Amid cry of neglect, alleged marginalisation and discrimination against people of the South East of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari was on Monday conferred with two Igbo Chieftaincy titles.
While he was given the title, “Ochi Oha Ndigbo”, meaning the leader of all in Igboland, by the South East Traditional Rulers, the Chieftaincy title “Enyi Oma 1” of Ebonyi State (number one good friend of Ebonyi State) was conferred on him by the State Traditional Council.
The President was also given 2,000 bags of 25kg of Ebonyi rice, 2,000 tubers of yam and a white horse that signifies strength by the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi at the State Executive Council chamber, Abakaliki.
He met with the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, former governors of the state, the deputy governor, founding fathers of the state, speaker of the House of Assembly, Chairman and Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Ebonyi State chapter, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, and the State Traditional Council at the Council chamber, government house.
President Buhari 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.
He 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 titles, Buhari said his presence in the area showed his strong belief in the unity of the country.
His visit was the first to the region since he assumed office in 2015.
He 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 noted: “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”, he said.