A don, Prof. Mike Maduagwu, has told the Federal Government to use Nigeria’s cultural diversity to foster unity and national integration, to build a greater nation.

Maduagwu, a former directing staff at the Nigerian Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos made the call in a paper he presented at a ceremony to mark Nenwe Day and Cultural Carnival in Abuja on Saturday.

Nenwe is an agrarian, semi-urban and expansive community in the Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State. Oral history records Nenwe as one of the oldest settlements in the Igbo country.

Speaking on: “Unity as the Pathway for the Development of Nenwe Town,’’ Maduagwu argued that Nigeria would realise its developmental aspirations faster if it harnessed its cultural diversities positively and used same to build a formidable nation. He said that communities should sustain their cultures and pass their traditions to the next generations by recognising and celebrating the cultures and mores that hold them together as one indivisible entity.

Tracing the history of Nenwe back to pre-historic times, the don pointed out that one of the major problems of black African nations was inadequate documentation of their histories. “This is due mainly to the fact that before now we depended much on oral method of fact preservation.’’

He described Nenwe as a peaceful community that had produced eminent individuals, who had served or still serving Nigeria in various fields of endeavours. Maduagwu lamented that Nenwe community had not benefited much from government, pointing out that the town had faced a painful lack of portable water, grid energy and motorable highways. He said that the development had compelled citizens of the town, residing in Abuja to launch a N20 million Endowment, to promote development in the ancient town.

“Today is a remarkable day when the Nenwe community in Abuja under the auspices of the Abuja Branch of Nenwe Improvement Union, staged Nenwe Day and Cultural Carnival. “The idea is to showcase the culture of Nenwe and promote unity and love among Nenwe people, especially those residing in Abuja.

“It is our desire to promote our culture and use same as an instrument of unity in Nigeria and not as an instrument of division’’ Maduagwu said.

The Chairman of the event, retired Group Capt. Joseph Orji, said that the festival also provided an avenue for interactions between Nenwe sons and daughters and showcasing the town’s much valued cultural heritage to Nigerians and the world. According to him, the festival provides avenue for Nenwe people and other Nigerians to meet one another and forge greater cohesion and understanding.

Orji said that the launching of the N20 million endowment fund was aimed at boosting education, security and other social amenities in the town. Also speaking, retired AVM. Christian Chukwu, expressed his optimism that the festival would make positive impact on development of Nenwe town.

According to Chukwu, the gathering is meant to foster unity and development. “I believe that if Nenwe is developed, the entire towns around it will be developed. So, I’m happy we are here. “I’m hoping that today will mark a turnaround in the fortunes of Nenwe in terms of development,’’Chukwu said.

In his remarks, the Eze Ndigbo of FCT, Eze Ibe Nwosu, urged Igbo people to emulate the celebration of Nenwe Cultural Day, to bring development to their communities back home. “I am happy for the cultural display the Igbo people are doing. I am begging almighty God to make Igbo people everywhere to promote their cultures and to live in peace with one another anywhere they find themselves. Also, Amb. Emmanuel Gade, the District Head of Pigba Garki Chiefdom in the Abuja Municipal Area Council, pleaded with Nigerians to always maintain peace and harmony with one another. “As traditional rulers, we always preach peace.

Where there is peace we sleep with our two eyes closed. “Where there is no people, we will be having sleeplessness. So, we urge all our youths and our people to always maintain peace,’’ Gade said. Nenwe, a town located in the agrarian belt of Enugu State has four autonomous communities, namely Amoji, Agbada, Emudo and Uhueze communities. (NAN)