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Biafra: Buhari, Okorocha preach unity
President Muhammadu Buhari

Biafra: Buhari, Okorocha preach unity

 

Story by Harold Udoka

Amidst the protests by some people agitating for an independent state of Biafra, President Muhammadu Buhari and Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha have at different fora called for unity and national cohesion.

Speaking during the launch of the 2016 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and celebration yesterday, Buhari explained that Nigerians have resolved to live as one and a united people. The president at the ceremony, which held inside the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, announced a donation of N10 million to the Nigerian Legion.

He called on all Nigerians to appreciate the noble contributions of the nation’s fallen heroes whom he said paid the supreme sacrifice to maintain national and international peace and security.

Buhari said that the nation had recently celebrated 55 years of political independence and continued to remain as one indivisible entity despite several challenges. He said: “Since independence, Nigeria has witnessed a lot of internal strife, survived a civil war and has remained united. This feat achieved by the country is an eloquent testimony to the determination of our citizens to remain as one people.

“The sacrifices of our fallen heroes, heroines, and veterans who rose up to the security challenges cannot go un-noticed.” While noting that the theme of this year’s celebration: “Motivating the Nigerian Armed Forces for Effective Service Delivery” was very apt, he saluted the courage and sacrifices of men and women of the Armed Forces in grappling with the wave of terrorism, oil theft and piracy in some parts of our country.

According to him, “They have displayed unalloyed loyalty and commitment to Nigeria. In their arduous task to keep Nigeria safe and united, some of these gallant officers and men lost their lives. To them, we pay special tribute and pray for the repose of their souls.

“Fellow countrymen and women, consider the situation and conditions under which they died or suffered physical incapacitation. ” It behoves on us who are living beneficiaries of their sacrifice to contribute towards the welfare and sustenance of their dependants.

Our modest effort will go a long way to demonstrate our depth of gratitude and ameliorate their present condition.” He said that the Nigerian Legion, which is the umbrella body of the veterans, has continued to contribute to the growth and development of the country.

Buhari commended the Legionnaires for their steadfastness, perseverance and exemplary conduct. He added that the members of the body have continued even in retirement to provide excellent services in all spheres of our national life. He called on well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations to lend their support to the worthy initiative.

The president said the emblem launch was meant to appeal to all Nigerians to generously support the Nigerian Legion. While encouraging Nigerians to buy the emblem, Buhari announced that it would soon become a requirement for access into government establishments for staff and visitors.

He gave an assurance that the Federal Government would continue to show commitment in addressing the challenges facing veterans. Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Dan-Ali, described the event as a unique one coming at a time when the nation was committing much to the anti-terrorism war.

He said terrorism had tasked the resourcefulness of men of the nation’s armed forces with many lives lost and many others injured. Chairman, Nigerian Legion, Colonel Micah Gayya (rtd.), decorated Buhari; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, with the redesigned emblems.

The event was attended by all the newly inaugurated ministers and the National Security Adviser (NSA).

Meanwhile at a lecture organised by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Governor Rochas Okorocha urged Nigerians to shun discord. Speaking on the theme, Managing Change in a democracy, Governor Okorocha harped on how the various ethnic groups do not value one another, adding that this attitude has stunted our national development.

 

“Our stanza of our old national anthem reads “though tribe and tongues, may differ, in brotherhood we stand” The writer of that anthem appreciated our diversity, and knew we would have this problem that is affecting us today, The ethnic coloration of our politics atcually began with our founding fathers. Remember the parties founded then were by leades from the three major groups-NCNC by Zik, NPC by Tafawa Balewa and AG by Awolowo, and people voted based on their ethnicity. That was the genesis of what we are facing today.

“But the APC has come to change all that, we intend to review the issue of tribalism and sectionalism. Months back, when President Jonathan was in government, some people from the South and some Christians were saying this is our time, now that Buhari is here, there will be some people who would say this is the time of the North or a time for Muslims, that should not be so.No nation can grow with that kind of situation, we must unite”

 

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