West Nile Centennial celebrations should be used as a call for unity amongst leaders and the people of the region, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulannyah has said.
He maintains that Unity will be a key milestone in addressing the numerous challenges that the region is facing. Some of the problems include poverty, cross border conflicts, disease and the influx of refugees especially from neighboring Sudan and the Democratic republic of Congo.
Oulannyah made the call at the occasion to flag off the West Nile torch, an activity aimed at creating awareness about the region’s historic commemoration of 100 years since it was annexed to Uganda under the Anglo- Belgian Agreement. The agreement accorded official recognition to the present boundary of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The region which consists of the districts of Adjumani, Arua, Koboko, Maracha-Terego, Moyo, Nebbi and Yumbe is a multi- ethnic centre consisting of four ethnic groups – Lugbara, Alur, Madi and Kakwa.
The torch will be carried throughout the 8 districts of the region by the Ugandan Tourism ambassador Suzan Kerunen.
Oulannya equally implored the region’s leaders to assess historical landmarks and challenges to prepare for a better future.
“It is important to commemorate events because it helps us ask fundamental questions on where we came from, where we are and where we should be. It is a fundamental process of assessing our progress and challenges,” Oulanyah added.
Elders from the region including former minister Eric Adriko, Hellen Oyelu and Deputy Leader of Government business Gen Moses Ali commonly referred to as ‘the lion of West Nile’ said the region needs more efforts for development and that the youth should take the lead.
Kerunen cited the need to harness the tourism potential of the region by engaging in intense marketing.