By Chidi Nkwopara – Owerri
Those peddling the rumour that the South East is disunited have been advised to think of better things to say because Ndigbo has the highest stake in Nigeria.
Governor Hope Uzodimma gave the advice, weekend when he played host to the Coalition of Northern Groups in Government House, Owerri.
His words: “What is rather 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, doing their businesses and helping to improve the lot of the people there.
“As result, if there is anybody who needs peace and unity of the country, Ndigbo needs 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 businesses.”
While describing the group as “one determined to reinvigorate the dreams of Nigeria’s founding fathers”, Uzodimma also urged Nigerians to support them in their efforts towards strengthening the unity and peace of the country.
The Governor commended the group for not limiting their peaceful crusade to their area but opted to reach out to the leaders and youth groups in other zones of the federation.
“Let me use this opportunity to challenge every reasonable Nigerian, who believes in the Nigerian project, to develop an interest in whatever that will allow for national unity, national integration and national cohesion”, Uzodimma said.
He assured that “the Northern communities in the Southeast and Imo State, in particular, are safe, secure and properly protected.”
Although the Governor acknowledged that “there may be occasional issues that are capable of provoking one group or the other”, he, however, added that 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.
In an address read by the group’s spokesman, Abdul Azeez Suleiman, the group 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 in and prosper with them.
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 united them above the ones that divided 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.