The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, says there is a need to create a `new tribe’ in Nigeria in order to have a country driven by national unity and cohesion. Osinbajo expressed this view while declaring open a five-day photo exhibition tagged, `ANISZA’ during the Independence celebration on Monday in Abuja.
ANISZA is a collaborative project between the Federal Government and the private sector, a scheme that showcases the untold stories of Nigeria’s unity since independence in 1960 via pictures.
“ANISZA” was derived from the first two letters of three indigenous Nigerian languages–Anoko Onu – Igbo word for togetherness; Isokan – Yoruba word for unity; and Zaman Tare – Hausa words for one tribe.
Osinbajo had earlier toured the mobile gallery and inspected the photographs on display. He said that two things struck him about the exhibition – the first being the deliberate attempt to engage younger Nigerians and the issue of promoting national unity.
Osinbajo added that the second thing that struck him was the idea of casting a vision by reflecting Nigeria’s history via a collection of photographs that told Nigeria’s national story as the victories of unity despite the diversities and dissension.
The vice president said that the pictures he saw included the photograph of the Shitta Bey Mosque, which was headlined by Christian leaders who were gladly invited by Muslim leaders to the mosque.
Osinbajo said he also saw the photograph of where Christians formed a protective shield of Muslims at prayer in Abuja in 2012 among others. “It seems to me to be a good time for me to recall an earlier call I have made for a new tribe of Nigerians to build a new Nigeria.
“It is my respected view that to build a new Nigeria, we need a new tribe; one tribe of men and women of all faiths, of all tribes, of all ethnicities committed to a country run on high values; high values of integrity, of hard work, of justice and of love of country.
“A tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices and exercise the self-constraint that is crucial for building a healthy society and who are prepared to stick together to fight injustice; to fight corruption; to insist on the rule of law; even when our friends are the receiving end. “
A tribe consisting of professionals, of businessmen, of politicians, of students, of religious leaders and all who believe that a new Nigeria is possible,’’ he said.
He said that the exhibition was a collaboration between the Federal Government represented by the media team in the presidency, the Federal Ministry of Information and the private sector.
On her part, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, said that the event was a thing of joy as it came at a day Nigerians were witnessing the 58th independence in peace.
She said that the project was a noble gesture which had the support of the Federal Government.
The Project Visionary, Novo Isioro, said that the event was Nigeria’s first ever unity photography exhibition.
“On this ground today, we are gathered for one thing; one very important thing; there is a dream which is focused on re-orientating us to a nation that was united; will stay united and will get better.
“Have you noticed that the media is filled with stories of hate, violence and disunity featuring young people? “Because we are young, most times we under-formed and even misinformed and we become tools or objects of this violence,’’ she said.
She said that if ethnic differences were collapsed in the everyday interaction of Nigerians, the citizens would fare better.
According to her, the documentary is about telling the story of Nigeria’s strength in diversity.
The exhibition, which drew students from across the country, had some members of the Federation Executive Council in attendance.