By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Nigeria’s erstwhile military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd), has tasked the Igbo speaking stock in the country and in diaspora to use their numerical strength, wealth, intellectual prowess and skills to advance the oneness of Nigeria.
The former Military General said Igbos have great stakes in the polity called Nigeria and must therefore continue to allow their positive impacts to be felt amongst their host communities anywhere they find themselves across the country.
He charged them to always work towards promoting the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria because according to him, “there is greater gain in being together as one”.
Babangida spoke at his Hilltop residence in Minna at the weekend while receiving the Igbo Delegates Assembly, (IDA) of the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The entourage were led on the visit by it’s President, Chief Chikezie Okezie and the Eze Igbo of Minna, Eze Pampas Ngozi Wahiwe.
The former military General stressed that at this critical stage of Nigeria’s match to greatness, all Nigerians without exception, should ensure that we all uphold the ideals of Nigeria’s founding fathers.
“Together, we must all stand and remain” he emphasized adding that “an indivisible Nigeria is very necessary and we must do everything possible to remain as one family though we may differ in tribes and tongue”.
Babangida who sermonized extensively to his visitors, commended the Igbo speaking extraction for their strong will, character and adaptability as well as for being very enterprising and determined to succeed by penetrating into the interior parts of the country for business exploits.
He charged them to see Nigeria as a compelling project even as he enjoined all Igbos to use same spirit of enterprise to promote peaceful co-existence amongst all Nigerians.
He told his guests that he had always craved the wish to spend part of his life in the eastern parts of the country for his undying love for the region and its people.
Babangida used the opportunity of the visit by the leadership of the Igbo assembly to remind Nigerians that the unity and the indivisibility of Nigeria remains non negotiable even as he insisted that “every Nigerian must promote our collective co-existence as one people, one country’.
General Babangida commended all Igbos for maintaining the country’s common identity. “You have done well to keep Nigeria together” Babangida said even as he expressed appreciation to the leadership of the Ndigbo in the country and the delegation to his house for the visit.
He noted that worldwide, the Igbo man is known to have the zeal, the will and potentials for traveling far away from his home to explore other climes and new frontiers for business opportunities.
The delegation had earlier told General Babangida that they were in his house to congratulate him on his 78th Birthday. They prayed for longevity of life and good health to the former leader.
“May God continue to grant you strength and wisdom so that you can continue to offer your advice that would help Nigeria to solve some of our hydra headed problems” the leader of the delegation prayed further.
Both the President of the IDA, Chikezie Nwogu and the Eze Igbo of Minna, Pampas Ngozi Wahiwe separately described Babangida as an astute statesman, a quintessential leader and noted that Nigeria needs Babangida’s wise counseling especially at this point in our national life”.