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Mandela should inspire African leaders to be selfless, says Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari (middle) with South Africa’s new High Commissioner to Nigeria, Thamsanga Dennis Mseleku (right), and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, during the envoy’s presentation of his letter of credence to the president at the State House, Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the legacy of the late South African President Nelson Mandela should inspire African leaders to make sacrifices for the good of their countries and quit the stage when the ovation is loudest.

Speaking when he received a letter of credence from the High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, T. D. Mseleku, at the State House, Abuja, the president noted that the 27-year imprisonment of the ex-apartheid fighter, his humility and broadmindedness to governance and nationhood as well as his willingness to leave after a term in office were exemplary.

“The late Nelson Mandela was an exceptional leader. He spent 27 years in prison and served one term in office. His legacy is unprecedented. We are taking a cue from him on the lessons of leadership,’’ he said.Buhari said he was impressed with the maturity and passionate manner his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, handled the prevailing diplomatic issues during his state visit in October this year, noting that the brotherly meeting and exchange doused all the fears and doubts around relations between the two countries.

His words: “I was really impressed with the president’s maturity and diplomatic style of handling issues. I admired his initiative and concern.“At the end of our visit, all those that were expressing doubts and fears had nothing to say. The visit was spectacular in many ways. Please give my deep appreciation to President Ramaphosa.”

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the Nigerian leader said South African companies in the most populous black nation were doing very well, assuring his visitor that the economy would always welcome investments.

In his remarks, the envoy pledged implementation of all the issues discussed by the two leaders.Also receiving the letter of credence of the Ambassador of Thailand, Nigeria, Saksee Phromyothi, the president promised that trade relations between both countries would be strengthened.

“I congratulate you on your appointment as Thailand’s Ambassador to Nigeria. We appreciate the trade relations and look forward to stronger relations in agriculture and education,’’ he said. Buhari, who equally received the Ambassador of Netherlands, Harry Van Dijk, who was at the Villa to also present his credentials, promised that the diplomatic and economic ties with the European nation would improve. The three envoys later congratulated President Buhari on his 77th birthday.


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