Unity Festival Hits Lagos on Independence Day

Yinka Olatunbo sun reports that Lagos will witness a colossal display of arts and culture at the Muri Okunola Park on October 1

Nigeria, in its 59th year of Independence is in dire need of unity, peace and tolerance. It is for this reason that the organisers of the Unity Festival have announced that the 2019 Independence Day celebration in Lagos will not be an indoor affair. Being a public holiday, a lot of Lagosians often opt for watching home videos, listening to Nigerian music on radio and some other yawninspiring activities. This year will not be the same for fun-seekers in Lagos. The Festival Manager, Unity Festival, Jennifer Tokunbo Serrano is bringing a festival which is driven towards uniting people across ethnic barriers to boost cultural and intra-national tourism without an entry fee. Serrano who described herself as a second-generation migrant was born and raised in the UK till she returned to Nigeria in 2005, with the energy to make a difference. “I did a two-month survey on social media asking people if they love Nigeria. I found out that the love for the nation is missing. Some will ask, Is Nigeria even a nation? It’s only a geographical entity. There is no patriotism. But they agree that there are some aspects of Nigeria they love and those aspects are entertainment, music, movies, food and arts,’’ she explained. Hence, the festival is built on cultural elements such as food, dance, music and art- things that unite us to promote patriotism and national identity. The carnival which takes off at the Governor’s Office, Alausa Ikeja parade will be a curtain raiser for the festival and other cultural engagements tied to it. “Beginning in October, we will share with the pupils in Lagos the mood of independence through dance and drama,’’ she revealed.

“As part of celebrating Nigeria, we intend to demonstrate our message by meeting the needs in the schools; giving books and stationery to the students.’’ The Unity Festival will feature art exhibitions, folklore corner, tie and dye, mat weaving, indigenous cooking competition with adequate security. On October 2, a special awards dinner will hold at Intercontinental Hotel with a keynote address on Nigerian Unity and Culture. “Next destination will be North-East in December then in 2010, South-South in February, Middle-belt in April, South-East in June and North West in August,’’ she added.

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