President Muhammadu Buhari has urged political leaders to remain focused on the ultimate goal of advancing the interests of the country, stating that Nigeria cannot afford another civil war.
Buhari made the announcement on Tuesday in Abuja, while meeting with former state chairmen of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
The President stated that the self-centeredness that led to the loss of about a million lives between 1967-1970 must not be allowed to repeat itself, stressing that the CPC was founded on the bedrock of patriotism and loyalty to the unity of Nigeria.
“I don’t think there can be any practical experience more than that. We are Nigerians, God willing we remain Nigerians and Nigeria will remain one,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
“Our main objective is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are human beings. We have our weaknesses, but I can assure you that the patriotism in us is hard-earned. We have gone through all the troubles from the 15th of January 1966 to date. You know what I mean by this, we have killed a million of ourselves in order to keep this country together.”
While asking all members of the defunct CPC and political leaders to always be mindful of the larger picture by working towards preserving the unity, peace and integrity of the nation, Buhari thanked them for the merger that led to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He added, “I am delighted to welcome the forum of State Chairmen of the former Congress for Progressives Change to State House today. I accord great significance to this visit as it demonstrates a determination and commitment to identify with our administration.
“This visit recalls the solidarity with the successes that we have recorded in critical areas of our society. The visit also affords us the opportunity to discuss other issues of interest to the forum.
“I commend members of this forum and all members of the legacy party-CPC, for their continued dedication to the ideals of democratic governance that we all believed in.
“The doggedness with which we pursued our vision and goals that culminated into the success we recorded remain like bright stars in the history of our dear nation.”
Describing the President as the “Patriarch of the CPC”, the Chairman of the Forum and former Chairman of the party in Niger State, Umar Shuaibu, said the party had maintained all its structures across the country.
He assured President Buhari of their loyalty, especially in the forthcoming elections.
Shuaibu commended the President for providing strong leadership over the years, particularly in remaining balanced, fair and above board in electoral issues.
“Before you, the opposition was arrested and maltreated, but it is no longer so,” he said. “You did not deny them what they denied you when they were in power.”