President Muhammadu Buhari has extolled the immense values embodied by the former South African President and Nobel Peace Winner, the late Nelson Mandela, and the sacrifice he paid for a peaceful, just and democratic society.
Speaking on Monday in New York at a High Level Meeting on Global Peace in honour of the Centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, also known as the Peace Summit, on the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Buhari described the anti-apartheid icon as “a man whose lifetime symbolised uncommon humility, compassion, courage and forgiveness.”
He said: “This centenary celebration provides an avenue to reflect on the legacies of Nelson Mandela and his unwavering advocacy for human rights, social justice and peace.
It also affords us the rare privilege to rededicate ourselves to the service of humanity by championing democracy, conflict resolution, disarmament, mutual respect, reconciliation, gender equality and the fight against poverty.”
Buhari noted that in the quest for peace and development, the world would definitely “draw inspiration from the life of Nelson Mandela.”
Commending the adoption of the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, by a Political Declaration, the Nigerian leader called for “concerted efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and fair world, and revive the values for which Nelson Mandela stood by placing human dignity at the centre of our actions.”
His words: “As we herald the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, Nigeria calls on all states to recognise that the United Nations is built on pillars of peace and security, development and human rights,
which are the foundations for our collective well-being,” stressing that “there can be no peace without sustainable development and no sustainable development without peace and the full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”
President Buhari, while declaring that “racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance represent the very opposite of the noble purposes of the United Nations,”
also recognised that “the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all peoples of the world, are the foundations of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
He noted that Nigeria also accepted that “tolerance of cultural, ethnic, racial and religious diversities are essential for lasting peace, understanding and friendship among peoples, nations, cultures and individuals.”
Admitting that the world is currently “facing diverse challenges ranging from conflicts, climate change, terrorism, desertification, poverty, arms trafficking and violent extremism, among others,” the Nigerian President,
however, believed that it also “a time of great hope and renaissance,” referring to Mandela’s famous declaration as he faced the death penalty during his Rivonia Trial in April 1964.
“As Mandela passes into history, we stand with him in his aspirations for a better world,” President Buhari said, adding that, “It is our duty to live up to his indelible legacy by collectively holding ourselves accountable to the values and principles of this Declaration by striving for a just, peaceful, prosperous, democratic, fair and inclusive world.”