen whose example continues to guide us in our work to build a better world for all.
“This week, the UN General Assembly will meet to celebrate and remember the ideals of this icon,’’ he said.
Kayanja described Mandela as a man of towering achievements, who worked tirelessly for peace, equitable development and human dignity.
He enjoined leaders to emulate and continue building on Nelson Mandela’s legacy of selflessness and deep sense of shared purpose.
“Today, the United Nations joins the Mandela Foundation in calling on people around the world to make a difference in their communities to bring about enduring change.
“Each of us can be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s example, and by his famous words, “It always seems impossible until it is done,’’ Kayanja said.
Prof. Wole Soyinka said that Mandela, who he had had a personal relationship with, had always reflected humility in every area of life, including his way of dressing.
He also said that it was important for Nigerians and Africans to emulate the selfless sacrifice of Mandela for other people.
Soyinka, who read a poem entitled, “No, he said,’’ said that Mandela was not only humble, but that he was also simple but courageous.
The Consul-General General of South Africa in Lagos, Amb. Darkey Africa, also described late Nelson Mandela as one who transformed South Africa, inspired Africa and the world.
“We are here today to celebrate the Mandela that loved us all so much, and was prepared to suffer so that we South Africans and Africans elsewhere can have our freedom.
“Nelson Mandela was a man who dedicated himself to the struggles of the African people,’’ he said.
Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
He was born in Mvezo, South Africa on July 18, 1918 and died on Dec. 5, 2013 in Johannesburg.