Lt. General Olusegun Obasanjo, head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria (1976-1979)
“It will no longer help for our so-called friends to adopt pious postures and preach non-violence when our enemies are busy inflicting mental and physical violence on us. We shall no longer watch the racists of Pretoria devise improvements to their machinery of terror and repression. We should no longer be just outraged, we must act.
In the words of of my worthy predecessor (*), we cannot pretend that we are unaware of the machinations and conspiracy against our continent by not just the racists of South Africa, but even by those who pretend to be friends of this continent, but whose sole purpose is in what they can get out of us.
The black people of the world are drawing nearer the stage of direct involvement in the struggle against against Apartheid in South Africa. We as a nation will acquit ourselves creditably, when that stage is reached.
We wish to salute the courage of our brothers and sisters who are in the frontline of the struggle in southern Africa. We wish to recall and pay due homage to the hopes of Soweto and others involved in the June 16, 1976 challenge to Apartheid. We are aware of their continuing struggle and sacrifice and the heroic stand of the youths and students of South Africa.
We take cognisance of their potential. The undaunted youth of Soweto are the new additional weapons which the system of Apartheid has designed, In time, this new weapon will be harnessed with others to destroy Apartheid.”
- His Excellency Lt. General Olusegun Obasanjo speaking at the opening of the World Conference for Action Against Apartheid on Monday, August 22nd 1977.
(*) Referring to the late General Murtala Muhammed, who was assassinated in February 1976 during an abortive coup.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2019)
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.