The Indian High Commission in Abuja in collaboration with the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) on Wednesday in Abuja released a commemorative stamp to honour Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary.
Shri Thakur, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, said that the release of the stamp was a fitting tribute to Gandhi and the long standing friendship between India and Nigeria.
He said that the release of the commemorative stamp in honor of Gandhi was a significant moment in India’s history and the India-Nigeria Partnership including in the field of capacity building.
Thakur said that the day’s event also coincides with the Clean India Day, with a special summit holding in India on Water and Sanitation, where the Nigerian government was also participating.
According to Thakur, Gandhi’s connect to Africa was very well known and the importance of his African experience helped in shaping his life and philosophy in places like South Africa and also his brief stay in Mauritius.
He explained that his stay in Africa was very notable because when he saw the effect of colonialism and all the ill effect that it brought on the society, he decided to fight colonialism back home.
Thakur, however, noted that the best way to pay homage is to read out some of the exert and quotes from an article written by India’s Prime Minister, Shri Modi in the New York Times publication of Oct. 2.
He quoted Modi saying “the great leader envisioned a World where every citizen had dignity and prosperity, that he envisioned Indian nationalism as one that was never narrow or exclusive.
“One that worked for the service of humanity and the unique ability to become a bridge builder between some of the greatest contradictions in human society.
“Gandhi laid emphasis on the welfare of all, championing of the downtrodden and had a concern for environment sustainability’’.
Thakur said that the design of the stamp shows Gandhi and what he believed in, which was self sufficiency and Small and Medium Enterprise, which was why the spinning wheel was captured.
He explained that with the spinning wheel which was Gandhi’s significant tool, any one, including a poor man could weave for himself, produce cloths, feed himself and free himself from the oppression of colonialism.
He appreciated the contribution of Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama to the article on Mahatma Gandhi, which would be published shortly by the High Commission.
Thakur urged Nigerians to reflect on the life of Gandhi and emulate him whenever they utilize the stamp.
Also speaking, Mr Bisi Adegbuyi, Nigeria’s Post Master-General, said that celebrating Gandhi, a man of peace at a time the world is filled with strife, war and violence was not a misplaced priority.
Adegbuyi who was represented by Mrs Loretta Nwakama, Chief Operating Officer, NIPOST, said that the commemorative event would make citizens and governments know that peace and co-existence were achievable in the World.
“We in the Nigeria Postal Service are delighted to associate with India, leading to the collaboration with the High Commission in Nigeria to issue this commemorative postal stamp.
“As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian-Nigerian friendship.
“The significance of postage stamps is that they are the country of issue’s Ambassador that convey the message of the issuing country to another, particularly in Nigeria and India’s case.
“Whereby the two countries are members of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), thus making the stamps available in all the 192 member countries.
“This means the postage stamp to be released today would trade far and wide, criss crossing every nook and cranny of these member countries,” Adebguyi said.
Adegbuyi said that NIPOST would be bringing out 200,000 of the postal stamps to enable its wide circulation and usage in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications, commended India for honouring their own, who had shown good leadership, a leadership quality expected of all leaders in the world.
Pantami, who was represented by Mrs Ngozi Ogujiofor, Director, Telecom and Postal Service of the Ministry, said that it was important for every citizen of the world to emulate Gandhi.
“The life and time of Gandhi should guide people across the world on how to relate with one another for peace to reign.
“The release of this stamp is exemplary and should bring everyone together , both rich and poor without discrimination,” Pantami said.
Pantami commended India’s partnership with Nigeria and its benefits, which includes training and leadership in the world of telecommunications.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event ended with a photo exhibition, with a collection of photographs from the Gandhi National Museum , New Delhi, on his life and messages.
Edited by Ifeyinwa Omowole
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