The Association of Inter Ethnic-Married Nigerians has called for more inter-ethnic marriages among Nigerians to foster national unity.
The President of the association, Mr Jacob Obi made the call during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), on Tuesday in Abuja.
Obi said such marriages would reduce agitations, divisions and mistrusts along ethnic lines.
The president who is Igbo and married to a woman from Edo, said that marriage could be utilized as a concept to drive unity.
“The unity of Nigeria is not strong, so we now felt that it is about time for us to come together and unite this country in our own little way.
“The main reason why we formed this association is to use marriage as a concept for unity.
“In this 21st century, we should no longer hear parents saying over their dead bodies for their child to marry someone from a particular ethnicity or religion.
“Most of us who have travelled, know that in countries like America, you can marry from any part of the country and your parents will not object.
“So we now felt that it is about time we start using marriage as a concept for unity and oneness.
“We know that NIPR has a very big role in uniting this country and that is why we are here today,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the association was formed in 2008.
On his part, the President of NIPR, Alhaji Mukhtar Sirajo commended the group for the initiative, pointing out that it tallied with some of the projects of the institute.
He said that the quest to unite Nigeria should be the responsibility for all, adding that it was not late to start doing the right thing.
“The coming together of this group is a very welcome one and it came at time that the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations is coming up with the concept of a citizens summit.
“This summit will provide a platform for Nigerians to come together and talk to themselves in a mature manner, with a view to looking for why faults exists and how we are going to solve them
“We have lived in a better country than this. We have lived in a country where our ethnic divisions our religious diversities and our geographical differences did not matter to us.
“Those where the times we have remained nostalgic about,” he said.
Sirajo pointed out that countries that are not blessed with such diversity have brought people from other tribes and religion to harness the potentials of their diversity.
He said that Nigeria was a better country when people could easily mingle irrespective of their religion or ethnicity.
He added that he wanted to marry a Christian woman but for the refusal of the mother of the lady.
The president stressed that Nigerians must realize that they did not choose their religion or ethnicity, but was destined by God, as such they should stop questioning.
“We love this country and we believe that this is a country that is designed for greatness but certain forces are pulling it from all directions.
“We feel that we must come together and appeal to the conscience of all right thinking Nigerians to ask ourselves where we derailed.
“Without unity we cannot go anywhere and marriage is one of the most expressive and spiritual union that God has created because you cannot get more intimate than that.
“In a country like ours that God has blessed with enormous diversity, we can harness it; (with) everybody bringing their own endowment, the sky will not be our limit,” he said.