Thursday, January 14, 2016 10:43 pm
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday reminded Nigerians on the need to exploit their differences to promote unity and build a prosperous nation guided by honesty and integrity.
He made the call in a message to the 50 years commemoration of the demise of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of Northern Nigeria held in Kaduna with the theme “50 Years After Sir Ahmadu Bello.”
He recalled the circumstances that led to the death of the premier and subsequent events which culminated in the Nigerian civil war, stressing that “it is better to talk through our differences and build a stronger nation together.
“The event of Jan. 15, 1966 was a monumental tragedy which set in motion other tragedies that severely buckled our country. I lived through this as a young officer, my generation can testify that it is better to talk through our differences than come to blows.
“The opportunisms and the narrow minded magnification and mobilisation of every imaginable difference for political gain ruin the promise and optimism of the early post independence years.
“These are the sort of behaviours’ that we should all reject.’’
The President described the late premier as an honest, responsible person who dedicated his life to the service of humanity.
He added that “the lesson is that when you lead with honesty and integrity in the service of humanity, the society never forgets you even if you leave no wealth behind.’’
Buhari then challenged Nigerians to unite in harnessing the talents of the diversed people of the country “to push our country to all the heights it can attain.
“From independent till date, the world spoke of Nigeria’s potential; it is time to harness the potential and transform them into accomplishments.
“We have to build skills, simplify access to capital, provide security and strengthen law enforcement because anything less will amount to paying lip service to the examples set by Sir Ahmadu Bello of blessed memory.’’
The President noted that the country found itself in very precarious situation, including poverty, insecurity, poor infrastructure, high unemployment, declining education and frightening healthcare indices.
He urged public officers across board to work with utmost sincerity toward improved productivity and transparency.
“Let us serve our people diligently and unite the country; do our utmost to secure it and inspire our people to creativity and development.
“That was what Sir Ahmadu Bello did all his life and expected us all to do same to take the country to greater heights.’
The President’s speech was read by Governor Nasir El-Rufai.