PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigerians have agreed that the country is better together as a nation despite its diversity.
Buhari said this on Monday during his virtual address at the 69th birthday of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), held in Kano State, according to a statement by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina.
“Despite occasional inter-ethnic tensions in our national history, it seems to me that we have all agreed on one point that, notwithstanding our diversity of ethnicity, culture, language and religion, Nigerians are better together; even stronger together,” said Buhari.
The president, who delivered a speech on ‘Our Common Wealth: The Imperative of National Cohesion for Growth and Prosperity,’ said the theme of the colloquium spoke to a very contemporary but potentially ruinous trend, which Nigerians must all join hands to check at once.
Buhari stated that his experience of working in all parts of the country showed possibilities of a strong and united nation.
“In the course of my career, I have also been opportune to serve in all parts of Nigeria, seeing first-hand the enticing possibilities of a strong, united nation.
“More importantly, I fought for the unity of Nigeria during the Civil War of 1967 -1970, and I saw first-hand the unspeakable horrors of war, not just on fellow soldiers on both sides, but on the civilians: innocent children, women and elderly citizens that they left behind,” Buhari said.
He added that peace-building, recovery and reconstruction that followed the civil war could not have succeeded under an atmosphere of inter-ethnic animosity.
He further stated that the lesson of the colloquium was that the course of conduct of all Nigerian citizens and leaders was to ensure that justice and harmony reigned in the country.
Buhari noted that Nigerians must also ensure the devotion of the nation’s resources to the benefit and development of the country, while ensuring that every citizen felt comfortable in every part of the country.
The president was speaking to the recent crisis that engulfed the nation in the past months.
While some of the crisis have been around for long, it again came into the national debate following inter ethnic clashes and calls for secession.
Some Southeastern groups in the country under the aegis of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) are demanding a Biafra nation away from Nigeria.
Also in the Southwest region of the country, some persons are calling for a Yoruba nation.
There have also been clashes between groups across Nigeria, most especially the farmers and herders in some parts of the country.
The most recent of the crises were the fatal and destructive clashes between Yorubas and Fulanis in Oyo State that led to loss of lives and property.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights activist Femi Falana had described those calling for a break-up of the nation as ‘short sighted.’
Falana said this during an interview last Friday, stating that they simply wanted to transfer national oppression to their own ethnic freedom.
“None of them is talking about education for everybody in Nigeria; none of them is advocating the type of economy that would promote prosperity in the republic of their dream, it is all about, let us serve our own freedom to continue the oppression of the masses,” Falana said.