President Buhari yesterday appealed to residents of the South East region not to buy into the calls for secession from Nigeria that is being championed by some groups formed by some indigenes of the region.
Speaking at a reception held in his honor in Ebonyi state, President Buhari said the Igbos are Nigerians and Nigeria is for the Igbos and that both entities cannot be separated.
‘“The people of the South East are known for their ingenuity, industrial and commercial talent. There is no part of Nigeria where 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. A Nigeria where we sustain our national unity without compromising on our cultural identities. A Nigeria where the aspirations of its people is guaranteed without prejudice to tribe or religion. A Nigeria, where we can sleep at night knowing that tomorrow will be better than today. The task of nation building is a continuous one. It never stops. Our founding fathers, from all corners of this country, worked together to actualize the creation of one Nigeria. After independence, the same founding fathers worked together to maintain this one Nigeria. Yes, they had differences and varied opinions at times. After all, they were 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’.
Speaking further, President Buhari said
“Today, Nigeria is 57 years old. Nigeria has gone through many pains. But has also achieved significant successes. Its citizens are leaders in all aspect of human development. But we rarely celebrate these successes more. Some misguided Nigerians would rather channel their energy to propagating negative stories and senseless rumors. Over 60% 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 civil war and the nation rebuilding that happened afterward. 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 Nigeria project from one generation to the next. As our national anthem says; the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain”.