Five Governors from the Northern part of the country, Alhaji Kashima Shettima (Borno State, and Chairman Northern Governors’ Forum), Simon Lalong (Plateau State), Atiku Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) met with their Imo State counterpart, Owelle Rochas Okorocha on Tuesday September 19, 2017 at the Government House Owerri. preaching unity and condemning tribal consciousness among Nigerians.
The governors had come to preach peace and to assure the Igbos and Hausa people living in both parts of the country to stop the songs of war and disunity and sing the songs of peace, love and harmony.
In his speech, Governor Rochas Okorocha said “Nigeria’s problem has remained largely lack of communication and not being able to socialize with each other. Even in families with husbands and wives, when we don’t have communication breakup is inevitable. It is necessary that we communicate amongst ourselves as governors. We should equally communicate with the ordinary citizens on the streets.”
He told them “today, you have come to Igboland, I know you will be surprised with the kind of warm reception you have gotten. Your coming now bridges the gap and it can best be described as the right step in the right direction.”
“We as leaders have not made enough efforts to assure the Igbos, Hausas and Yorubas that we are one, meanwhile we meet at our houses and hug, interact with each other, to what extent have we encouraged the ordinary people on the streets of Igboland or Hausa land to hug these brothers from the west and vice versa. It is duly incumbent upon us as you have done today to reach out and give each other a sense of belonging”, he stated.
He continued, “I want to state categorically that the Hausas living in Imo state are not different from Imo people living in the state. Most of these Hausas can only be distinguished not by their conduct or character but only by their dress code. Most of them were born here and have lived here all their lives in Imo state. So they are more of Igbo than Hausa despite having Hausa parentage. Having seen this, you can understand that we have no other option than to live as one united Nigeria.”
“Nigeria is passing through a very difficult times which many great nations have passed through before reaching to their points of greatness, we must see the happening now as a trial that will bring us to a level of triumph. We are only passing through a moment and this moment will not last for long, when Nigeria will arrive at the Promised Land.
“Your visit here is a reminder to all of us that we are one in blood and flesh, inseparable, despite the activities of those who have offered themselves as satanic instruments for the division of our lovely country. Nigeria is better off as one united nation. That is the pride with which we command respect in the whole of the African continent.
“Many nations of the world especially the black race make reference to us as Nigerians, they respect us because of our population and sense of unity. This is our place in history that we can never afford to lose.”
“Let me remind all of us, that it does not only take government to speak about peace, it behooves on all of us to speak about the peace and unity of this nation wherever we find ourselves. Peace is expensive but we must pursue it at all cost. I salute no man who is so purposeful in destruction but I salute a nation builder.” He stated.
The Borno State Governor, Alhaji Shettima said, “we are here as a delegation from the Northern Nigeria to identify with the uncommon exemplary leadership of the governors of the South Eastern region in this trying moment. In politics perception counts in symbolic matters. We are here largely to identify with our governor colleagues, to visit the northern communities in the east and re-assure them that the governors of the south-east are equal to the task.
“This visit will equally help us to forestall the chances of mass exodus of Nigerians from one region to the other as it will send a very wrong signal. We are equally inviting our brothers from the south-east to visit with us the Igbos that are in large numbers in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina etc; to assure them of the safety of their lives and properties. Nigeria belongs to all of us, make or mar. A small country like Syria with 23 million people, knocked at the doors of Europe because of crisis and Europe started shaking and so Nigeria with over 200 million will cause disaster in the event of crisis,” he remarked.
“The much maligned and demonized Owelle Rochas Okorocha is one of the few that stood his ground for national unity, togetherness and this has brought some developmental initiatives for the South-east. Enugu-Onitsha express way is now constructed, 2nd Niger bridge, Sam Mbakwe International Cargo airport amongst others are now testimonies.”
The Plateau State Governor Rt. Hon. Lalong noted “Nigeria is one. We have criminal elements everywhere. If somebody is giving quit notice, we should ask, at what time did we agree? That’s the beauty of democracy. Ours as governors and leaders is to maintain peace and see to an indivisible Nigeria. Our political differences must not divide us. Before we go into politics we must have a country called Nigeria.”
Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto State explained that “the work of making Nigeria one did not start today, it started with our elders and it is incumbent on us to sustain it and that’s one of the reasons His Eminence Sultan Maccido of the blessed memory was able to confer on Governor Rochas Okorocha the title of DAJIKAN SOKOTO, the foresight is to make us realize that Nigeria is one.”
“Nigeria is a country like no other where you have over 300 tribes with many languages spoken, yet have a one single country. No other nation in the world where you have 50% practicing one religion and another 50% practicing another religion. Nigeria is a special creation for us to make to work,” he said.
Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Bagudu said, “we as leaders must bequeath to our children a better heritage that we inherited because our young men and women will face more stiffer competition in the world than the ones we are facing. If we waste our time and energy fighting on those issues that should not even be dividing us, we will be doing harm to subsequent generations.”
For Governor Masari of Katsina State, “The Hausa community living in the East should live in peace and support the various governments in their developmental strides as they stand to bequeath in their areas of residence more than in their areas of birth, since they make their living in the East. There is need for the sustenance of these peace overtures across the length and breadth of this nation.”
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor