President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said his decision to visit Ebonyi State in the South-East geopolitical zone was an indication that he believed in the unity of the country. This is as the President once again reiterated his resolve to fulfil all the promises he made to Ndigbo when he met with their leaders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. President Buhari arrived army barracks, Nkwagu in Abakaliki in a helicopter, NAF 540, from Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, at about 11:20 am, accompanied by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.
Speaking after being conferred with the chieftaincy title of ‘Ochi Oha’ (the people’s general or leader of the people) by South East traditional rulers, Buhari said his presence in the area showed his strong belief in the unity of the country.
Buhari who was visiting the South-East for the first time since he assumed office in 2015, said: “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. When I met with the leaders of the South East in Abuja last month, they raised several issues of concern, including the state of the roads and infrastructure in the region.”
Buhari reiterated his commitment to deliver on his promises, including addressing issues of agriculture, power and social services in the zone, adding that the 2018 budget captured strategic areas such as power, road and other social services.
The president commended Governor David Umahi for his warm reception and his commitment to the development of the state.
He said: “I am delighted to be here in Abakaliki to interact with the good people of Ebonyi State and indeed the South-East region as a whole. I want to express my gratitude to the people of Ebonyi State for their hospitality and warm reception since I arrived the state.
“I will like to commend Governor Umahi for his vision and commitment to the development of this state. Some of the projects I commissioned since my arrival are laudable. I am also grateful to the traditional rulers of Ebonyi State for the honour bestowed on me with the traditional title of Enyi Oha 1. I thank you for this honour and warm reception.
“I want to assure you that we will deliver on our promises. Our 2018 budget included many projects for the region in the area of power, agriculture and social services.”
Large crowd welcomes him
When he landed Enugu yesterday moring, President Buhari was received by over 5,000 persons who grounded Akanu Ibiam airport, in his first official visit to the zone since his assumption of office over two years ago.
The Presidential jet 5N-FGT, touched down at exactly 10:30 a.m. at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for the two-day working visit to Ebonyi and Anambra States. Buhari, who came out of his jet at 10:42 a.m. was full of cheers as he cheered thousands of Nigerians who came to welcome him.
The President, after a brief exchange with some governors of the zone, took some minutes of salute from a Presidential Guard-of-Honour mounted in his honour by a joint Army and Air Force personnel at the airport arena.
Later, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State thanked the President for making a brief stop-over to greet Nigerians living in Enugu State.
He said: “I am overwhelmed with joy over the show of love and solidarity of Enugu residents to our admirable and loving President as he visits the South-East, which Enugu State is the capital.”