The entire Ikeja GRA Lagos was taken over when the ship of “No More Baga” campaign berthed in the peaceful neighbourhood penultimate Saturday. Like a novelist, that day, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of the “No More Baga” campaign, created a vivid picture of what could have transpired during the Baga attack.
“They woke up like every normal day, full of dreams, aspirations and desires. Men, set to work, women preparing to go to the farm, children preparing to actualise their future dream. Baga community in Borno State never knew it would all end in a flash; all they saw were masked armed men. They did not ask any question, they demanded for nothing all they did was to shoot at the innocent women and men. Two thousand people were wiped out of the Baga community in twinkle of an eye,” she said.
Anyiam-Osigwe recounted this at the unveiling of the “No More Baga” campaign and the motive behind the initiative. The event, which was held in Lagos, had in attendance Nollywood actors, actresses like Kanayo O. Kanayo, Nkiru Imeh, Okey Bakassi, Pete Edochie, and a host of other ambassadors of the project.
Speaking further, Anyiam-Osigwe passionately encouraged Nigerians to go out and vote instead of preaching hate and violence. According to her, in politics there is no permanent friend neither is there a permanent enemy.
“Don’t be used,” she admonished, “do not give up on your lives for people who don’t care about you. Instead, engage your conscience to vote wisely,” she said.
In addition, she said the group was not supporting any of the parties as members of the groups were from different parties. “No More Baga” is an advocacy group yearning for peace. It is a call for Nigerians to nullify the prediction of war in 2015. No one in this country can stand war. We cannot survive it,” she said, encouraging every Nigerians to go spreading the news of ‘Vote Not Hate; No More Violence.’
Anyiam-Osigwe, whose brother was murdered by unknown gunmen last year, said the motive behind this project was to find the souls of Nigerians again. “It is like Nigerians don’t see death as anything anymore,” she said, as “the souls of Nigerians must be awakened. The past is gone but we have a future to handle.”
Veteran actor, Kanayo O. Kanayo shared his experience of the Biafra war. According to him, he was hard a time as a 7-year-old Biafran during the war. He admonished Nigerians to spread the news of ‘No More Baga.’
“War does not recognise how much you have in your account or if you are a professor. It can make everything you have achieved useless. Religion should not be used to antagonise anyone. We should all remember that we are all Nigerians first,” he said. He analysed the fact that there was life after election so we should look at the aftermath not the present. He also thanked “INEC for its roles but he admonished the body to please ensure everyone gets their Permanent Voters’ Card because that is the right we have to vote.”
Also speaking, Nollywood actress Nkiru Imeh encouraged Nigerians to stay together as family all through the election and even beyond. “We could disagree on the parties but we should realise that after the exercise we still have to remain as a family. We shouldn’t use this one month exercise to destroy long lasting relationships,” she said.
Furthermore, the ‘No Baga Movement’ also had a peace and unity rally on Saturday, February 7, at the Skypower Aviation Ground, Oba Akinjobi Street by Archbishop Vinning Memorial Anglican Church, GRA Ikeja, Lagos.
The rally had many celebrities within the showbiz circle in attendance. Patience Uzokwor, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Okey Bakassi and other leading actors, actresses, comedian, radio and TV personalities lend their voices to the call to make the election peaceful.
Anyiam-Osigwe reiterated her call that the 2015 election was not war but a contest for elective positions by Nigerian citizens at all levels. She called on President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, the two leading contestants, to provide the much needed leadership during the campaign period to keep supporters in check. She also charged various opinion leaders across the country to desist from making inflammatory statements that could put the peace in the country in jeopardy.