President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday asserted that Nigeria is still lucky to remain a country because the challenges it faced could have torn it apart.
“We are a lucky country and should congratulate ourselves, despite challenges that could have torn us apart,” he said at the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday while receiving the report of the National Security Summit held on May 26, 2021, by the House of Representatives.
A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) informed that the report was submitted by a team of House members, led by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
President Buhari urged leaders to respect the people, from the lowest to the highest, “so that it becomes a duty to them (the people) to pay back to the leadership.”
According to him, respect for the people should come in allowing them “to choose who they like as their leaders, irrespective of political party or religion.”
Describing the event as “a remarkable occasion,” President Buhari restated his determination to serve the country to the best of his ability, recalling his visits to the 36 States during the campaign for the 2019 elections.
The President said: “The number of people that turned out to see me, some waiting for 10 hours in the sun, was more than anyone could buy, or force. They just wanted to see who this Buhari was. People wonder why Nigerians accept me, despite not being rich. I wonder, too. I felt I just have to serve Nigeria and Nigerians to the best of my ability.”
Commending the 9th National Assembly for its cooperation with the Executive, he said he tried very hard to get the 8th Assembly to do same for the sake of the country, “and I didn’t succeed much. But time has proved me right.”
In his remarks, Mr Gbajabiamila thanked the President for endorsing the security summit conducted by the House, adding: “You were part of it from the very beginning, and you were to have declared it open, if not for the exigencies of duty.”
The Speaker said the summit became imperative after lawmakers were bombarded daily by their constituents on the security challenges facing the country, “and motions after motions were moved by the lawmakers.”
A committee of 50 lawmakers, across party, religious and ethnic lines, he said, was set up to plan the summit, “and Mr President was very eager and enthusiastic about it, showing the importance you place on security.”
Mr Gbajabiamila said the report was a product of inputs by traditional rulers, scholars, independent thinkers, and security chiefs, noting that it contains seven recommendations that require legislative action, and about 19 that will be implemented by the Executive.
The Speaker submitted: “Thank you Mr President for what you have done so far to douse tension and for Nigeria to remain one. It’s about all of us, not just the Executive, the legislature or the judiciary. And Nigeria will work, by the grace of God.”
Speaking to correspondents after the meeting with the president, the Speaker said part of the recommendations of the report was to establish zonal development commissions.
“There are several recommendations. We’ve agreed to establish zonal commissions in all the zones like the North East Development Commission. We’ll have the Southwest, we’ll have the South-South, we’ll have the Southeast, we’ll have the Northwest, and that goes a long way in resolving issues, regional and zonal issues,” he said.
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