The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged all Nigerians, regardless of ethnic or religious backgrounds, to live in unity with one another for a stronger, better nation.
Gbajabila spoke in Lagos on Saturday at the “New Year Luncheon” he organised for members of the Igbo communities in his Surulere 1 Constituency.
He said the dreams and aspirations of the country`s founding fathers would be realised if all citizens put their differences aside and work in unity for the progress of the nation.
“Nigeria will be a better place if all Hausas, Ibos, Yorubas and the other ethnic groups see ourselves as brothers and work together for the peace and development of the country.
“Our being together in one country is not by accident; it is for a purpose. We must therefore support one another and strive towards achieving that purpose of a stronger, more prosperous nation,“ he said.
The Majority leader said the greatness Lagos, particularly his constituency, had attained was mainly because of its multi-cultural status and the contributions of people from diverse backgrounds.
He said the question of where people came from was fast becoming irrelevant as non-Yoruba speaking people were holding political positions in the state with some wielding great economic powers.
Gbajabiamila described the Igbos as economically strong and politically sagacious, saying they were a force to reckon with in the affairs of the state.
“The Igbos are very important to Lagos because they are part of the state`s development as they control a substantial chunk of its economy. “But they have also shown us during the last elections that not only were they economically strong, they were also politically important as a couple of them contested and won some seats.
“In fact, if the All Progressives Congress (APC) had not lost some House of Representatives seats, a couple to some Igbos, I would have emerged Speaker, because their votes would have counted“ he said.
The Majority Leader said he orgainsed the luncheon for their consistent support for him and to appeal for continued support for better representation.
He said he and the party would continue to carry the Igbos and all others along in scheme of things not only in the constituency but also in the state.
Also speaking, Mr Joe Igbokwe, Publicity Secretary, Lagos APC, commended Gbajabiamila for organising the luncheon for the Igbos in his constituency. He said his gesture had shown that the APC was a party that recognised the need to carry everyone along for a better society.
Igbokwe urged Igbo residents in the state to continue to live peacefully with their host and to do more for the state`s development.
“Our people say, ‘where you live, you have to make it look good.’ I urge my brothers in Lagos to continue to partner the state government to make the state a better place,“ he said.
Mr Obulesi Phillips, Chairman, South Eastern Forum, advocated more inclusion of Igbos in the political affairs of the state. He argued that Igbos had been age-long development partners of the state and so should be allowed more participation in its politics.