Following recent divisions along ethnic and religious lines across the country, a new group, loveNaija, has initiated steps to bring together Nigerians across the country. Disclosing this during the inaugural programme in Lagos, tagged loveNaija Unity Walk and Concert, the Founder, Ike- chukwu Daniel Okonweze, said the Unity Walk was designed to bring together the multiple tribes and languages living in Nigeria into one community in Lagos City. The street walk, which commenced at the residence of the late M.K.O Abiola, took the participants comprising young men and women from all ethnic groups across the length of Toyin Street in Ikeja. Okonweze said the day was built to walk as “one people that recognises our differences.
“If we come to Walk and Work together in Unity with the level of our manpower and population, we have the advantage of being an economic power in the global world, which invariably appears as matter of national urgency.” He said in the last 62 years of independence as a nation, Nigeria had grappled with several challenges with mutual suspicion and ethic patriotism that have deprived the country of reason, sense of justice and fairness. According to him, “we laugh and hug in public and plot against each other when we retire to our ethno -religious enclaves. Once in a while, this mistrust finds grotesque expression among our people as we witness bloodbaths pre- meditated by ethno -religious contempt for each other. Basically in all, amenities are lacking. Issues that other nations have long taken care of are still hard for us to crack.
“The essence of our Walk stems from a verse in the first stanza of our National Anthem, which reads and I quote; ‘To serve our fatherland with Love, Strength and Faith’ the verse referred to, has to do with culturing and building up ourselves in the spirit of patriotism to foster love and unity and maintain one indissoluble country. “We are believers in the unity of Nigeria, and like the saying goes; ‘United We Stand, Divided We Fall.’ It is in unity that we can find strength and ability to conquer evil. “Clearly, we are standing up for the issues of love, patriotism, unity and peaceful coexistence of Nigeria, at a time agitations to reconsider the basis of our existence as a country continue to dominate national discourse. “We, therefore, salute our countrymen and women presently, who have refused to give up on the promise of our unity, the strength of our Prosperity and the faith it promises in association with our progress.”
He further said for opportunity and progress to emerge, both citizens and its leaders must partner to reunite towards nation building in the true spirit of patriotism. “Our continued existence as one indivisible entity very much depend on how we decide to be each others’ keeper, we should consciously refuse to give in to the weight of that which divides us, rather, we should embrace and celebrate our shared experiences, connections and togetherness which we believe far outweigh whatever differences we may have. “This cause should be a deliberate policy for Love & Unity campaign to ignite and spark the Spirit of Patriotism to promote religious, tribal and cultural tolerance. To achieve this, we should build more bridges and strengthen our existing relationships.
“Not as Arewa bloodline, or as belonging to Ohaneze Ndi Igbo community, or as Yoruba Omo Odua family, or the Ijaw Nation, or Ibibio, Efik, Kanuri, Edo, Fulfude, Tiv or any other tribal languages. “Finally, we hereby implore Nigerians / Lagosians to come out en mass and lead the way to promote this ideology of a better future, on behalf of our dear nation Nigeria, for those of us who wants to play their parts in “Civic Life” to boost audience participation amongst every patriotic Nigerian present, to promote Integrity, encourage truth and accuracy in information sharing and inspire communities to reject violence especially at this crucial time of our nation- al rebirth,” he noted.