Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has called for unity among various ethnic and religious groups in the country, to enhance national integration.
Ganduje made the call on Saturday while receiving a chieftancy title at Olomu Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta.
The governor and his wife, Prof. Hafsat Ganduje, were conferred with chieftancy titles by the Ohworode of Olomu kingdom, Richard Ogbon, Ovie Ogoni-Oghoro 1.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ganduje was conferred with the title of Ejerukugbe, meaning let’s work together, while his wife was conferred with the Omarmoraye title, meaning good woman.
Ganduje said that our differences were our sources of strength, stressing that every ethnic nationality in Nigeria had unique personality which, when properly harnessed, would take the country to a higher level.
“When we help to manage our differences, it will make us great because our differences are sources of our strength.
“This title has taken the national integration to a higher level, it is important we believe in one another, trust, irrespective of the differences in our religion, ethnic or geographic location.
“Today a history has been made, history that is good for the development of our nation,” he said.
The governor recalled that former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon created and implemented the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) policy to institunalise the national integration in 1973.
According to him, as a student at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1973, some of them reacted negatively while some demonstrated in favour of the policy, unknowing that it was a policy to institutionalise national integration.
“I was posted to the defunct Bendel State in 1975 as a corps member and I served in Isoko. We were coming to Warri, being the commercial town in the Delta axis.
“It was interesting, the people were praying and giving us various foods at not cost. So, I am in love with the Urhobos, Isokos and Itsekiris. Even when I left, we were still exchanging pleasantries,” he said.
Ganduje said that the chieftancy title was a reflection of the robust relationship he had with the late General Dominic Oneya, former Kano State Military Administrator, native of Agbarho Community in Ughelli North Local Government Area.
“No doubt, this chieftancy title, there is a history behind it. When late General Oneya was posted to Kano State, he dissolved the cabinet and retained me in his cabinet.
“He was friendly, hardworking and we were so close. I maintain good relationship with Urhobos.
“To make the relationship complete, I appointed Oneya’s son as my Special Adviser in charge of Lagos State Affairs.This is how Nigeria can be promoted through national integration.
“What has happened today confirmed that there is good relationship between the people Kano State and Delta. In particular, a good relationship between Hausa/Fulani and the Urhobos, so we thank the king for the conferment of titles.
Speaking with newsmen, the commissioner for information in Kano State, Muhammad Garba, said that the conferrment was and indication that Nigerians needed to unite.
“For the king to have invited the governor and conferred the chieftaincy title on him, and for the governor to have accepted, is an indication that we should appreciate our diversity.
“An indication that we need one and another to progress. I am happy with the installation and hoping that it will further facilitate the relationship between the North and South.
“This conferrment will further facilitate the relationship between the Urhobos, the entire People of Delta and Kano State. I assured you that this is the beginning of our relationship with the people of this area,” he said.
Mr Anthony Oneya, son of late General Oneya, described Gov. Ganduje as detribalised Nigerian who always worked for the unity of the country, adding that he operated an open door policy.
“The governor appointed me as his Special Adviser on Lagos Affairs. As a non-indigene, he deemed it fit to make me an SA, to always give him reports monthly about activities of the Kano people living in Lagos State.
“With this title, we have come to honour the governor for finding ways to unify Nigerians. I knew the governor as a child growing up when my father was a military governor of Kano State,” he said.
Mr Fred Akhigbe, the Enojie of Edo Community in Kano State, said that the title was an indication that Nigerians would continue to unite.
“Though tribe and tongues may differ, but in brotherhood we stand,” he said.
In the governor’s entourage were members of his cabinet, traditional rulers and representation of the various ethnic groups in Kano State. (NAN)