Benin Republic is Nigeria’s 37th state, says Yayi
PRESIDENT of neighbouring Benin Republic, Mr. Thomas Boni Yayi yesterday met with the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari where he pledged to support Nigeria in tackling the menace of the Boko Haram Islamists group.
Yayi, who met Buhari at the Defence House in Abuja, also pledged to strengthen cultural and bilateral ties between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
He had earlier paid a valedictory visit to President Goodluck Jonathan during which he described him as an example of African statesmanship.
The Beninoise leader, who fielded questions from journalists after the closed-door parley with Buhari, said he felt at home anytime he is in Nigeria.
Said he: “I am here to recognise the President of Nigeria, and congratulate him. Benin is the 37th state of Nigeria, and 55 percent of population in Benin comes from Nigeria, you know I am at home here. So I am here because my brothers, sisters of Nigeria have recently chosen my senior, the President Buhari as the President in order to better their destiny. Buhari is well known to people because of his integrity, his experience as a former head of state of the great Nigeria.
The Benin Republic President said that Jonathan not only conducted one of the best elections in the continent, but also demonstrated rare statesmanship by conceding, noting that as Nigeria’s next door neighbour, Benin would have felt the negative impact of any social consequences of the elections in Nigeria.
He explained his inability to come to Nigeria to congratulate Jonathan before now for presiding over a hitch free and successful election and for congratulating his challenger, General Muhammadu Buhari even before the result was announced, but because of the legislative election held in Benin.
According to President Yayi, “I came to congratulate my brother, President Ebele Jonathan. He is a very great statesman; he organised the election peacefully in the largest country in sub Saharan Africa.
“To us the election was very transparent and peaceful and coming back, he took a wonderful decision by a great statesman by calling his challenger to congratulate him even before the final result was released.”
“We look forward to Buhari ‘s ability to take up challenges as Nigeria’s president in the sub region. Today, Boko Haram is the issue, peace is the issue, the enforcement of ECOWAS treaty is also an issue and we see Nigeria’s economy as the engine of the sub region economy.
“Mr. President, let me tell you that you are an able man, you can do all these things. May God Almighty, Allah let’s take the appropriate steps under your Presidency, so that your mandate will be successful for not only Nigeria, but for the good people of Nigeria, for our sub-region, our continent and the entire world.
“I have come to convey our congratulations of Benin to the President Elect, Buhari. Benin and Nigeria are very close. In the area of culture, tradition and the two countries are together as you know, I am sure that our President, President Elect will grant me with the same solicitations given his mandate.
“Benin will always be by your side, the side of great Nigeria and will support the great Nigeria, after his inauguration. So, I want thank you my senior, the President Elect, God will bless him, God will bless the great Nigeria and our sub region, my President.”
The president-elect thanked the Beninoise president for felicitating with him noting that relationship between Nigeria and Benin republic would be strengthened under his presidency
He noted: “I am truly impressed with the prepared speech delivered by the President of Benin and we thank him very much for identifying with Nigeria. Being so close a neighbour and with the ethnic and cultural affiliations, which he identified, is making it easy for Nigeria
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