By Angela Atabo
National Rescue Congress (NRC), a group committed to promoting democratic values, human rights, and social advancement in Nigeria, has called on Nigerians to imbibe Nelson Mandela’s spirit of democratic commitment for national rebirth.
Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician who served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Coordinator NRC, Emmanuel Ihim, made the call at a conference marking the 10th Remembrance Anniversary of Nelson Mandela.
The event was themed: “Mandela’s Legacy: A Catalyst to Inspire National Rebirth.’’ in Abuja.
Ihim, a legal practitioner, said the call was necessary because the teachings and legacy of Mandela provided a guiding light for a generation searching for direction and purpose.
He said that the NRC, through the conference, intended to harness Mandela’s spirit to inspire a national rebirth – one rooted in the principles of democracy, equity, and nonviolent resistance.
“This significant event is not just a commemoration but a clarion call for a national rebirth, inspired by Mandela’s legacy of courage, resilience, and nonviolent resistance.
“In these times of tumult and uncertainty, the NRC seeks to ignite a spirit of selfless service and democratic commitment, particularly among Nigerian youths, drawing lessons from Mandela’s life and other African revolutionaries.
“Through this initiative, the NRC aims to bring a national renaissance, celebrating the courage and vision of African leaders who have shaped our continent’s destiny.
“As the world marks a significant milestone in remembering one of its most fantastic sons, Nelson Mandela, we are reminded of a legacy that transcends time and geography.’’
Ihim said in leveraging Mandela’s legacy, Nigerians should be committed to the principles of justice, equality, and the indomitable spirit of nonviolent resistance.
“It’s a promise we make to future generations, a pledge to create a world that upholds the ideals Mandela dedicated his life to.
“It is a path that we, especially in Nigeria, must courageously tread upon – nonviolent resistance, leading to democratic change and national rebirth,’’ he said.
Ihim said that in a world like Nigeria, often marred by conflict and injustice, his legacy was a beacon of hope, guiding citizens towards a future where dialogue, empathy, and understanding prevailed over violence and oppression.
He called on citizens to unite and be dedicated, to transform Nigeria into a nation that is a beacon of hope, not just for its citizens but for the entire world.
Sen. Shehu Sani, an activist, said the inspiring story of Mandela was a message to Nigerian youths to take their future into their own hands and stand up against injustice.
Sani said youths had a choice to emulate the resistant spirit of Mandela and fight until they restored their God-given rights and freedoms.
“Today in Nigeria, the forces that hold the destiny of youths and the masses to ransom are not as strong as the supremacist apartheid regime of South Africa in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
“Nelson Mandela and his comrades were able to dismantle that apartheid regime and established freedom, justice, equity, and an egalitarian order in their country.
“This is what the Nigerian youths today must do to reclaim their future from the forces of oppression that are already presiding over an apartheid regime disguised as a democracy.
“What else do you call a so-called democratic system that allows its legislative arm to purchase vehicles worth N160 million each for 309 lawmakers and share hundreds of millions of naira among themselves in the name of bonuses, tokens and Christmas and Sallah allowances?’’
Sani called for the need to uphold human rights, sustain judiciary’s independence, and enlighten security agencies to see themselves as agents of the state.
He called on the Inspector Generation of Police to stand his ground on withdrawing police personnel from some privileged few against the wider society.
He added that Nigeria should build and repair refineries to refine her crude oil, stop subsidy scam and bring down the cost of fuel and energy.
He said there was also a need to build a sound education system, an efficient healthcare system, sustainable energy, affordable water and housing and tackle brain drain.
Malam Jabir Yaro, a facilitator, in his paper presentation, `Fostering Civic Consciousness and Responsibility among Today’s Youth’, said civic awareness consciousness was about citizens understanding their roles.
“It calls for the recognition that we are only inheritors of this great nation but also its caretakers; it involves embracing a sense of responsibility that extends beyond individual aspirations to collective well-being.
“Mandela’s impact on youth consciousness in Africa remains indelible, his fondness for children and youths, coupled with his ability to engage them, played a pivotal role.
“In recent times, our country has faced challenges demanding more than passing interest; Youth as majority find themselves at the forefront of societal change.
“Unfortunately, discord sometimes drowns the melody of unity as disconnection and disillusionment prevail, fueled by factors beyond control.
“But the truth is that our power lies in unity and a commitment to responsibility.’’
Yaro said that civic responsibility was not a burden but a privilege and called on citizens to educate themselves on civic roles because knowledge is the cornerstone of responsible citizenship.
“Our generation is not just Nigeria’s future; we are its present. Civic consciousness and responsibility are not lofty ideals but steppingstones to a brighter, more united and prosperous nation.
“Let us rise above challenges, be the change we want to see and leave a legacy inspiring generations to come,’’ Yaro said. (NAN)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman