By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari described Zambia’s founding president and liberation hero Kenneth Kaunda as one of the greatest African and world leaders of all time who deeply loved his country and people.
Presidential spokesman Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement released Thursday in Abuja, quoted Buhari as saying this in his reaction to Kaunda’s death.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that Kaunda, who died at the age of 97, ruled Zambia from 1964 to 1991, when the southern African country gained independence from Britain.
NAN also reports that the late nationalist subsequently became one of the most committed activists against HIV / AIDS in Africa.
The Nigerian leader said: “I received his passing (of Kaunda) with a great shock because I knew his contributions to the development not only of Zambia but also of Africa as a whole.
“We cannot hastily forget how Kaunda harbored anti-apartheid freedom fighters from South Africa and former Rhodesia.”
Buhari described the late Zambian president as one of the strongest voices for the liberation of Africa from colonialism and imperialism, stressing that he did so with passion and sincerity.
“It is impossible to reflect on Kaunda’s legacy without acknowledging her selflessness and passion for service,” he said.
The President offered his and the nation’s condolences to Kaunda’s family, government and people of Zambia on the passing of the former President. (NAA)