President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the implementation of the National Conference report would ensure enduring peace and unity of Nigeria, even as he promised that his administration would ensure that no Nigerian is discriminated against no matter where they reside in the country, when re-elected.
The President, who spoke on Saturday February 28, 2015 at Asaba, during a historic rally organized by Northerners resident in the seventeen states of the southern part of the country under the auspices of ‘Arewa Initiative for Peaceful Co-existence In Southern Nigeria’, also decried discrimination against Nigerians not resident in their states of origin.
A very composed President Jonathan, who expressed his appreciation to the organizers of the rally, which was also to endorse him as their sole Presidential candidate for the for March 28, 2015, elections, disclosed that the confab report has recommendations designed to resolve the major issues of unity and togetherness in Nigeria, stressing that he was determined to implement it completely to ensure the unity of the country.
According to the President, “The issue of peaceful development is key to all society; without peace, we cannot grow, we have key roles to play to ensure that Nigerians are united. Nigerians should conduct their businesses peacefully wherever they live, we should not discriminate among ourselves.”
Speaking further, the President said, “If you vote for us, we will implement the confab report 100 per cent. We believe Nigeria is one indivisible nation, I believe we should do what is right for all Nigerians. In the next four years, we must make sure we develop our people, we will make sure we create wealth for our people, not to divide them based on ethnic or religious lines.”
President Jonathan, while taking a swipe at those who almost frustrated the confab, but were now posturing as advocates of a united Nigeria, further said that: “It is only a peaceful heart that can bring change to the country, you cannot be angry and effect peaceful change, we must not allow certain politicians to divide us, if we compartmentalize ourselves, we have destroyed what God has given us. Moslems and Christians must see themselves as one.”
The President who thanked the northerners for endorsing him as their sole candidate for the elections told the massive crowd that: “There is no person that will become President of Nigeria without the support of all Nigerians; he will not enjoy the office because of the diversity of the country.”
He noted that the decision to cite Almajiri Schools in the Northern part of the country was to further enhance the Islamic education proficiency of the children in those areas, who were already well versed in the Koran, with western education, and make more prepared educationally to compete with the rest of the country as equal citizens of one nation.
Justifying his decision to build new Universities across the country, President Jonathan affirmed that the desire of his administration was to ensure that no area of the nation was discriminated against in the quest to provide quality education to all parts of the country and promised that he was poised to continue to ensure that no body and no area was discriminated against in Nigeria, when re-elected for a second term.
Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan in his own comments, at the occasion, described the rally as “a celebration of unity, celebration of ethnic tolerance and celebration of one Nigeria under the leadership of a peaceful and peace-loving President Goodluck Jonathan.”
The Governor enjoined Nigerians to re-elect President Jonathan because he was effectively tackling the challenges of the country, also enjoined the people to make sure they have their voters card and to vote the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on March 28 and April 11, 2015 elections.
“We need to bring back our President and we need our permanent voters’ cards to enable us vote for our President,” Uduaghan said.
The grand patron of the Arewa Initiative for Peaceful Co-existence in Southern Nigeriam and initiator of the endorsement rally for President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, disclosed that the idea behind the initiative was “to galvanize northerners in the southern part of the country to have a voice in the affairs of the country.”
Alhaji Bafarawa, who was a former governor of Sokoto State stated that the more than ten million northerners who are in the southern part of Nigeria would cast their votes for President Jonathan, in recognition of the good works and dividends of democracy the President has brought to Northerners both in the North and in other states.
In their own comments, the Co-ordinator of the event, Alhaji Musa Saidu and the Special Assistant to Governor Uduaghan on Non Indigenes Affairs (Hausa Community), hailed President Goodluck Jonathan for his de-tribalized nature and, while praising Governor Uduaghan for providing a peaceful environment for their existence, including giving them a sense of belonging, by appointing one of them as Special Adviser, pledged their full support to the re-election of President Jonathan so that they can continue to enjoy the peaceful and harmonious co-existence they have been privileged to have in the states they reside.
Others who spoke at the epoch making occasion include the Director-General of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization, Dr Amadu Ali, as well as other top Northern opinion leaders from across the Southern states in the coutry, all of whom assured the President of their votes to enable him implement the recommendations of the national conference which they stated, would usher in a more united, peaceful and developed Nigeria.
Highpoint of the occasion was the verbal endorsement of President Jonathan by the leaders of the Northern residents in all the Southern States of the country.
Below are more photos of the historic event.