President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria’s strength, as a country, lies in its diversity adding that he defended the unity of the country as a soldier during the civil war between July 1967 and January 1970.
Buhari spoke virtually from Aso Villa on Monday as the chairman of the 12th colloquium to celebrate the 69th birthday of All Progressives Congress stalwart, Bola Tinubu.
The colloquium held in Kano, was themed, ‘Our Common Bond, Our Common Wealth: The Imperative Of National Cohesion For Growth And Prosperity’.
The event was also virtually attended by the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo; House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; amongst others, whose itineraries were earlier disrupted by poor weather from the Abuja airport to the Kano airport.
While delivering his speech, Buhari said the theme of the occasion speaks to the current situation of the country where national unity is threatened by the heightened calls for secession from various quarters in the nation.
The president noted that nobody epitomises the unity that trascends ethnicity and other primordial sentiments better than the celebrant, Bola Tinubu.
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 or ethnicity, culture, language and religion, Nigerians are better together, even stronger together.
“Asiwaju (Tinubu) himself is a known advocate of unity and cohesion in Nigeria. This has been a constant factor in his outstanding political career from the time his served in the short-lived senate in 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 years of service as the governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.”
Buhari made reference to the civil war following the calls for secession, purportedly prompted by the growing disaffection and dissatisfaction in the country, which have reached their crescendo under the watch of its administration.
Popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho; as well as the Chairman of socio-political group, the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, Prof Banji Akintoye, and other proponents of self-determination had recently declared their allegiance for the Yoruba Nation.
A former militant in the Niger Delta region, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, had also recently announced himself as the leader of the new Biafra de facto Customary Government, citing “injustice and marginalisation” on the Igbo people as the reason for his aspiring for a “better life for his people”.