OrderPaperToday – President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, has extolled the roles played by Nigeria in the struggle against apartheid and the enthronement of popular democracy in his country.
Zuma canvassed stronger economic, political and diplomatic ties including people-to-people relations between Nigeria and South Africa.
President Zuma also reminded youths of both countries of the role Nigeria played in surmounting the apartheid regime in South Africa.
While addressing a joint session of the National Assembly Tuesday, Zuma specifically charged youths in South Africa never to forget the role Nigeria played in liberating South Africa and standing for other southern African countries.
Zuma who was accompanied to the joint session by President Muhammadu Buhari, called for the teaching of African history in schools so that generations will never forget the contributions of Nigeria.
He also praised the efforts of former military Head of State, Gen. Murtal Mohammed, saying “this year marks the 40 Anniversary of the passing of one of the illustrious sons of Nigeria and Africa, General Murtala Mohammed.
“His tenure only lasted 200 days but it had a profound impact, particularly on the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in Southern Africa.
“Nigeria supported the liberation struggles of the people of Southern Africa and South Africa specifically outside of the multilateral fora.
“It is thus clear that ours are time-tested relations. Engagements between our countries far predate the formal relations established after South Africa attained its freedom.
“The people of Nigeria provided unwavering support and solidarity to the people of South Africa, to unseat the last bastion of colonialism in Africa and enable us to attain our freedom.
“I would like to remind especially the youth in our two countries, of the role that Nigeria played in the struggle for liberation in South Africa.”
The South African president further said “relations between the two countries are informed by this rich history, a history that needs to be told endlessly to current and future generations.
He specifically called for strengthening of bilateral relations between both countries, citing the Nigeria South Africa Bilateral Commission as case in reference.
He said under the Commission, economic relations had improved tremendously, saying “more than one hundred and twenty South African companies operate in Nigeria currently, a huge growth from a mere four companies in 1999.
He said: “Nonetheless, there is room for greater business to business engagements particularly in the areas Nigeria has identified as potential growth sectors.”