The Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, has given what it considered a roadmap for the unity of Nigeria.
The Institute according to THISDAY, called for more marriages across ethnic groups in Nigeria so as to encourage deeper cohesion despite the country’s diversity and growing fault lines.
Nigeria has especially in the most recent times, experienced a surge in tumultuous ethnic and religious loggerheads, such that is manifest in rhetorical presentations of both its leaders and the led.
Reports say that the President of NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, who spoke when he hosted members of the Association of Inter-Ethnic Married Nigerians (AIMN) in Abuja, maintained that Nigerians should look beyond ethnicity and religion when making major decisions.
Sirajo was also reported to argue that when properly harnessed, diversity could be a very strong force for good virtues, noting that there’s hardly anyone who chose their religions or tribes as humans do not have control over any of those.
“Now, we have lived in a better country than this. We have lived in a country where our ethnic divisions, our religious diversity, and our geographical accidents didn’t matter to us, because if they actually mattered, we wouldn’t have married the people that we married.
“So those are the times that we remain nostalgic about-where you could go around and be friends with anyone. This was the country we all grew up in, but at some point, something snapped and allowed suspicion to come in and threaten to divide us,” Sirajo lamented.
Further reports indicate that while Sirajo expressed worry that Nigeria is reaching a boiling point, he stressed that the NIPR could no longer fold its arms and watch things degenerate because of certain centrifugal forces which he said are pulling it from all directions.
He argued that without unity, the country would not achieve its potential, explaining that the most expressive and spiritual union that God created, marriage, should be used to unite the country.
Sirajo called on Nigerians that believe in the country to live by example, and thanked the association for using the platform to foster the integration of the country.
According to him, “We should by now at 61 (Nigerian independence), have outgrown the question of where you are from as long as you are from Nigeria. As a matter of fact, we should have by now gone beyond that and started to do our own visa lottery, inviting people from other places as long as they have something to offer.”
In his contribution, following reports, President of AIMN, Mr. Jacob Obi, in his remarks, said he strongly believed that inter-ethnic marriages would encourage peace, as it would lessen the division in the society and bring about trust among various ethnicities and religions in Nigeria.
“The main reason the association was formed was to use marriage as a concept to drive unity, because unity in Nigeria is really fragile,” Jacob said.