2017 Eid Al-Adha Lunch

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*Says all ethnic groups are important in Nigeria’s rebirth

“Our energies and resources should not again be spent on debates on division. Our manifest destiny is to be that great nation that God has called us to be.”



Let me thank you all for honouring this special invitation from his Excellency, Mr President, and her Excellency, the wife of the President, to lunch in celebration of the Eid Al-Adha.

I mentioned to the President when he came back that I attended so many “Iftars” while he was away representing him, that I added about two kilos, and the next thing he does is to give me this assignment as well!

Mr President is unable to attend because he is celebrating the Sallah at home in Daura. He has not been in Daura for over a year now, so this is really an important home-going for him.

The significance of this celebration is the willingness of Ibrahim, Abraham as we Christians know him in the Old Testament, to make the great sacrifice of possibly the dearest thing to him, his son, Isaac.

Obviously, anyone who knows anything at all about the kinds of things that God loves the most, it is a willingness to make a great sacrifice, and Abraham was able to make that sacrifice in order to be able to fulfil his own destiny and the destiny of his people.

I think the message today for our nation is that our nation’s elite, Muslims, Christians and all ethnicities, must recognize that we all must make sacrifices necessary to attain the destiny that God has set for our nation.

I am extremely confident that our nation will remain united. I am convinced that God’s plan and purpose for Nigeria is that we will be the preeminent black nation in the world; be the nation that will show forth in culture, technology and commerce, God’s investment in the black race.

This is why today, of every 4 or 5 blacks, one must be a Nigerian.  That is not a mean attainment at all. That nation that God had in mind is a diverse nation, diverse in resources, in ideas and opinions.

The kind of nation that we have where there is an argument about something every day before you get tired of that particular argument, another one would have arisen.

This is the kind of country that God had in mind where we have a diversity of opinions and ideas.

He has also planned that this country will remain together and that we will be a nation that He has gifted with oil, gas, coal, more arable land than most continents.

I was speaking to the UK Foreign Minister a few days ago and I explained to him how it is so difficult to police the North East. I said that this North East that you speak about, over the past two years, we have managed to ensure that Boko Haram does not hold any territory, but there are still opportunistic attacks here and there.

So I explained to the Foreign Minister that we are still going to experience these attacks because of the vast area that we are dealing with. I said that the North East is equivalent of the whole of the United Kingdom plus Denmark or Switzerland. So we are dealing with a vast country.

I have seen the vast farmlands of Kebbi, Jigawa and Kano. The other day we were in Taraba, a place that is already producing vegetables, cucumbers, peppers and supplying the major supermarkets in Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna that used to import these vegetables. Just five hectares of greenhouse in Taraba state is producing the needs of all the major supermarkets in Abuja, Kaduna and Lagos states.

An Israeli farmer who works in one of those greenhouses, on getting to Jalingo for the first time and seeing the beautiful hills, sent a message to his wife saying, “We are close to heaven”. But by the time he got to Mambilla and got to the plateau, he sent another message and said, “We are now in heaven!”

This is a country that has all of what other countries and people will spend money and other resources to go in search of, all of the tourism resources that people will spend money and get visas to go and see.

God’s plan is for a nation of men and women so creative and so prosperous that we would feed the continent and create opportunities for the world.

The different ethnic groups are crucial in that arrangement, all the ethnic groups are important in this arrangement. America’s strength is in its ethnicities. We have those same strong ethnicities that they have.

Today, Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Laureate, already is being succeeded by Chimamanda Adichie. The other day I was speaking with Jelani Aliyu, the DG of the Automotive Council, he is from Sokoto state; we literally poached him from General Motors, he is one of their very best designers. That is the kind of Nigeria that God had in mind, diverse ethnicities, incredible minds, brilliant people, creative people doing all manner of great things.

The richest man in Africa is from Kano State and the richest woman in Africa, I’m told is Mrs Alakija; that is the kind of country that God planned.

Our energies and resources should not again be spent on debates on division. Our manifest destiny is to be a great nation.

We must focus our time, our energies, our resources on being that great nation that God has called us to be.

This lunch this afternoon is how God wants us to be, to eat together, live together, work together and build that nation that God had in mind. I know that most of us here understand that plan of God for us. I certainly look forward to that country.

Despite all the noise that we hear, all that noise is part of the building. I know that most of us here are all men, but everybody here knows that you cannot have birth without noise. No woman delivers a baby without some noise. What you are hearing today are the noises and the pains of that great nation that God is about to give birth to.

Thank you all.


Our energies and resources should not again be spent on debates on division. Our manifest destiny is to be that great nation that God has called us to be.