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Influential Africans: Nelson Mandela


Africa has produced many great leaders, many of whom are still living. They have had a meaningful impact on the lives of their followers and the continent at large. Whether living or dead, these men and women remain powerful and influential. In Kano, Nigeria, reporter Isiyaku Ahmed spoke with some people about who they believe is the most influential African leader in the past 50 years.

One was Professor Bawa Hassan Gusau, Ph.D. He’s a lecturer of Political Science at the prestigious Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria. Gusau says that Nelson Mandela is the most powerful and influential African leader to be produced in the last 50 years.

“In my opinion I think Nelson Mandela is one of the few greatest African leaders and I get two reasons. One, Nelson Mandela was jailed for about 27 years, he got out of jail, led his country and then honorably on his own retired from public life, but has also continued to impact on public life and Africa through a number of programs, Aids campaigns, political education, mobilization and things like that,” he says.

Rahama Aliyu is an international businesswoman; she agrees with Gusau. She says Nelson Mandela is the most powerful and influential African leader.

"I would say Nelson Mandela is the most powerful and influential leader Africa has produced in the past 50 years. He has changed the style of leadership in Africa and is affecting African peoples lives with great initiative like the campaign against HIV/AIDS in Africa,” says Aliyu.

Comrade Sammani Bashir Shariff is a labour activist. He is the National vice president of Radio/Television, and Theater Art Workers North West zone. He says the religion of the leader does not matter and that the most valuable element is the contribution a leader makes to his people. He also say he would like Nigerian leaders to learn from Nelson Mandela.

“Christian or Muslim, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the contribution a leader makes to his people. See, Nelson Mandela is a great man and a powerful African leader of our times because he is a progressive statesman. President Olusegun Obasanjo had that kind of integrity when he handed over power to the democratically elected Nigerian president in 1979. I would like to say Nigerian leaders should learn from Nelson Mandela’s style of leadership and ways of life,” he says.

Nelson Mandela was jailed for treason during the apartheid regime in South Africa. He continued his struggle against racism in prison.

Out of jail, he contested the election under the ANC and was elected as the first black South Africa president. After his tenure, he continued with his good will efforts to his people and the African people.

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