Feb. 28 (GIN) – The overnight hospital visit by former president Nelson Mandela was enough to raise fears of the mortality of the man whose life set a standard of courage, sacrifice and reconciliation.
The temporary health crisis sparked reflection on the current crop of African leaders clinging to power despite advanced age or rules against serving endless terms.
Even the choice of hospital – in South Africa, not Saudi Arabia or the UK – made Mandela a standout to Nigerian writer Okey Ndibe .
“For any Nigerian big man to be treated in a Nigerian hospital is nothing short of a curse,” said Ndibe, adding: “Nigerian “stakeholders” take for granted the right to receive medical care abroad, to drink imported water, to power their homes with imported generators, to educate their children abroad, to own swanky mansions in Europe, North America, or the UK – with money looted from Nigeria…
“Nobody doubted that (Mandela) received his people’s mandate in a credible election, free of hanky-panky. He could have easily sailed into a second term, but he gracefully withdrew, asking younger elements within his party to rise to the challenge of leadership…”
The 93 year old Mandela was released from hospital Sunday after minor surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint. Well-wishers had prayed for Mandela at Regina Mundi church in Soweto, a former centre of anti-apartheid protests and funerals.