President Muhammadu Buhari has reassured the Igbos that his government does not discriminate against the south-east region or any part of the country.
He made this known while addressing a crowd during his two-day working visit in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State.
The President also noted that his visit was a symbol of a strong belief in the Unity of Nigeria, and therefore, encouraged the youths to dismiss any calls for secession.
“My presence here today is a demonstration of a strong belief in the Unity of Nigeria as the most populous country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups – our diversity is almost unique among nations.
“The people of the South-East are known for their ingenuity, industrial and commercial talent.
“There is no part in Nigeria where you will not find Igbo entrepreneurs, both men and women contributing to the development of their adopted communities.
“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 while we sustain our unity without compromising on our cultural identities.
“We must work towards building a Nigeria that we can sleep at night, knowing that tomorrow will be better than today.”
The President also stressed the need for nation-building and the need for leaders at all levels to teach their subjects the importance of unity, starting from the home-front.
“The task of nation building is a continuous one, it relies on the successful transition of factual knowledge from one nation to the other. This means it is our collective responsibility to ensure we do not betray our founding fathers as we transform the Nigerian project from one generation to the next.
“As our national anthem says, the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain – So parents, speak to your children on the importance of their heritage, culture and being open minded.
“Teachers, teach your students about the history of this nation, and leaders, we must lead by example and show tolerance and acceptance of diversity.”
Buhari also expressed gratitude to the government and traditional leaders of Ebonyi State for conferring on him two traditional titles.
“I’m delighted to be in Abakiliki today, to interact with the good people of this state and indeed the south-east region as a whole.
“I want to express my gratitude for their hospitality and the warm reception since our arrival in Abakiliki Some Hours Ago.
“In the last few hours, I have commissioned some land mark projects and laid the foundation stone for the Ebonyi City Mall and a fly-over bridge projects.
“I commend his Excellency, Governor David Umahi for his vision and commitment to the development of of his state.
“In the course of my visit, I also had the honour and privilege of unveiling the statue of a great Nigerian – Sir Akanu Ibiam, whose notable record of humanitarianism and advocacy of free primary education will continue to be an inspiration to all.
“I am also grateful to the people of Ebonyi as well as the southeast traditional rulers who today bestowed on me, traditional titles. I am Enyioma 1 of Ebonyi (A good Friend) and to the south east and I am Ochioha NdiIgbo. I thank you for this honour and the kind gesture,” he added.