Stuart Symington, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, has called on Nigerians to resist the temptation to divide the country, describing Nigeria as a country whose unity lifts Africa and the rest of the world.
“The sight of a United Nigeria’s light lifts Africa, and with it, the World,” Symington stated in Abuja on Thursday in a speech to celebrate the 241st anniversary of American independence.
He compared US to Nigeria, saying “I’m reminded, however, that, throughout the history of the U.S., the diversity we prize, and share with Nigerians, has been a source of tension and, at times, even a challenge to our union.
“George Washington warned that those who sought to weaken and defeat us would first attack our unity of government, and Abraham Lincoln made preserving the union his life’s work.”
He said the US overcame the challenge of diversity because it had visionary leaders who were committed to union and citizens committed to ensuring justice for all.
Symington said Nigeria is now fortunate to have such leaders and citizens who were dedicated to keeping Nigeria united
He emphasised the need to ensure that every Nigerian is heard and taken into account and treated fairly.
“This is crucial; every one of you is crucial. Together those Nigerians will overpower any call to divide this Nation. Thanks to them, thanks to you, the lamp of unity and justice burns brightly in both our nations tonight.
“Whenever I meet a Nigerian, I ask, ‘What do you like the most about your country?’ The invariable reply, from more than a thousand Nigerians, is ‘I like the Nigerian people’, ‘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.”