President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged people of the South-East geopolitical zone not to buy into what he described as senseless propaganda by some groups to calling for the division of the country.
Buhari said the task of nation-building was a continued one and that Igbos and Nigeria are inseparable.
He spoke at Abakaliki township stadium while addressing the mammoth crowd that thronged the stadium to welcome him on his working visit to the state.
His visit to the state was his first official visit to the south east since he became president of the country in 2015.
He noted that the people of the Southeast are known for their ingenuity in commerce and industry and are doing well in different parts of the country where they are scattered.
His words “The people of the south east are known for their ingenuity, industrial and commercial talent their is no part of Nigeria that you
will not find Igbo entrepreneurs both men and women contributing to the development of their adopted communities. So I am asking you all not to buy into the senseless propaganda on secession. Igbo is Nigeria and Nigeria is Igbo, both are inseparable.
“We must, therefore, continue to commit ourselves to the development of Nigeria by sustaining our national unity without compromising our cultural identities; a Nigeria where the aspirations of its people is guaranteed without prejudice to tribe or religion. A Nigerian where
we can sleep at night knowing that tomorrow will be better than today.
“ The task of nation-building is a continues one, our founding fathers from all corners of this country worked together to actualise the
creation of one Nigeria. After Independence, the same founding Fathers worked together to maintain this one Nigeria.
“Yes, they had differences of opinion at times, after all they are only human. And yes, they had moments of weaknesses and doubt but
again no one is perfect. However, one thing they all protected until the end of their lives was having one Nigeria for all Nigerians Today
Nigeria is 57 years old, Nigeria has gone through many pains but has also achieved significant successes.
“Its citizens are leaders in all aspects of human development but we rarely celebrate these successes more. Some misguided Nigerians will
rather channel their energies to propagating negative stories and senseless rumours. Over 68 percent of Nigeria’s population is under 25
years old. They have little knowledge of Nigeria’s journey.
“They were not born during the dark days of the Civil war and nation building afterwards. The task of nation-building is a continuous one,
it relies on the successful transition of factual knowledge from one generation to another. This means it is our collective responsibility
to ensure we do not betray our founding fathers as we transfer the Nigerian project from one generation to the next.
“As our national anthem says, the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain. So parents speak to your children about the
importance of their heritage, culture and being open-minded. Teachers, teach your students about the history of the nation and how it was a
correlation of diversity that brought it to existence And leaders we must lead by example, tolerance and acceptance of diversity”.
The president noted that most grievances by all Nigerians were lack of jobs, poor infrastructure and basic amenities which he said he was
working aggressively to address.
“We are working aggressively to address these. We are building roads, hospitals and schools. We are expanding our power transmission
infrastructure while supporting the generation and distribution companies to ensure more power is delivered to our homes. We are
developing agricultural pogrammes that will create more jobs while making Nigeria food secure.
“We recently mobilised the contractor of the second Niger bridge back to sight. We have also mad provisions in the 2018 budget proposal to
ensure that this project is completed as early as possible. We are also upgrading the federal medical centre Umuahia by constructing
modern medical diagnostics centre.
“This will further bring quality and affordable healthcare to the region. In the agricultural sector, the states in this region have participated all federal government agricultural initiatives. For instance, Ebonyi was one of the first states governments to sign up to the presidential fertilizer initiative. The programmes have already created thousands of direct and indirect jobs in this fertile part of our country”, Buhari said.
Earlier while addressing leaders of the state at Exco chambers, government House Abakaliki where he was received by the elders with
chieftaincy title of Ezi Enyi oma 1 of Ebonyi state by traditional rulers of the state, he explained that he was in the state to
demonstrate his strong belief in the unity of the country.
“My presence here today is a demonstration of my strong belief in the unity of Nigeria. As the most populous country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups, our diversity is almost unique among nations”.
He commended the people of the state for the warm reception accorded him during the visit.
He lauded Governor Dave Umahi for his developmental strides.
“I am delighted to be here in Abakaliki to interact with the good people of Ebonyi state and indeed the south-east region as a whole. I
want to express my gratitude to the people of Ebonyi state for their hospitality and warm reception since I arrived the state.
“I will like to commend His Excellency Governor David Umahi for his vision and commitment to the development of this state. Some of the
projects I commissioned since my arrival are laudable. I am also grateful to the traditional rulers of Ebonyi state for the honour bestowed on me with the traditional title of Ezi Enyi Oma 1. I thank you for this honour and warm reception”, Buhari stated.
Earlier, Governor Umahi commended the President for his numerous support to the state.
“First is to congratulate our President for this highest honour bestowed on you today. It is an honour that is well deserved, Your Excellency. You have helped us quite a lot especially in the area of agriculture revolution and solid mineral.
“And today, sir you are with us. As the always the prayer of everyone that you plan to see it, you will be alive to tap from the seeds that
you are planting. Today, you made us a giant in agriculture and so, we have here with us 2,000 bags of rice and 2,000 pieces to give to our
“It is a prayer answered because you have sown in the land of Ebonyi and God has given you the strength and health to partake in that seed
that you planted, we are grateful to give back to our father who has given so much to us”, he said.
Former Governor of the state, Senator Sam Egwu in his remarks commended the President for the recent decision to pay former Biafra
Police officers pensions.
“Such an act of accommodation is what translates a mere leader to a great father of the Nation”, he said.
He pleaded with the president to give the state assistance in the area of agriculture; roads and education to enable the state catch up with
President Buhari during the visit inaugurated some projects executed by the Umahi’s administration.
The projects include; two long overhead bridges known as Offia Nwali flyover and Akanu Ibiam flyover located in Abakaliki metropolis.
He also inaugurated 47 km Onueke/Afikpo federal highway also executed by the state government, 57Km Nwofe/Agbaja road, Pa Ngele
Oruta Abakaliki International Stadium and others.
He used the occasion and performed groundbreaking of President Muhammadu Buhari Tunel at Akanu Ibiam overhead bridge and of
Abakaliki City Mull.
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