Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the late former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, as an indomitable fighter, who contributed to the liberation of his country from apartheid and oppressive radicalism.
Obasanjo said this in a condolence letter to President Emmerson Manangagwa of Zimbabwe, a copy which was made available to newsmen in Abeokuta on Friday through his Media Aide, Kehinde Akinyemi.
Obasanjo, while commiserating with Mugabe’s family and the people of Zimbabwe, said that he received the news of the elder statesman’s death with immense sadness.
“The news of former President Robert G. Mugabe’s death in Singapore, in the early hours of today (Friday), was received by me with immense sadness indeed.
“It is, therefore, with a profound sense of sympathy that I write, on behalf of myself and my family, to commiserate with you and the entire good people of Zimbabwe over the painful transition of former President Robert Mugabe.
“The former President of Zimbabwe was a frontline leader, activist, an indomitable fighter for the liberation of Zimbabwe from apartheid and oppressive racialism, a statesman per excellence and a tireless advocate of the preservation of the mystique of Africa’s moral and cultural values.
“He had selflessly dedicated himself to public service for most of his life, particularly as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to1987 and also as President from 1987 to 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 to 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 the country’s eventual independence in 1980.
“Quite retaining is the memory of the honour of Nigeria being classified a frontline state in those years,” Obasanjo said.
He added that the late Mugabe was, without doubt, one of the greatest 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,” he said.
Obasanjo urged the people 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 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,” Obasanjo said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mugabe died in the early hours of Friday in Singapore at the age of 95.