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Jibunoh: Mandela Garden was built to celebrate Madiba

By Monday Osayande, Asaba
21 May 2022   |   4:00 am
Acclaimed environmentalist, Dr. Newton Jibunoh, has revealed the reason behind building a garden after Nelson Mandela in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

Acclaimed environmentalist, Dr. Newton Jibunoh, has revealed the reason behind building a garden after Nelson Mandela in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

In a chat with The Guardian in Asaba, the Desert Warrior, as he’s fondly called, said the famous Mandela Garden was built for the purpose of immortalising the legend, who sacrificed his life for the emancipation of the black race, as declared by United Nations (UN).

The 85-year-old environmentalist further explained that for the memory and legacy of Mandela, United Nations had decided to set aside July 18 of every year as world Mandela Day.

“The UN followed it up by asking for monument to be built around the world, saying if a small percentage of persons in the world could be like Nelson Mandela, the world would be a better place for us all.”

For Jibuno, there was nothing more to celebrate the living legend than to consider ourselves fortunate not only in Delta, but also in Nigeria, to have his endorsement by the UN.

“And for this singular honour, we have decided to build something that would be in line with that of UN’s declaration to inspire the younger generations to come and have a complete different life,” he said.


On sustainability of the projects, he said, “There has to be a successor agreement to see that the kind of people we have here would value what we have done, which is part of the processes that we have put in place to ensure that when the old people like us leave the scene, the younger ones would take over and keep the legacy of Mandela going.”

Speaking on the tree planting and its usefulness, Dr. Jibunoh said, “We are making sure that the trees are well natured to bear fruits and give shades in the garden as well as release oxygen to our immediate environment.

“Those things are important to our lives. That is why we have planted these trees; that is the massage we are passing onto them. And you can see that from the thousands of trees we have planted, oxygen would be released to Asaba people.”

He, however, expressed disappointment, as many people did not understand the usefulness of tree planting to human existence and the environment.

“We are now sensitising the people to know that it’s their project to see how they can gather themselves to own and plant trees. Some of the trees planted are being removed, and others being trampled upon. No tree, no life, hence you see people under the trees, you see vulcanizers working under the tree, you see cars packed under the trees.”

While urging Nigerians to understand the idea behind tree planting, he said, “In a few years time, they would provide us with shades. Also, I plant trees because of nature, which is keeping us alive. I derive a lot of joy doing this because it keeps me healthy and gives me the longevity of life. So, don’t remove them or trample upon them, but help us to grow more,” the 85-year-old pleaded.