Vanguard (Lagos)

9 April 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan, Eminent Nigerians Mourn Iron Lady

South Africa's ruling ANC says, Margaret Thatcher was one of the strong leaders in Europe but it notes her failure to recognise the ANC as a ... ( Resource: Reactions Across Africa Following Margaret Thatcher's Death

President Goodluck Jonathan has joined other world leaders in mourning the death of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher describing her as one of the world's greatest leaders.

In a condolence message signed by the President's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, he said "having already attained a legendary status in her lifetime after positively transforming Britain forever in her eleven and half years as Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher will, with her passage today formally take her place in history as one the greatest world leaders of our time".

He noted that "Baroness Thatcher will be eternally honoured for serving her country with immense passion and strong-willed determination as well as for the great transformation that resulted from her economic and social policies which laid the solid basis for the remarkable economic growth that was witnessed in Britain under the Conservative Government that she led.

Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi

Former External Affairs Minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi said late Baroness Margaret Thatcher was a powerful politician who dominated her national space totally. He said "she had a clear vision of what she wanted Britain to be and was totally committed to that vision. She was passionately devoted to Britain but was either unwilling or unable to concede that others could also be devoted to their countries.

"She restructured Britain by destroying the post-Secon World War social welfare system, replacing it with the everyman for himself system. "Together with Ronald Reagan and working through the World Bank, Thatcherism found its way into the developing countries through the adoption of SAP. Street riots following eonomic collapse are the collateral damage which the world has to endure thanks to Prime Minister Thatcher's long rule in Britain." he said.

Chief Emeka Anyaoku

Chief Emeka Anyaoku who was Deputy Secretary General of Commonwealth and later the Secretary General ofthe organisation that was the umbrella body of countries formerly under the British rule told Vanguard that Baroness Thatcher was undoubtedly a great Prime Minister who made great impact on British people and was an outstanding person on the world stage.

Chief Anyaoku who said he worked closely with the late Iron Lady said although her initial policies towards Africa was hostile, but when she understood the issues involved, she worked towards the resolution of the constitutional crisis in former Rhodesia.

According to Chief Anyaoku, Baroness Thatcher played a crucial role in the transition of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe into democracy.

She was on the six head of government in the 1979 Lusaka meeting of Commonwealth leaders who produced the package that resulted in the Lancaster House Constitutional Conference which finally led to the independence of Zimbabwe in April 1980.

Chief Arthur Mbanefo

Chief Arthur Mbanefo the Odu of Onitsha and former Ambassador to United States said Baroness Margaret Thatcher was a visionary leader and one of the most successful Prime Ministers that Britain has produced.

Chief Nbanefo said Baroness Thatcher wll be remembered for her role in the Falklands Island where she went to war in 1982 with Argentina to recover the Island for Britain.

He said Britain and the world will also remember her for breaking the back of the trade unions in the early 1980s as she embarked on her neo-liberal economic policies that brought the British economy on the path of growth.

On her policies on Africa, Ambassador Mbanefo said initially Baroness Thatcher stuck to the policies that were already laid down on how to deal with the situation in South Africa. "but with time she began to see reasons and joined in formulating policies that eventually led to the independence of Zimbabwe and later Namibia, before the dismantling of the white minority regime in south Africa.

Chief Ebenezer Babatope

In his tribute Chief Ebenezer Babatope said the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher has created a big vacuum in the democratic struggle all over the world.

He said though Thatcher was of the extreme right in the democratic struggle, she was a piece of beauty in her leadership f British people when she was Prime Minister of Britain. According to Chief Babatope, "She was bold, determined, principled, decisive, and unpretentious in the political leadership she gave her people.

It was no surprise she was known in politics as the Iron Lady. The PDP chieftain said Baroness Margret Thatcher will for long be remembered .

But on the domestic scene, late Baroness Thatcher was controversial for her economic policies especially the poll tax, which was very unpopular. She was also known to have broken the back of the trade unions as she tried to privatise ailing British companies.

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