The Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has debunked orchestrated rumours in some quarters that the South East is disunited or that the Igbo have problems, saying such stories are perceptions that are not true.
Rather, the governor said what is true and incontrovertibly correct is that “the Igbo have the highest stake in Nigeria” because there is no community anywhere in the country you cannot find Igbo people living there, and doing their businesses and helping to improve the lot of the people their.
“As result, if there is anybody who needs peace and unity of the country, the Igbo need it most because it is only when the country is united and are living in peace that the Northerners in the South and the Southerners in the North will prosper under an enabling environment and a very convivial atmosphere to do their business,” Governor Uzodimma said.
Governor Uzodimma took the positions at the weekend when he received the Coalition of Northern Groups who paid him a courtesy call at the Government House Owerri.
The Governor described the group as one determined to reinvigorate the dreams of Nigeria’s founding fathers and called for support to them in their efforts towards strengthening the unity and peace of our country.
He commended them for not limiting their sermon for peace in their domain, but reached out to the leaders and their youth groups in other zones of the federation like the South to preach the same sermon.
The governor challenged every reasonable Nigerian, who believes in the Nigerian project to develop interest in whatever that will allow for national unity, national integration and national cohesion.
He also seized the opportunity to assure the group that under his watch, the Government of Imo State will protect human rights, such as allowing people to go about their businesses without fear or favour, irrespective of tribe, ethnic group, religion or even political affiliation that one belongs. He emphasized that “the Northern communities in the Southeast and Imo State in particular are safe, secure and properly protected.”
Governor Uzodimma reiterated that Nigeria is a federation with Imo State as a federating unit and that under his leadership he will do things that are consistent with the grundnum of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended.
He advised the group to go home with the good news that Imo State has a leadership that is interested in making sure that the unity of Nigeria is not compromised, that the leadership of Nigeria is supported under the platform of clear justice, equity and fairness.
Though the Governor acknowledged that there may be things here and there capable of provoking one group or the other, but in the spirit of quality leadership and wisdom, the loose ends could be tightened and those things that will strengthen our resolve to live together as a united indivisible country encouraged.
Governor Uzodimma gave them a parting word: “So unity is important, justice is very important, equity is important, coexistence is supreme”.
In an address read by the group’s spokesman, Abdul Azeez Suleiman, they said they are in Imo State to interface with the leadership of all Northern communities in South Eastern Nigeria as part of their mobilization strategies to involve every significant component of Northern society in the vision of a united North, a region with space for every northerner and every Nigerian who seeks to live with and prosper with them.
He said they recognize the statesmanship of Governor Uzodimma in working hard to build a state where a citizen is safe and secure wherever he or she chooses to live and work, evidenced in the Governor’s support for Northerners and other Nigerians to benefit from Imo State’s tolerance and accommodation.
They recalled the days of Nigeria’s founding fathers like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and wished Nigerians will remember mostly those things that unite them above the ones that divide them.
They also urged their Northern brothers to cultivate the belief and practice of peaceful co-existence by continuing to protect the rights of other Nigerians living among them.