Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his commitment to the unity of Nigeria. He vowed to devote all his time and energy to promote it for the benefit of Nigerians.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari gave the assurance during a visit to the State House by a delegation of Benue State Council of Traditional Rulers led by the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse.
He called for better appreciation of the historical relationships among various communities in order to sustain the nation’s unity.
Stressing that ties between Tiv and Fulani ethnic group to which he belongs predated him and the current generation, he expressed optimism that the cordial bonds will continue to endure among various groups and serve as a unifying force.
Buhari decried the misunderstanding of internal conflicts by many people at home and abroad, citing the farmer-herders clashes which in several places had been misconstrued as religious when in fact they arose from social and cultural factors.
The president restated his appeal for better understanding of the nation’s diverse cultures in order to engender a healthier co-existence while fortifying and strengthening the unity of the country.
Responding to the narration of the Tor Tiv on the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the recent conflicts in the State, he said he was aware of all that obtains in the Northeast, the Northwest and the South-South.
He said it was for the urgent need to ameliorate the plight of IDPs that he created the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, “so that we have a ministry that coordinates their demands, and we avoid duplication of resources.”
Buhari expressed delight with the leadership of the Tor Tiv and other traditional rulers in their various communities as well as for their strong support for his administration.
Meanwhile, Buhari assured that on this last lap of his administration, he will do all within his powers to carry everyone along.
He gave the assurance when he received at State House, Abuja, some of the Ministers who served with him as military head of state between January 1984 and August 1985.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who described the meeting as “a refreshing time of going down memory lane,” President Buhari recalled “how we got things done then,” because it was a military administration, and pledged to “carry everyone along on my last lap as a democratically elected leader.”
He thanked the former ministers “for being consistently in touch” and particularly lauded the military for building Abuja as new Federal capital for the country.
Leader of the delegation, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who served as minister of External Affairs, said the team came to congratulate the President on his achievements in security, foreign affairs, anti-corruption, education, and many others.
“We were appointed 35 years and nine months ago. Eighteen of us were sworn in.
“Your leadership was firm, but you also gave us free hand to operate. You knew what each person was doing. We will never forget the opportunity you gave us. We remain patriots,’’ he said. He commended the President on the newly constituted Economic Advisory Council, adding that the same should be considered for security and foreign affairs.
Other former Ministers in the team were Maj.-Gen. Muhammed Magoro (Internal Affairs), Dr Emmanuel Nsan (Health), Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullah (Education) and Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Abdullahi (Communications).