Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Despite tensions, Nigerians are better off together – Buhari

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Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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President Mohammadu Buhari has stated that despite occasional tensions in the nation’s history characterised by the diversity of ethnicity, culture, language and religion, Nigerians are better off and stronger together.

Mr Buhari stated this on Monday while making his virtual speech at the 12th Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in Kano.

He said: “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,’’

The President, who participated virtually in the event to mark the 69th birthday of the former two-term governor of Lagos State, commended the celebrant for always being an advocate of unity and cohesion in Nigeria.

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“This has been a constant factor in his outstanding political career, from the time he served in the short-lived senate of the Third Republic to his involvement in the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12 mandate of the late Chief MKO Abiola, to his much-acclaimed period of service as Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.

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“The ranks of Asiwaju’s political collaborators, whether as party members, comrades in the struggle, members of his cabinet, or his advisers, assistants and political associates, have always reflected a pan-Nigeria attitude.

“I believe all of us here can also confirm that the same outlook of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other like-minded Nigerians eventually made possible the coalition of four political parties into what we now see as our great party, the All Progressives Congress,’’ he said.

Mr Buhari noted that the objectives of the colloquium, which seeks to provide answers to national issues, further reflect the personal principles of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in promoting the unity and welfare of the country.

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“I think this Colloquium is a fitting reflection of the service that Asiwaju has given, not only to Lagos State, but to Nigeria and Africa; as well as his continuing commitment and influence, as one of the great pillars of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Equally I salute all those who have kept this Colloquium culture alive and thriving, making it a rich source of wisdom in our common quest for a better world and, of course, a greater Nigeria.

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“Today’s event promises an even more relevant and impactful discussion than ever before. The theme for this 12th edition, “Our Common Bond, Our Common Wealth: The Imperative of National Cohesion for Growth and Prosperity,” speaks to a very contemporary but potentially ruinous trend, which, in my view, we must all join hands to check at once,’’ he said.

Mr Buhari said his experience of working in all parts of the country showed possibilities of a strong, united nation.

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“I can also relate personally to the ideals of one Nigeria. As a military officer, I have served with great comrades from all the nooks and crannies of our country. I have seen over and over again that their goodness or failings did not depend on ethnicity or religion.

“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 to 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.

“As we all know, the peace-building, recovery and reconstruction that followed could also not have succeeded under an atmosphere of inter-ethnic animosity.”

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