President Muhammadu Buhari has described the last leader of the defunct Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday at the age of 91, as “a courageous reformer.”
The president’s condolence message is contained in a statement issued by his media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the Nigerian leader, Gorbachev will be remembered for years to come ”because of his immeasurable contributions to world peace and openness in his own once rigidly closed society.”
He affirmed that late Gorbachev was a remarkable gentleman whose reformist agenda had fundamentally changed the Soviet society.
He said that Gorbachev realised this feat through his policy of Perestroika and Glasnost, both of which set the stage for economic and political transformation of his own country and those of others in the defunct Soviet Union.
Buhari added, “Although Gorbachev’s political career was consumed by those reforms, history and posterity will be kind to him for placing the interests of the Soviet people above his own ambition.”
He observed that the impact of Gorbachev’s legacy was not limited to the defunct Soviet Union, but ”it also affected the wider world, such as his voluntary dissolution of the Warsaw Pact military alliance in pursuit of permanent peace in the world.
”We cannot forget in a hurry how Gorbachev advocated for the destruction of nuclear weapons by both the former Soviet Union and the United States during his meeting with Ronald Reagan.
”Although Gorbachev died without achieving his dream of a nuclear-free world, his genuine commitment to durable international peace and security would never be forgotten.”