Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said xenophobic attacks on citizens of other African nations and especially Nigerians in South Africa should serve as a wake up call for national cohesion.
The governor made this assertion in Sokoto on Tuesday during his speech to commemorate on the 59th Independence Day celebration.
He described the incident as a challenge for the country to also quickly take very seriously, the need for a culture of tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
According to the governor, “national cohesion and integration must become very urgent tasks for us.
“Let me touch on something that seems quite distant from us but which I think is very relevant for our society. In the last few months, the tragic news of the xenophobic attacks on citizens of other African nations and especially Nigerians in South Africa should serve as a wake up call for us.
“What we have witnessed is a wake up call on Nigeria to rise up and to assert herself as the leader of Africa. It is a challenge for us to also quickly take very seriously the need for a culture of tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
“In the last few years, we have also witnessed some local expressions of this intolerance in a more forceful and violent manner. We must very urgently gain the moral high ground and ensure that our people embrace themselves. To this end, national cohesion and integration must become very urgent tasks for us.
The governor further asserted that the consequences of an unstable Nigeria are too enormous to contemplate, adding that, “we are thankful again that our people in Sokoto have continued to interact peacefully with our neighbours on our boarders. I call on our people to remain welcoming to strangers as this has always been our culture.”
Governor Tambuwal, however, urged those in leadership positions to address the challenges of managing the country’s diversity and effectively channeling her talents towards building a strong nation where everyone genuinely can have and feel a sense of belonging.
“Let me repeat what I have already said earlier: the task of keeping our country united is a task, a dream, a vision that we must achieve. We have already fought a war to keep our people and our country one.
“In spite of all our set back, we have always stood together. Our commitment to unity therefore remains resolute. Nation building is a task that spans many generations and is never completed. It is always a work in progress because the next generation will always have its own dreams and ideals.
“However, there are certain principles that are not negotiable and they are well captured in our national coat of arms: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. On these, there can be no retreat and no surrender. The world expects nothing less,” the governor further said.
He called on all to remain relentless in prayers for the nation and all her leaders across the board, saying that, “we can only lead because you have given us your trust. Our commitment to holding on to that trust depends on your support,” he said.