President Buhari is visiting Southeast Nigeria for the first time in his presidency. Here's all that happened on Day 1.
It’s Buhari’s first visit to Igboland since he was elected president two years ago.
So, yes, this is worth documenting.
Our reporters have been on the ground, so they scribbled seven noteworthy events that transpired as Buhari set feet in a part of the country where he’s not particularly fancied…..
1. The presidential jet touched down on the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu at exactly 10:30am.
From here, the president’s motorcade, a horde of Governors and politicians from the region, embarked on a road trip to Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
2. To receive Buhari at the Enugu airport were the Governors of Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Imo and Kogi.
3. President Buhari immediately inaugurated a couple of projects in Abakaliki; including two Flyovers on the section of the African Trans-Saharan Highway that straddles Enugu and Cameroon.
4. Buhari said his visit to Southeast Nigeria is testament that he appreciates the country’s diversity and plurality.
“My presence here today is a demonstration of my strong belief in the unity of Nigeria. As the most populous country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups, our diversity is almost unique among the nations,” Buhari said.
5. The president told his hosts that the 2018 budget will cater to infrastructure needs of the region.
Notable among these infrastructure projects is of course the famous 2nd Niger bridge. You may want to throw in the East-West road in there as well.
6. Buhari got bestowed with some traditional titles for his troubles. The president is now the Enyioma 1 of Ebonyi (Good friend of Ebonyi) and Ochioha Ndi Igbo 1.
And he looked quite giddy about it all.
Recall that during the 2015 electioneering campaign, Buhari was handed the middle name ‘Okechukwu’ when he visited the Southeast of Nigeria.
7. Former Governor of Ebonyi, Sam Egwu, commended Buhari for his decision to monetarily compensate victims of the Biafra war and pay pension to former Biafra police officers.
“Such an act of accommodation is what translates a mere leader to a great father of the Nation,” Egwu said.