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The 8th Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Day was colorfully celebrated last Sunday in Jigjiga town of the Somali regional state.
The day was celebrated with the motto “Our constitution for our renaissance”.
It was celebrated in the presence of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh and government delegates from Kenya and Rwanda.
Senior Ethiopian government officials, representatives of Ethiopian nations, nationalities and peoples, as well as residents of the host town, Jigjiga, were also in attendance.
Guest of honor at the event, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the constitution replaced an imposed unity of past regimes with a democratic one based on consent.
This, he said, is evident from current developments in the Somali regional state, the host of this year’s Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Day.
The constitution is also an oath that salvaged the Ethiopian nation from disintegration and kept it together, the Premier said.
We should therefore defend the constitution, which is the basis of this togetherness.
Owing to the constitution, the Somali people, who were marginalized by past regimes, have now become an active part of ongoing national development endeavors.
Speaker of the House of Federation, Kassa Tekleberhan said this was a day on which the national constitution that brought all Ethiopians to power was endorsed.
He said Ethiopian Somalis were an active part of the struggle that Ethiopian nations and nationalities made for both national and democratic unity.
Kassa recalled that the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had a special respect and love for Ethiopian Somalis.
The late great leader has addressed the intricate problems in the region, which lasted for generations, he said. The federal system he left behind is thriving.
Chief of the Somali regional state, Abdi Mohammed Umer said this was a day of rebirth for the people of the Somali regional state.
He said in the past the Somali people had suffered a lot from both domestic oppression and foreign aggression.
Benshangul Gumuz regional state has been selected to organize the 9th Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Day next year.