FREEDOM FIGHTER! The Story Of How Nigeria's Jaja Wachuku Saved Nelson Mandela From The Death Penalty • illuminaija
illuminaija

FREEDOM FIGHTER! The Story Of How Nigeria’s Jaja Wachuku Saved Nelson Mandela From The Death Penalty

FREEDOM FIGHTER! The Story Of How Nigeria’s Jaja Wachuku Saved Nelson Mandela From The Death Penalty

Nigeria has always been a key player on the forefront of the fight for democracy and justice in Africa. The West African nation was instrumental in the formation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU).


Beyond this, however, one major achievement of the nation in the fight for justice could be seen in the efforts of a Nigerian statesman, lawyer, politician, diplomat and humanitarian – Jaja Anucha Wachuku.

Jaja Wachuku’s significant mark in political history has made him an epitome of leadership and sportsmanship that should not go unrecognised.

In 1963, Nelson Mandela along with 12 other South African politicians was arrested and convicted for sabotage after being found in Liliesleafarm Farm in Rivonia where they had been hiding for two years.

FREEDOM FIGHTER! The Story Of How Nigeria’s Jaja Wachuku Saved Nelson Mandela From The Death Penalty

At the time, Nelson Mandela had been listed as a terrorist by the U.S. government after evading the police and going into hiding since 1961.

Mandela became more radical while in prison and admitted to sabotaging, but pleaded innocent to every other charge. At the trial, Mandela gave a three hour ‘I Am Prepared to Die’ Speech and was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1964.

At the time, Jaja Wachuku was working as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria after serving as the first Ambassador and Paramount Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations.

FREEDOM FIGHTER! The Story Of How Nigeria’s Jaja Wachuku Saved Nelson Mandela From The Death Penalty

Through his excellent showcase of work ethics, he had gained considerable fame and respect in the United Nations as well as established strong relations with presidents of the United States between 1960 and 1963.

Wachuku, who believed in what Mandela stood for and believed that he was wrongfully sentenced, intervened during his trial through the United Nations and South African government.

Through Jaja Wachuku, Nelson Mandela and the 12 other political leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty.

Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk, the Former State President of South Africa released him in 1990 after spending 27 years in prison.

Besides this significant achievement, Jaja Wachuku is also famous for one other incident at a United Nations meeting in 1960.

Some have concluded that the diplomat was sleeping during the meeting, however, the true story is that he was in disagreement with an issue and decided to pull up a show by pretending to be asleep.

Wachuku died on November 7, 1996, in Enugu.

FREEDOM FIGHTER! The Story Of How Nigeria’s Jaja Wachuku Saved Nelson Mandela From The Death Penalty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.