L-R Atiku Abubakar of Kebbi, Simon Dalong of Plateau, Aminu Bello Masari of Kastina, Host Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Kashim shettima of Borno and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state during the visit of Northern state Governors Forum Delegation to Abia state……
• Ikpeazu for his statesmanship
• We believe in the indivisibility of Nigeria
FIVE Northern governors visited Umuahia, the Abia State capital with a special message for the governor of Abia State and the people of the state.
The governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashmi Shettima, who spoke for the delegation, told the Abia State governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu Monday that the northern people and their governors “still believe in the indivisibility of Nigeria, hence we still have strong faith in Nigeria, nothing can divide us.”
Shettima, who is also the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, hailed Ikpeazu for displaying exceptional leadership and rising to the occasion regarding the challenge posed by the IPOB, which had necessitated the Military exercise Operation Python Dance II, and saved the nation from impending doom.
Leading the four other governors Rt Hon Aminu Maisari (Katsina), Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Rt Hon Solomon Lalong (Plateau) and Atiku Abubakar Bagoro of (Kebbi), Shettima told Ikpeazu: “We are here to show solidarity. We have a moral obligation to ensure that Nigeria remains one. Nigeria is the largest conglomeration of black people in Africa, and we cannot afford to separate.
“We are not separating from Nigeria. If we separate where do we go? North is the Sahara Desert and Chad cannot contain us. If we go South, it is the Atlantic Ocean. The South is too small for us and the mountains of East Africa with their so many challenges cannot accommodate us. Thank you for rising to the occasion, Nigerians are better as one.”
Said Shettima: “I am here with Northern Governors who respect and promote the unity of the country, Nigeria.
“We, the leaders have a role to play in bringing about peace and stability in this nation. We are here to show support and solidarity in the kind of leadership exhibited by our brother Governor in times of crisis and conflict, he rose to the challenges of leadership.”
He noted that the Northern Governors are proud of the Igbo, whom he described as African Jews and extolled their enterprising abilities.
Shettima said: “Our brothers from the South-East can come to any part of the North to stay and do their business as nobody has the right to drive away any Nigerian from any part of the country.”
Noting that the delegation had visited Rivers State and also delivered the same message on the stand of the North, he added: “We want the South East Governors to reciprocate this visit by visiting the flash points to assure your people residing there of their safety in the North as we have assured you of the safety of your people residing in the North.”
An elated Ikpeazu thanked the delegation for the visit and assured of the safety of northerners in the South East under their watch.
Ikpeazu, who said he was humbled by the solidarity and the camaraderie that exist among the Nigerian Governors Forum said: “Your visit has demonstrated that the string that bind us together is strong and we will remain one and not allow an infinitesimal minority to tear us apart.
“I am delighted by this show of solidarity by our brothers from the North. When this crisis started I asked (myself) what will my brother governors in the North do?
“I assure that the security of all Abia residents both indigenes are non-indigenes are guaranteed.”
Explaining how the ill intention of those who decided to threaten the peace of the state had failed, he urged the moslem community in the state to go about their business as the cordial relationship between the Igbo and their Northern brothers will not die.
“Normalcy had returned to Abia, Muslims peacefully had their worship in mosques on Friday. We will not allow a few agitators to divide Nigeria. We cannot allow a few agitators to separate us.”
At the end of their meeting with Ikpeazu, the visiting governors at the Government House Banquet Hall addressed the northern communities resident in the state in Hausa language.