From Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday appealed to the people of South East region not to buy into the idea of Biafra Republic promoted by the members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The president described the agitation for the realization of the sovereign State of Biafra as “a senseless propaganda” promoted by “some misguided youths” in the region. He said that dividing the country across ethnic lines is tantamount to betraying the efforts of Nigeria’s founding fathers.
Buhari made the appeal while addressing the people of Ebonyi State at the Abakaliki Township Stadium. The president was on a one-day working visit to the state to commission some projects executed by the state governor, Chief David Umahi.
“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” the president declared.
“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.
“The task of nation building is continuous, our founding fathers from all parts 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 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.