INTER - TRIBAL MARRIAGE HOLDS KEY TO NIGERIA'S UNITY, GREATNESS - AYO OLAGUNJU

The current blatant tribalism, prebendalism, mistrust, suspicion and tension in the country can be reduced if inter - tribal marriages among Nigerians.
Speaking to the nationguardnews.com in his Yaba office, the head of administration, West African College of Surgeons, explained that intertribal marriages among Nigerians can go a long way to fizzle out the tribal and religious sentiments used in relating to one another in the country.
Mr. Arogunju who married an Igbo lady said that he is a complete Nigerian by virtue of his marriage across tribe. He disclosed that his marriage across his Yoruba culture has given him a lot of advantages, privileges and opportunities especially his Igbo in-laws.
Narrating how their love metamorphosed into marriage, the Mass Communication graduate of University of Lagos, disclosed that they met during an official assignment of the Students Union Government (SUG). The wife, Nonye who read Mathematics, was the chairperson of Madam Tinubu Hall while he Ago was the Public Relations Officer of the SUG.
According to him, Nonye, apart from being beautiful, intelligent and full of leadership qualities, was also very caring. She allegedly displayed this her rare caring character one day during an official assignment by offering Ago her brand new white handkerchief to use to clean his sweat. She insisted when Ago refused, arguing that he was the one sweating profusely in his suit.
That act of caring and responsibility made the young Ago to develop and deepen his interest in her despite cultural differences.
On the obstacles encountered in the course of getting married to Nonye, the admin manager, narrated how her two friends went to poison her mind he Ago was a play boy who would abandon her later. That was the tonic Ago needed for he saw it as a challenge, and had to forfeit travelling abroad in order to marry her.
Another challenge that starred him in the face was the resistant father in-law whom he said was highly religious, a displenarian, and as a father, wanted the best for his first daughter. He was a Knight in the Catholic Church but attended school in Ibadan. Nonye's mother was born and brought up in Lagos. So both had ample knowledge of Yoruba culture.
With determination and divine influence, help came through Ayo's friend Mr. Ade Akanni, a staff of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Enugu. Through him, a visit to the family residence in Abakpa Nike Enugu was arranged by Mr. Akanni. Ago flew from Lagos to Enugu, and both began the journey.
It was not easy in the beginning, Ago recollected, because the would be father in - law was not sure of the level of responsibility of the young man. However, the mother in - law understood him better. With God through prayer, all things were resolved.
Then from his own side, things were not as tough as the in - laws' side. His being a polygamous family, Ago had caught a niche for himself due to his radical views to issues in the family. Siblings and relations were even sympathetic to whoever that would choose Ago as a life partner.
On the contrary, the expections were disappointed for both were meant for each other. Nonye his wife, he remarked, is the best wife and pearl in the entire large family. On his own side, the father in - became his model and confidant. He would visit often and cruise around town in his car.
Is there anything he regrets in the intertribal marriage? Ago explained that his wife has both physical and inner beauty.
"She is a motivator, organiser and great leader, for the fact that she could be elected a chairperson in no other place than Madam Tinubu Hall, showed that she has some rare qualities."
The marriage is blessed with three children: Tochukwu Arogunju, a medical doctor; Munachi, a computer scientist, and Chibuzo Arogunju, an undergraduate of UNILAG. All have Igbo first names. Ago is grateful for the choice he made, arguing that he is well positioned in any gathering that involves Igbo and Yoruba. He dresses Igbo, eats Igbo food, understands and speaks Igbo language, to some extent.
His children will also never be lost on any issue concerning both trbes.
Among Igbos, Ago feels at home. Even in the in - laws' place in Ogbaru, Anambra State, he moves freely, even at night. When Upper Iweka area of Onitsha was dreaded and dreadful, Ago would stroll around to the surprise of everybody around.
The Master's degree holder in Public Administration and head of administration in West African College of Surgeons therefore advised that intertribal marriage is the best policy that could be used for effective unification of the country. "I have demonstrated a practical detribalised Nigerian," he submitted, encouraging younger generation Nigerians to use it to demolish the artificial walls limiting their successes in life.