President Muhammadu Buhari today in Ebonyi pleaded with South East people to desist from idea promoting Republic of Biafra hyped by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Buhari who is on a two day visit to South Eastern Nigeria will tomorrow be in Anambra State.
He branded the agitation for sovereign state by IPOB “a senseless propaganda” pursued by youths that have been misguided in the region, adding that dividing Nigeria across ethnic lines is equivalent to betraying achievement of the founding fathers.
Buhari’s appeal came while addressing the people of Ebonyi State at Abakaliki Township Stadium, even as he commissioned some of the projects executed by the state governor, Chief David Umahi.
Buhar said: “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 Nigeria where we can sleep at night knowing that tomorrow will be better than today is what we should all aspire to.
Buhari added that the efforts of the founding fathers in building the nation would be continued, even as the founding fathers did not stop working together even after Independence.
He continues,“Yes, they had differences of opinion 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. 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 as leaders, we must lead by example, tolerance and acceptance of diversity” Buhari said.
Earlier in his speech, Governor Umahi, thanked the president for “supporting the state in many ways.”
“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 agriculture revolution and solid mineral.
“And today, sir you are with us. As 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 to give to our president.
“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” Umahi said.