President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, urged political leaders, stakeholders and elders to stop making inflammatory statements capable of dividing the country, stressing the need for edifying statements that will instead unite Nigerians.
Mr. Jonathan made this known at the reception held in honour of Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, who marked his 80th birthday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
President Jonathan, who expressed dismay that some highly inflammable statements were coming from elders who witnessed the Civil War said, “That’s why I use this opportunity of celebration to plead with our elders to sing the song of unity in this country.”
President Jonathan, who described the celebrant as a leader that had remained very relevant in the political scheme of things for such a long time, said: “To pass through one winter is a tug of war, to cross 80, is worth celebrating.
“80 years of bad health is like punishment to the body. For all the period I have known Anenih, he has been very vibrant.”
He noted that it was not easy for the political icon to have remained relevant all these years, saying “to be relevant politically for all these years, is not easy. It is not easy for a politician to stay on top for a long time.
“I see something in him which is a little advice I will give to all us. Tony Anenih has shown that he is a nationalist. He has not shown that he belongs to one tribe, or one religion.
“So in spite of the challenges of politics, the unpredictable political environment, he continues to stand tall.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military president Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, former head of state Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and former minister of defence Lt-Gen. TY Danjuma were among dignitaries that graced the colourful event.