A group under the aegis of a project tagged: ‘ANISZA 2018,’ has concluded arrangements toward showcasing the untold stories of Nigeria’s unity since independence in 1960 with pictures.
The Project Visionary, Novo Isioro, who briefed newsmen in Abuja, said that the exhibition would be part of activities marking Nigeria’s 58th Independence Day celebration.
She said that the virtual art project aimed at promoting unity amongst Nigerians would be formally inaugurated at SARIUS PALMETUM botanical garden, Maitama, on Oct. 1 being Nigeria’s Independence Day.
According to Isioro, who is the Special Assistant on Visual Communication and Personal Photographer to the Vice President, ANISZA 2018 will be the first ever international photo exhibition of the Nigerian unity story.
She said that the tag `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.
“We have seen contentions among adherents of the various religious and ethnic groups in the country.
“There have been tensions that have been generated because of our differences; I think that this diversity should be celebrated and not be a problem.
“So, I just thought about this tendency towards disunity, and as a visual artist, I understand how image tells the story more than words. So, I thought that we should use pictures to tell the stories of our strength in diversity.
“The idea is to use pictures to speak to the people to stop the agitations, the drama, the hate speeches, division and instead work together. This is practically focused on young people.
“ I realised that most people, especially the young ones, really don’t understand our history,’’ she said.
On sustainability of the initiative, Isioro said that a mobile gallery would be used so that the project could be taken to the 36 states with focus on schools.
She said that group was collaborating with states and federal ministries to take the gallery to schools in their domain in order to get as many children as possible to benefit from the project.
According to her, students from schools across the country are invited for the exhibition.
On his part, the Managing Editor of Daily Times, Mr Bonaventure Melah, said the issue of unity in Nigeria was important and needed to be strengthened.
Melah said that Nigeria needed patriotic citizens more than oil because the problem of unity had to come first of all from lack of patriotism.
“No country can achieve greatness when the citizens do not love the country.
“It is only when we bring our various unique differences to the centre that we can form a greater and prosperous nation,” he said.
Dr Mayo Adediran, a former top Federal Government official on Museums and Archives, now a Consultant, said preserving Nigeria’s cultural heritage was as important as promoting the country’s economic potentials.
Adeniran said that sometimes human memory might fail us but when we put concentrated information in a monument, it became a historical fact that jolted the memory each time we walked past.
Mr Sadiq Bello, one of the technical managers in the group, said that the project intended to `excite and spark’ all the senses of unity to see that Nigeria indeed became a great nation.
In his remark, the Project Manager, Murphy Emamezi, said that love was what drove true patriotism and a sense of unity among any people.
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to declare the exhibition open on Oct. 1