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Awolowo Was Greater Than Mandela, Odia Ofeimun Says - Foreign Affairs - Nairaland

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Awolowo Was Greater Than Mandela, Odia Ofeimun Says by chefremy(m): 11:14am On Jan 02, 2014
THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER’S report
has it that Writer and poet, Odia
Ofeimun, has rated the late
Premier of the old Western
Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo,
above late former South African
President, Nelson Mandela.
In an interview with Sahara TV,
the writer, poet & social critique
said late premier of the old
Western region, Chief Obafemi
Awolowo, was a greater man
than South African anti-
apartheid revolutionary, Dr.
Nelson Mandela.
I am too much of an Awolowo
man not to see that the process
of moving into independence in
South Africa and in Nigeria
followed exactly the same
pattern. It was based on a
negotiated settlement. The
liberation struggle did not create
the end of apartheid. It was a
negotiation and Nigerians
negotiated exactly the way
Mandela negotiated.
“You can hype it if you like, but
the pattern was exactly the
same. You move from one
meeting to the other, discussing
politics and economics, and they
successfully convinced Mandela
to buy the pig in a poke of an
economy and they also
successfully succeeded in
convincing Nigerians to buy the
pig in a poke of an economy.
“The only man in Nigeria, who
stood up against it, was
(Obafemi) Awolowo. He was
quickly jailed and all his men
scattered across the prisons in
Nigeria. Some driven abroad and
the educational system that he
had put in place was smashed.”
Ofeimun said
“People talk about Mandela’s
capacity to put various classes
(of people) together as theory,
but Awolowo ironed it out very
clearly, why you don’t need a
class struggle, in order to create
a society in which all children can
go to school; in which everybody
can get a job, and in which old
age pensions will be paid to
people.
“It is not just love and I want to
emphasise that. Those who
criticise Awolowo’s socialism for
wanting in love are obviously
basing their argument on his
claim that a government should
be like a sun that shines on all
equally. If it is about a theory of
how to bring the people together
on the African continent, none is
as good as the Awolowo’s and I’m
not trying to pretend.
“Bring all their writings, fine
phrases, alright, but reduce
them to economic terms, and I
can tell you that there is only
one man who rivals Awolowo in
this respect and that is
Nkrumah. Unfortunately unlike
Awolowo, Nkrumah did not
believe in either a democratic or
a federal theory. If you want to
save Africa, you need those
two.”
Ofeimun said he chose Awolowo
over Mandela because..
“The simple reason is that what
needed to be done in South
Africa, after apartheid was
precisely what Awolowo wanted
for Western Region and Nigeria
after independence. Which is to
say put every child at school,
ensure that productivity takes
the creativity of the individual
citizen into proper focus and
build the relationship between
people and not on whether they
did not love each other? But
whether there is justice and
equality.”
Interview transcribed by Punch.
What do you have to say about
the comparison ?
Re: Awolowo Was Greater Than Mandela, Odia Ofeimun Says by Dannylux: 12:06pm On Jan 02, 2014
Anybody can opine anything.

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