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UN, NIGERIANS CELEBRATE MANDELA

By NBF News

Nigerian youths joined the rest of the world at the weekend in celebrating the 92nd birthday of the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. The former apartheid warlord, who clocked 92 on Sunday, attracted the cream of the society who converged in a remarkable show of solidarity at the United Nations Information Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The event was organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in collaboration with All United Nations Students and Youth Association (ANUNSA), Human Rights Information Network (HURINET), United Nations of Youth (UNOY) and Sir Emmanuel Foundation.

In attendance were the Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Lagos State, Mr. Ayodele Adewale, the Executive Director, Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation (CENCOD), Dr. Sylvester Odion Akhaine and the Deputy Director, Federal Public Complaints Commission, Lagos, Ms. Stella Ozojiofor and Mrs Justina Ogene, founder of Sir Emmanuel Foundation.

At the event, which marked the first time Nelson Mandela Day would be marked in Nigeria, the attributes that made the South Africa's first black President to tower above other African leaders were extolled by the participants. While urging Nigerians and African leaders to emulate the ideals that Mandela represents, the participants also enjoined the youths to uphold the virtues and values of Mandela.

Also, pupils of Ebenezer Heights International School, Lekki, Lagos, Kings and Queens Private School, Oke-Afa, Ejigbo, Lagos as well as Oluade High School, Oke-Afa, Lagos also paid tributes to the world celebrity.

Officer in charge of UNIC, Mr. Nosa Osazuwa, who received the participants, delivered the message of the Secretary-General of United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, at the event.

According to Moon, 'Nelson Mandela is a towering figure. He embodies the highest values of humanity, and of the United Nations. His life, his strength and his decency are an example to us all. He fought his oppressors for years. And then, he forgave them. 'I am lucky enough to have met Nelson Mandela. Like so many others, I was struck by his charisma and charm. But I was most impressed by his humility. When I tried to thank him for his life's work, he replied; 'It was not me.' He preferred to talk about what other people had done in the struggle for human rights and dignity.

'That is just one reason why Nelson Mandela is such an inspiration to millions. He was not backed by money or power. As he constantly reminds us, he is an ordinary man. But he has achieved extraordinary things.

'Nelson Mandela's accomplishments came at great personal cost to himself and his family. His sacrifice not only served the people of his own nation, South Africa, but made the world a better place for all people, everywhere.'

Osazuwa stated that the United Nations General Assembly, through Resolution 64/13, designated every July 18, which is Dr. Nelson Mandela's birthday, as Nelson Mandela Day.