President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday reiterated his belief in the unity of the country.
He spoke in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, when he paid a one-day visit to the state.
Mr. Buhari, who is visiting the region for the first time since he became president, said the diversity of the country makes it unique in the committee of nations.
“My presence here today is a demonstration of my strong belief in the unity of Nigeria. As the most populous country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups, our diversity is almost unique among the nations,” he said.
He assured the people of South-east of his administration’s commitment to execute projects that will lead to the fast-tracking of development in the region.
According to him, in keeping with his promise to South-east leaders, the 2018 budget which he recently presented to the National Assembly, captured many projects in the zone.
“When I met with leaders of the South-east last month in Abuja, they raised several issues of concern including the state of roads in the region. I want to assure you that we will deliver on our promise. Our 2018 budget include many strategic projects for the region in roads, power, agriculture and social sector,” the president said.
Earlier, Governor David Umahi said the state was appreciative of the president’s support especially in agriculture.
He, however, appealed to the president for reimburse the state for its spending on the repairs of federal roads in the state.
A former governor of the state, Sam Egwu, commended the president for the recent decision to pay former Biafra police officers’ pensions.
“Such an act of accommodation is what translates a mere leader to a great father of the Nation,” he said.
The president was later conferred with a chieftaincy title of Ezienyi Oma (Good Friend) of Ebonyi State.
Mr. Buhari landed at the training field of the Nkwagu Military Cantonment at about 11:15 a.m. in a Nigeria Air Force Helicopter with the registration number NAF-540.
He was received at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, by governors of the South-east led by Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, from where he was airlifted in an helicopter to Abakaliki,the Ebonyi State capital.
President Buhari was received on arrival in Ebonyi by the deputy governor of the state, Kelechi Igwe; Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; former governors of Ebonyi State, Sam Egwu and Martin Elechi; former Senate President, Pius Anyim; former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Frank Ogbuewu; former Minister of Health (State), Fidelis Nwankwo; former deputy governor of the state, Chigozie Ogbu; Zonal Vice Chairman of PDP, Austine Umahi; CEO Orient Global Ltd, Chukwuma Odi, among others.
He inaugurated projects including the 14.5 kilometre Abakaliki-Afikpo federal highway reconstructed by the state government, two new overhead bridges along the Afikpo-Enugu highway.
He also performed the ground breaking for the new tunnel named after him to be constructed by the state government.