U.S. Ambassador Stuart Symington on Thursday challenged the leadership and other stakeholders in Nigeria to preserve the nation’s unity.
Symington said this when he hosted the 241 anniversary celebration of the independence of the U. S. in Abuja.
The envoy, who said that Nigeria was blessed with visionary and dedicated leaders believed Nigeria was capable of facing and overcoming its challenges.
The envoy said that both the U. S. and Nigeria shared incredible diversity as nations.
According to Symington, just like the U.S., Nigeria is a wonderfully diverse nation which differences and diversity are sources of strength and a reason for pride.
“Whenever I meet a Nigerian, I ask, “What do you like the most about your country?” There 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…”
He also cited some of the difficulties the U.S. had faced in order to preserve its union.
He credited its success to the resilience of visionary leaders and citizens committed to ensuring justice for all.
He believed that Nigeria was capable of achieving the same feat.
“Today, Nigeria is fortunate to have such leaders and citizens. Together they are dedicated to keeping Nigeria united and to ensuring every Nigerian is heard and taken into account and treated fairly,” he said
The ambassador said that the anniversary was an opportunity to underscore how much Americans shared with Nigerians.
“We share families, friends, interests, and principles.
“All across this land, from Birnin Kebbi to Calabar, from Maiduguri to Badagry, Nigerians have welcomed me warmly and showed me the wonders of this country and its people.
“In almost every place, I have also met Americans whose lives are dedicated to their work with and for Nigerians,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama appreciated the U.S. support to Nigeria in its efforts to implement policies and programmes that impacted positively on the lives of Nigerian citizens.
Onyeama was represented by Amb. Vivian Okeke, the Director, American and Caribbean Division in the ministry.
He expressed confidence that the long existing relationship between Nigeria and U.S. would be sustained.
The celebration was witnessed by current and former government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, business, political, and traditional leaders among others.
The celebration featured entertainment by American singer, song-writer and State Department Arts Envoy Andy Allo.