The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has added one more feather to his cap on Saturday as he was conferred with a title by an Igbo group in Kaduna State.
The Igbo Cultural Day held on saturday in Kaduna was organiser by the Igbo Community Welfare Association, Kaduna.
El-rufai, who was the Special Guest of Honour at this year’s Igbo Cultural Day, was conferred with the title of Ocho-Udo Ndigbo, the Peace Maker of Igbos.
According to Barrister Chris Nnoli, the President General of the Igbo Community Welfare Association, this was done in appreciation of his courageous insistence that every Nigerian has a right to reside anywhere in the country.
In his address, the governor charged everyone that resides in Kaduna State to commit to peace. He noted that the past 40 years that crisis have been rocking Kaduna State, it did no benefit anyone.
El-Rufai said: “Permit me to begin with a word of gratitude to the leadership of the Igbo Community Welfare Association for inviting us to this event. I am delighted to join you all today to celebrate the 2018 Igbo Cultural Day in Kaduna.
“Kaduna is a very diverse state. And the Igbo community is a valued and cherished part of this large Kaduna State family. We celebrate you first and foremost as citizens of our state, and we welcome your contributions to the economy, to education and society as a whole.
“My message to everyone who lives in Kaduna State is that we must all commit to peace. Too many lives have been lost or blighted over the course of 40 years of violent conflict. Who has really benefitted? And what question or issue has violence settled?
“Crisis and conflict have certainly made us poorer, and it is time to say never again!
“Kaduna State is not the only diverse place on God’s earth. Every responsible resident of this state can now see that the relentless obsession with ethnicity and religion is not helpful
“The varied talents that we all have should instead be deployed for the common purpose of building a peaceful and prosperous society. Building the good society is in our hands, whereas our ethnicity and religion are often determined for us by the circumstance of our birth.
“Let us keep religion in the private sphere, retain pride in our heritage but behave like citizens who respect the law and the rights of others.
“Thankfully, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria protects the rights of citizens to live anywhere, practise any faith of their choice and pursue their livelihoods in peace and security.
“I assure you that the Kaduna State Government takes seriously its obligation to uphold these rights for every citizen, no matter their ethnic or religious affiliations. That is why in Kaduna State we know only citizens and residents, not indigenes or settlers.
“No one should be a second-class citizen because they arrived in a place later than others. For us, what matters is a common humanity.”
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