Calling Nelson Mandela his Role Model and Mentor, Senate Chief Whip Dr Orji Uzor Kalu on Saturday said the former South African President taught him how to forgive and tolerate people that offended and caused him pains.
He said the anti-apartheid icon shared with him several experiences he had with people during the anti-apartheid struggle especially when he was jailed in prison.
Kalu made the revelation while responding to journalists at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on the side line of the speech he gave on “The Mandela I Know”, at the 10th commemoration of “Nelson Mandela Day”, held on Thursday at the University of Abuja.
He said the late African Leader told him a personal story of his encounter with a guard of the prison where he was jailed. According to Kalu, “Mandela told him that after he became president, he requested some of his close aides to have a lunch with him in the city.
“As they sat in one of the restaurants, he noticed a familiar face sitting in one of the tables waiting for food. He asked one of his Security operatives to bring the man to their table but the man was trembled and looked very unstable.
Kalu said Mandela’s aides at that point thought that the man was sick because his hands trembled as he ate . But Mandela explained to them that the man was not sick and could even be healthier than many of them.
“Madiba told me that he explained to his aides the man was the guard of the prison where he was jailed. He said that after the torture he was subjected to, he used to scream and ask for a little water. The very same man used to come every time and urinate on his head instead of the water he asked for.”
According to Kalu, “Mandela told them the man was trembling because he thinks himself (Mandela ) would reciprocate at that moment , at least in the same way, either by torturing him or imprisoning him as he was the President.
The former Abia State Governor quoted Mandela as telling him he sincerely never thought of any punishment to the man because that was not his character nor part of his ethics.
Kalu emphasized Mandela intensely lectured him on the mentality of forgiveness and tolerance. “I call it lecture because it came with his many other stories of life experiences. I know the world misses Mandela but as my Mentor, I miss him more. “The Senate Chief Whip said.
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