We’re Better, Stronger Together — Says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigerians are better together and stronger in spite of occasional inter-ethnic tensions in the country.

The president made this known at the 12th Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in Kano on Monday.

“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,” Buhari said.

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.

“This has been a constant factor in his outstanding po­litical career, from the time he served in the short-lived Senate of the 3rd 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.

“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.

According to him, the objectives of the colloqui­um, which seeks to provide answers to national issues, further reflect the person­al principles of Tinubu in promoting the unity and welfare of the country.

“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.

“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.

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

“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.

“We must count our bless­ings in Nigeria and see in them the crucial factors of peace and unity,’’ the pres­ident said.

According to the presi­dent, the lessons of this col­loquium are clear, saying the very best course of conduct, whether as leaders and citi­zens, is to now ensure that justice and harmony reign in Nigeria.

He said that leaders must devote the resources of the country solely to its devel­opment and for the benefit of all the citizens and in the process to ensure that every Nigerian felt comfortable in every part of Nigeria.

“We all have a stake in the Nigeria project and, while playing our respective parts in its unity, peace and prog­ress, we must constantly keep faith with the promise of a greater Nigeria.”

The president congrat­ulated Tinubu on his 69th birthday, extending greet­ings to his wife, Yeye Asiwa­ju, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu and the family, while praying “best of health, happiness, strength and wisdom’’ for the celebrant.

“It is a mark of true statesmanship that your birthday should be hosted in Kano and celebrated in this way, with friends and asso­ciates from all parts of Ni­geria joining in,” he added.

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