Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the Chief Whip of the Senate, on Thursday revealed how the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela, put pressure on former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo, to drop his third-term presidential agenda.
According to Kalu, Mandela played a crucial role in ensuring Obasanjo abandoned the idea of amending the Constitution, to enable him contest for a third term in office.
“I recall my personal interactions with him (Mandela), especially during our national struggle to force President Olusegun Obasanjo to drop his plan to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and secure an extension of his tenure.
“Disturbed by the details, Mandela placed a call to President Olusegun Obasanjo and told him in clear terms that whatever his plans were, it was neither desirable for Africa.
“That intervention, proved strategic to the leadership question in Nigeria at the time, leading to elections in 2007,” Kalu said.
The former Abia state Governor made the revelation, while giving a speech on ‘The Mandela I Know’, at the 10th commemoration of Nelson Mandela Day in Abuja.
The event, which was organised by the South African High Commission in Nigeria, held at the University of Abuja.
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The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Roet, Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof Abdul Rasheed Na-Allah, and the Deputy Vice-chancellor, Prof C.B.I Alawa, were in all attendance at the event.