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Arewa Endorses President Jonathan



by Musa Abdullahi

President Goodluck Jonathan in Asaba on Saturday urged Nigerians to remain united and not allow politicians to divide the country on ethnic or religious lines.

The President said this at the Solidarity and Endorsement Rally held in his honour in Asaba by the Arewa Initiative for Peaceful Co-existence in Southern Nigeria.

The group comprised no fewer than 10 million people of northern exraction resident in the 17 southern states of Nigeria.

According to the President, Nigeria is bigger than any person and all should do everything to keep the country one. “Nigeria is one country, one people, whether you are a Muslim or a Christian you are a Nigerian and people respect Nigeria because of our diversity.

“We have over 250 ethnic groups with two major religions: Islam and Christianity; and they are living in peace and that is what makes us strong. That is what attracts respect to Nigerians and we must not allow anybody, any politician, to divide us.

“The Muslim and Christian youths must see themselves primarily as Nigerian youths. They must work together to project the interest of this country; they must work together for the future of this country.

“They must work together to ensure economic growth and development of this country and they must work together to ensure peace.
“You must not allow politicians to use the youths to create division among ourselves,” he said.

The President criticized the discrimination against non-indigenes residents in some states in the country saying that such practices must stop.
According to him, his administration will fully implement the decisions of the National Conference to address many discriminatory practices in the society, if re-elected.

He said his administration had set up a committee of governors from the six geo political zones to address residency problems but its work was truncated by the division in the Governors Forum.

He said the conference’s decisions would bring about rapid changes in the country.

He charged the people to support his re-election bid to enable him to implement the report. “It is only PDP that can bring about change in this country. Support PDP to implement the report of the conference to bring about change.

“The only thing that can bring about enduring change in this country is the implementation of that report,” he said.

Jonathan said that those clamouring for change were the same people that boycotted the conference and wondered how they intended to bring about change in the country

He said that the PDP believes in one Nigeria and anyone trying to divide the country will not enjoy the office of President.

He said that Nigeria must protect its diversity and every Nigerian should be free to live in and participate in the political process of his place of domicile.
“If we compartmentalize into ethnic nationalities then we have destroyed what God has given to us.”

He thanked the Arewa for the endorsement and for initiating the peace movement for the growth of the country.

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta said some southern states had removed discriminatory policies against non- indigenes and promised that President Jonathan would compel other states to follow suit when re-elected.

Earlier, former Gov. Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State, Chairman of the occasion, said the Arewa group was a unique organisation with unique objectives centred on curbing discrimination against non-indigenes.

“Nigeria is a country where children born in Nigeria are denied their rights and privileges in their places of birth because they are classified as non-indigenes.”

He said government must do something to stop that and that the group believed that only the Jonathan administration could guarantee such freedoms.

He said the Arewa group was duty bound to let their colleagues know the good works already done by President Jonathan for them to re-elect him.

He said there was need for integration by making Arewa people part of the political process of the south.

He said they should enjoy scholarship, employment and security and should not be discriminated against in tax policies of government.
Bafarawa told the people to vote for Jonathan in the next election as “he is our best bet for 2015.”

“This is the time to pay back to the South South for the numerous supports the North had got from the people in the past.”

Hajia Mariam Abdulrahman, leader of the Arewa community in Delta, Alhaji Awwalu Tukur, Special Adviser to Uduaghan, and Alhaji Musa Saidu, all representatives of Arewa, praised Jonathan for his transformation agenda.

They also promised to re-elect him for a second term.

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