Former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo in a condolence letter made availble to reporters through his media assistant Kehinde Akinyemi, has described the late Robert Mugabe as one of Africa’s greatest freedom fighters. He explains that the death of a man of his stature is more than just a loss for Zimbabwe but a loss for the African continent.
The letter reads:
News of President Robert G. Mugabe’s death in Singapore, in the early hours of today, was received by me with immense sadness indeed.
It is, therefore, with a profound sense of sympathy that I write, on behalf of my family and on my own behalf, to commiserate with you and the entire good people of Zimbabwe over the painful transition of President Robert Mugabe, former President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, a frontline leader, an activist, an indomitable fighter for the liberation of Zimbabwe from apartheid and oppressive racialism, a statesman par excellence and a tireless advocate of the preservation of the mystique of Africa’s moral and cultural values, who had selflessly dedicated himself to public service for most of his life, particularly as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980-1987 and also as President from 1987-2017.
Having followed with keen interest, his heroic struggles to secure an independent Zimbabwe in 1980, President Mugabe had become much more than a leader of his people.
He had become the living symbol and embodiment of their long and valiant struggle for their rightful place in the comity of nations.
I recall with pride also Nigeria’s association with Zimbabwe’s struggles against racist minority rule and country’s eventual independence in 1980 and quite retaining is the memory of the honour of Nigeria being classified a Frontline State in those years.
President Mugabe was, without doubt, one of the greatest African freedom fighters to have walked on the African soil.
This he did with his colleague and brother, Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo, leading to the formation of the Patriotic Front for which Nigeria took a vanguard position.
Under his administration as the President of Zimbabwe for well over three decades, the country witnessed significant efforts at placing the command of Zimbabwean economy in the hands of Zimbabweans.
The death of a leader of President Mugabe’s stature is a big loss, not only to his immediate family and country but to the whole of Africa.
History will record his vital contributions to the realisation of the dream of regional unity in Southern Africa.
As we mourn the death of this great man and progenitor of contemporary Africa, I urge you all to take solace in the memory of his total dedication and commitment to the service of his people and for the cause of justice. We salute his achievements in laying the foundation of modern, independent and free Zimbabwe.
We pray that the Almighty God will give you, the entire Mugabe family and the good people of Zimbabwe the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and grant President Mugabe eternal repose in His bosom.