WANDAA to strengthen Nigeria’s diversity
Recently, the Benin ethnic group of Edo State was featured in the second edition of We Are Not Different After All (WANDAA), which holds every three months for the sole purpose of showcasing the rich culture of Nigeria and uniting the people.
The executive producer of the show, Aisha Sanni-Shittu, said the event aimed at “celebrating our diversity, our culture our people and delicacies.”
Participants, who were dressed in Benin traditional regalia, enjoyed Edo cuisine such as Owo soup, cottonseed soup and Banga soup.
The atmosphere was further charged with the traditional Benin dance performances that usually grace traditional gatherings.
There was an open discussion titled, Who diversity Help?
Veteran broadcaster and media entrepreneur, Sonny Irabor, opened the talk and his opinion was diversity should not only be fluid, but recognition of merit. He further faulted federal character as it is always inhibiting merit.
He also said, we often blame the colonialists, but we are the ones doing everything to mismanage our diversity. He said, “why do you have to pay for your child that was posted to Lagos for the mandatory National Youth Service Corp to be re-posted somewhere else or why would you say your child should not marry from a certain tribe or region.”
He pointed to the above as reasons, which have helped to weaken the country’s diversity.
All, however, agreed that diversity has helped the country’s music, sports and the fact that intermarriage still exists despite all odds “helps us stick together.”
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Odyssey Project and Executive Producer of WANDAA, Dr. Starr Horsefall, said, the initiative is his way of telling Nigerians to “come lets begin to change our orientation, lets eat together, discuss and find a way forward. We have to start thinking of ways to make our younger generation better, we must have ways of making it work.”
Sanni-Shittu stated that their desire is to take people through different journeys every three months. “The maiden edition held in June where we showcased Rivers State, now we are showcasing Benin, Edo State and in December, we hope to showcase Ile-Ife to promote the beauty in our diversity and culture.”
Sanni-Shittu who is also an actor, dancer and the hostess of the show said, “this is a banquet style event, so, besides giving out useful information, if you are fully aware of the power you possess, you work differently, talk differently and there is also the concept of people thinking because we are not from the same tribe we are different.”
She emphasised, “we are the same, what is called Ogbono in one tribe is called Ohe in Edo State, but we are eating the same thing so this is promoting one Nigeria, one Africa and one humanity.”