Lulu Louis Mnguni, High Commissioner for South Africa in Nigeria says that Africa is looking at South Africa and Nigeria for leadership and the unity that Africa must have starts with Nigeria and South Africa.
Mnguni said as South Africans we must entrench to advance our relationship with Nigeria. “people would ask why we are so committed to ensure our relationship with Nigeria is strengthened? Our relation ship with Nigeria comes from far, which started during our struggle against apartheid. “
“One country that was always with us no matter how difficult the situation was, was Nigeria. When Oliver Tambo went to London he was met by a Nigerian, Chief Anyankwu.”
“When the African nations congress decided that we could no longer talk to the apartheid, Mandela came to Nigeria to ask for assistance and of course Nigeria helped us. In 1976 our youths had to face apartheid with stones and the enemy armed with machine guns, Nigeria invited our youths to come here and the leadership of the ’76 youths that great son of africa that was carrying Hector PietersonㅡMbuyisa also was here. although unfortunately they never lived on to enjoy the freedom that we are enjoying today.”
Universities like Ahmadu Bello University are universities that accommodated our people and made sure our youth and people got education and of course military training 一 when we had Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and other countries in the frontline state faced with the wrath of the enemies, Nigeria said we are also part of the frontline state defying the geo-political arrangementーall this, inform the relationships which we have with Nigeria. In business, we are not just doing business, in diplomacy we are informed by that history.”
He said whenever sometimes we find ourselves in some challenges , we look at our past together and say we cannot compromise our history with nigeria.
“our relationship with nigeria is also an example to other african countries that we do not have the luxury of fighting each other.”
“Nigeria was always there with us. Nigeria is a big country so they will always be there to support us.”
He added that when we had problemsㅡMTN, solution did not only come from us but they also came from Nigerians 一 who said why don’t you try this and try that and because of their support we manage to be where are now and MTN is working well… although of course problems will always be there infact they are not problems but irritations not problems, they will always be there.
“We have had two states visit where in 2013, a erstwhile president Goodluck Jonathan visited South Africa and President Jacob Zuma came here in 2016 which shows that the existence of partnership between Nigeria and South Africa is important to both countries.”
“Business unless if you look at it mechanically, is no longer a south african business alone going to nigeria. when they come here we are partners with nigerians, we benefit together, many nigerians even benefit more than us and we create jobs and the same with Nigerians when they go to South Africa.”
“The balance of trade for instance, favours Nigeria but we don’t complain because our business relations are symbiotic. When Nigeria becomes number one we don’t complain because we know we are going to benefit 一Our relations is just like China and America, ideologically they are not in good terms but I do not imagine America without China 一 South Africa, whatever happens to Nigeria, when it is positive we gain and when it is negative we feel the pain 一 We are condemned to be together so we cannot move away from each other 一 and of course I send you this message Consul General that it is important that you work hard to build this relationship.”
“On the issue of visa, we must ensure the strength of our relationship reflects on that because we cannot say we are friends for so many years and be having such issues 一 The success of our relationship was not done by myself as an individual, it was done by us all, Baaba as he is fondly called was quoted as saying. “
“Don’t do this only to me , there are many others who will be coming, make sure you support them as well 一 South Africa ,Nigeria keep working together, you will not regret. Africa is looking at South Africa and Nigeria for leadership and the unity that Africa must have starts with Nigeria and South Africa 一 don’t play games only to find yourselves being laughed at by outsiders. Why are they not fighting among themselves? it does not mean that they always agree so let us make sure that what we are together. Business between South Africa and Nigeria has grown and of course this affects positively on our politics 一 it makes our politics to fall in place and also our relationship politically is strong and that impacts a conducive environment for business 一 given that there is a bilateral link between business and politics 一 let us work wherever we are to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.”
“My brother, Consul General, I say to you again, make sure that our people and Nigerians look to the future in optimism and then Africa will rise. so it’s in your hands.”