Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
Amid growing calls for secession, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, says Nigerians who preach unity will overcome those calling for secession.
Symington said this in a speech at an event held in commemoration of the 241st anniversary of American independence in Abuja on Thursday.
The US envoy said his country and Nigeria shared many similarities, most notably, diversity.
He said the first American President, George Washington, had warned that those who seek to weaken a country would always seek to start by causing disunity.
Symington said, just like America, Nigeria would remain a united country because of its determined people and leaders.
He said, “Every time we have been challenged, we overcame danger because we had visionary leaders committed to union and citizens committed to ensuring justice for all.
“Today, Nigeria is fortunate to have such leaders and citizens. Together, they are dedicated to keeping Nigeria united and just and to ensuring every Nigerian is heard and taken into account and treated fairly.
“Together, those Nigerians will overpower any call to divide this nation.
United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington
“Thanks to them, thanks to you, the lamp of unity and justice burns brightly both in our nations tonight. And the sight of a united Nigeria’s light lifts Africa and with it, the world.”
The US envoy said Nigeria’s diversity is an inspiration to many countries.
He said that, just like the US, Nigeria’s plurality was a source of strength.
Symington added, “Wherever I meet a Nigerian, I ask ‘What do you like the most about your country?’ I like our diversity, our resilience, our energy, our warmth, our spirit, our food.’
“Just like the United States, Nigeria is a wonderfully diverse nation whose differences and diversity are sources of strength and reason for pride.”