Three state governors, Wednesday, urged Nigerians to see their country’s diversity as a source of strength and greatness.
Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) and Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) stated this in separate speeches at the annual Ojude-Oba festival in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
They said citizens should not be interested in disunity of the country, but utilize the country’s diversity “for the good and progress of Nigeria”.
Mr. Amosun urged the nation’s leaders to emulate the Awujale of Ijebuland, Sikiru Adetona, who has used religion and culture to forge unity among his subjects.
He also commended the Ijebu people for making Ogun State unique with the Ojude Oba festival.
“One sees the love, tenacity and determination of the Ijebu people to showcase their rich cultural heritage and tradition,” the governor said.
“It is not where one comes from or religion that should count but one’s diligent service. We should emulate Kabiyesi’s ability to forge unity among his people, despite different religions. We should live in togetherness, love and harmony not only in Ogun State but also in Nigeria,” he added.
Mr. El-Rufai described the festival as an “incredible event” and lauded the Awujale for his leadership in sustaining it as an annual event.
“I came here not as governor, not as guest of Governor Amosun or as a member of All Progressives Congress. I’m here because Awujale is my father, a man of great wisdom, unparalleled courage and integrity.
“Throughout my public service and exile, he was a true father to me. He advised and even supported me financially. I know the dream of Ijebu State is close to your heart and one can pray for your long life to see Ijebu State come to pass,” he said.
Mr. Dickson, in his own remarks urged Nigeria to find a way to export the Ojude Oba to the rest the world through cultural tourism.
The Bayelsa State governor, who is a descendant of a princess from one of the ruling houses in Ijebu – Ode, said Nigeria should leverage her diversity for greatness.
Mr. Adetona in his speech said the festival has continued to gain local and global attention every year.
An estimated 25,000 people attended the festival where over 35 age-grade groups took turns to pay homage to the monarch.