From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has implored Nigerian leaders to commit to building a united Nigeria
He said Nigerian leaders should respect the interests of every section of the country in order to build a united nation devoid of agitations, disunity and disenchantment among the citizens.
Jonathan stated this at Opume, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State during a tour of key areas in Bayelsa undertaken by the 1981 pioneer set of University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The former president, a member of the pioneer set, had led his colleagues on a visit to King Amalate Jonny Turner, Obigbo Mikimiki 1, the Obanema of Opume Kingdom, who is also a member of the set.
He stressed that Nigeria is blessed with both human and natural endowments, which could only be enjoyed in a peaceful atmosphere.
Jonathan, therefore, enjoined leaders from all parts of the country to focus more on building a united nation where no one society or tribe should be more valued than the other.
“Leaders should focus more on uniting Nigerians. If one society or group of people or tribe is more valued than the other, then there is bound to be disunity and disenchantment from those who feel not being accorded their rightful respect and value,” he said.
Jonathan who is hosting the pioneer set on a three-day reunion programme made the declaration while on a visit to Opume and the Oloibiri first oil well as part of activities of the alumni aimed at fostering bonding among old classmates. He added that the reunion had been a veritable platform to deliberate on issues affecting their alma mater and to give back to the school and society in general.
In a related development, the first former military governor of old Rivers State and Amanayanbo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, has recalled that establishing University of Port Harcourt was a herculean task because of vested interests against it.
Diete-Spiff in his remarks during a lecture at UNIPORT ‘81 reunion at Aridolf Hotel in Yenagoa yesterday, noted that the take-off of the university could not have been possible but for the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd).
The monarch extolled Gowon for what he described as “his audacious and courageous actions” to make the establishment of UNIPORT a reality.
Diete-Spiff recalled that he risked his job then as the military governor because he was determined to ensure that UNIPORT was founded against the advice that the university should be a college under the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.