All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Sunday said only unity can foster peace, national integration and stability in the country.
He noted that the current turmoil in Nigeria is being aggravated by soci-economic and political challenges, which must be tackled by concerted efforts and unity of purpose.
Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State, reflected on the state of the nation when he visited the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero, in his palace.
The eminent politician left Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State, where he chaired the yearly ‘Arewa House’ Lecture, for Kano, where a colloquium is being organised today to mark his 69th birthday.
He was accompanied by fomer APC Interim National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Pius Akinyelure, former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Nuhu Ribadu, and his media adviser, Tunde Rahman.
To enhance integration, he said Kano and Lagos states have roles to play because of their cosmopolitan and tolerant nature. He also acknowledged the role of traditional rulers in peace building process.
Tinubu expressed optimism that the country can excel, if Nigerians unite and make a positive change, irrespective of their tribes, religions and political affiliation.
He said: “Nigeria is going through difficult times, especially through challenges of insecurity and other tough times. Yet, there can be no development and industrial growth in the country in the absence of peace and stability.
“Kano has enjoyed stability and peace, despite the challenges in Nigeria. The governors of Kano and Lagos states have promoted unity and sustained one Nigeria in the face of differences. We must commend them”.
Acknowledging that security challenges are almost bringing the nation to it’s knees, Tinubu maintained that: “Kano and Lagos, which possess common population densities and hold economic growth, must lead other parts of the country towards a peaceful mission.”
He added: “Nigeria is at a critical stage of its life and the only thing that can make it survive is unity, peace and understanding. Lagos and Kano states, which have come through these over times, must lead and show the way.
“Peace and development will elude Nigeria if the country continues the way it is going. Fundamentally, peace and unity must be the hope to ride on.
“One could see that today, I am sitting side by side with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and this is a clear testimony that people, regardless of their tribes and religions, could come together and make a change.
“Use us as a symbol and make a difference; what Lagos and Kano have been doing together all these while. Nigerians should see unity in us and make the country great.”
Ganduje, who led the former Lagos state governor to the emir, informed the monarch that he was in Kano for a special visit to the emirate, “for national cohesion, to see the modest development in the state and attend his colloquium.”
He said: “Every year, on his birthday, Tinubu organises colloquium, where national issues are discussed by prominent Nigerians. This shows how concerned he is about the development of this country.
“Thus, we are in your palace because Tinubu finds it necessary to pay homage on you who is the chief custodian of culture and religion of the people of Kano state.”
Paying tribute to the former Emir of Kano and father of the current emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, Tinubu said “the culture, value and good character of Ado Bayero still visible for all.
The emir commended Tinubu for attending the Arewa House Lecture where he gave a thought-provoking speech on the state of the nation.
The emir said: “This shows how patriotic you are. In the last five years, I attended similar colloquia in Lagos. We saw how you (Tinubu) were going round places. You are indeed a unifying factor.”
Tinubu also inaugurated the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission complex.
The office was set up to fight graft in the state.
Acknowledging the importance of the anti-corruption battle, Tinubu said: “Nigerians and a lot of us who are looking forward to accountability and a corruption-free prosperous Nigeria and Africa, are dedicated to that objective.”
Ganduje told Tinubu that before he came on board, the institution could only achieve a little.
He said: “We then appointed a very vibrant human rights activist, whose pedigree for human rights and freedom was enough reason for his achievements, to chair the agency.”
He promised that his administration would continue to support the anti-graft body for effective and efficient operations. He said: “The leadership of the body is doing well and is capable of moving the commission forward.”