By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday praised the resilience of Nigeria to remain a united entity.
The President spoke at State House, Abuja, while receiving the report of the National Security Summit held on May 26, by the House of Representatives. The report was submitted by a team of House members, led by the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
He said: “We are a lucky country and should congratulate ourselves, despite challenges that could have torn us apart.”
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, President Buhari urged leaders to respect the people, from the lowest to the highest, “so that it becomes a duty to them (the people) to pay back to the leadership.”
He said the respect for people should manifest in allowing them “to choose who they like as their leaders, irrespective of political party or religion.”
Describing the event as “a remarkable occasion,” President Buhari reiterated his determination to serve the country to the best of his ability, recalling his visits to the 36 States during the campaign for 2019 elections.
The President said: “The number of people that turned out to see me, some waiting for 10 hours in the sun, was more than anyone could buy, or force. They just wanted to see who this Buhari was. People wonder why Nigerians accept me, despite not being rich. I wonder, too. I felt I just have to serve Nigeria and Nigerians to the best of my ability.”
Commending the 9th National Assembly for its cooperation with the Executive, he said he tried very hard to get the 8th Assembly to do same for the sake of the country. President Buhari added: “I didn’t succeed much. But, time has proved me right.”
Gbajabiamila thanked the President for endorsing the security summit, adding: “You were part of it from the very beginning, and you were to have declared it open, if not for the exigencies of duty.”
The Speaker said the summit became imperative after lawmakers were bombarded daily by their constituents on the security challenges facing the country recalling that “and motions after motions were moved by the lawmakers.”
He said: “A committee of 50 lawmakers that cut across party, religious and ethnic lines he said, was set up to plan the summit and Mr President was very eager and enthusiastic about it, showing the importance you place on security.”
Gbajabiamila said the report was a product of inputs by traditional rulers, scholars, independent thinkers, and security chiefs, stressing that it contains seven recommendations that require legislative action, and about 19 that will be implemented by the Executive.
The Speaker added: “Thank you Mr President for what you have done so far to douse tension and for Nigeria to remain one. It’s about all of us, not just the Executive, the legislature or the judiciary. And Nigeria will work, by the grace of God.”
Giving the highlights of recommendations, Gbajabiamila told reporters that the committee suggested the creation of regional development commissions for all regions of the country and proffered resolutions to military complexities.
He said: “Get a hold of it. Like I said, there are two sides to the report; the legislative and the executive. The legislative has about seven recommendations, executive recommendations about 19 in all. There are overlapping mandates, for instance, between the security agencies, which breeds confusion in the line of reporting and those overlapping mandates will be addressed by the House as we’ve already introduced bills to that effect, and so on and so forth.”
“There are several recommendations; we’ve agreed to establish zonal commissions in all the zones like the North East Development Commission. We’ll have the Southwest, we’ll have the South-South, we’ll have the Southeast, we’ll have the Northwest, and that goes a long way in resolving issues, regional and zonal issues”.