President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria and the Benin Republic will collaborate to explore their culture, history and demography to benefit the citizens.
This is contained in a statement by Dele Alake, spokesman for Mr Tinubu, on Tuesday.
The president was speaking at a rare invitation as a special guest at the 63rd Independence anniversary of the Republic of Benin.
Mr Tinubu, invited by President Patrice Talon, noted that the two countries’ proximity, similarity in the economy, and outlook on development make it compulsory to pursue the same growth goal collectively.
“Nigeria and Benin Republic are conjoined twins. We are joined from one stomach. In every aspect, we are one, and we share much in common,’’ he said during an interaction with journalists.
The president said the vision of political and economic stability of Nigeria and Benin could only be realised by working together, assuring that the partnership would be strengthened and upscaled at various levels.
Mr Tinubu thanked Mr Talon for the honour and for also inviting six Nigerian governors, who graced the occasion.
The governors were Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq (Kwara), Nasir Idris (Kebbi) and Mohammed Bago (Niger).
Mr Talon said the historic invitation of having another leader at the country’s independence celebration was to show high respect for Mr Tinubu, following his track record of providing leadership in Nigeria and West Africa.
“I want to really appreciate President Tinubu for honouring our invitation to participate in our 63rd anniversary. It is not a normal practice to invite a foreign leader for independence celebration, but this signals the constructive and positive relationship we have enjoyed, and more benefits to come,’’ Mr Tallon added.
Apart from the shared border, Mr Talon noted that Nigeria and Benin have stayed together over many years as a family, and a good relationship should be encouraged among citizens.
Mr Tinubu returned to Nigeria after the independence event.
He is expected to participate in the high-level meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress to hold Wednesday and Thursday.