Nigerian leaders on Friday called on Nigerians to work harder towards ensuring the countryâ€™s unity.
They made the call in separate interviews with State House correspondents shortly after they were honoured with the nationâ€™s centenary awards at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The event was the second to the last in the series of programmes lined up to celebrate the 100 years of the nationâ€™s amalgamation. The last event, which is a special thanksgiving service, holds on Sunday (today) at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said for Nigeria to have survived the first 100 years despite the various challenges of nation building, the country would not break up.
â€œThe award means Nigeria is making progress. If Nigeria survived the first 100 years, it means that Nigeria has come to stay,â€ he said.
Former military leader, Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar (retd.), observed that the nation had come a long way and urged the future generation to contribute more to nation building than what the award recipients achieved.
This, he explained, was necessary to keep the nation as one.
â€œNigeria has come a long way and we thank God. The future generation should try and do better than what we have done and keep this country together,â€ he said.
Another former military leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, said it was a good thing to be recognised by oneâ€™s country.
He said, â€œThe award means a lot to me to be qualified to be recognised by Nigerians. My wish for Nigeria is security.â€
The former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, said the award would spur him into working harder for the nation.
â€œThe award means a lot to me. It makes me feel to work harder for the unity and progress of the country,â€ Shonekan said.
Other former leaders, who were honoured at the event, were former President Shehu Shagari and former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.
Shagari and Abubakar were honoured under the category of promoters of democratic transition in Nigeria while Gowon, Obasanjo, Buhari, Shonekan and Babangida were honoured under the category of outstanding promoters of unity, patriotism and national development.
In all, 100 persons, both living and dead, believed to have contributed meaningfully to national development, were honoured at the well-attended event.