PEACE CORPS: TAKEAWAYS FROM 2019 INT’L PEACE DAY CELEBRATION

BY ROGERS EDOR OCHELA

In keeping faith with its yearly tradition, Peace Corps of Nigeria, on Saturday, 21st September, 2019, decided to join the rest of the world to do what it knows how to do best–commemorate the 2019 Edition of International Day of Peace in grand style.
For an event that was painstakingly put together by the Central Planning Committee headed by the Deputy National Commandant, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Patriot Edet Ekpeyoung, its resultant outcome did not disappoint as it was a resounding success.
The activities of the day commenced with the Marathon Peace March, which took off from Banex Bridge and terminated at the Corps Headquarters in Gwarimpa, and eventually climaxing with the epochal Candlelight Session, Public Lecture cum conferment of Awards held at Evelyn & Eve Events Centre and Resorts, 3rd Avenue, Gwarimpa Abuja. It was indeed a night to behold and treasure.
In his speech at the occasion, the Special Guest of Honour and Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege represented by his Special Assistant, Civil Society Organizations, Princess Modupe Ozolua, expressed happiness with Peace Corps and the willingness of the National Assembly to partner with it promoting peace, security and environmental protection.
In his own welcome address, the National Commandant, Dr Dickson A. O. AKoh, who expressed his appreciation to all those who honoured the invitation, stressed that it was an indication of their support for the ‘’collective goals and aspirations towards peace-building and conflict-free Nigeria’’.
Dr Akoh, who lamented the inexplicable level of violence that has gripped Nigeria in recent times, further noted that the nation cannot attain its full potentials in the midst of this avoidable crises, just as he enjoined all well-meaning individuals in the polity to step in with the necessary ‘correcting fluid’ with a view to halting the carnage in the land.
While praying for a quicker negotiation out of the contrived security logjam, the National Commandant commiserated with all the families who lost their loved ones to the wanton security crises in the country.
In his Lecture, the Guest Speaker and Director-General of Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, erudite Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi, who spoke extempore on global warming, desert encroachment, advised youths to see themselves as vanguards in the arduous task of tackling the enormous challenges of climate change. He, however, assured that he would be deeply involved in all Peace Corps activities, especially those that have to do with global warming.
The major highlight of the event was the presentation of Senior Advocate of Peace (SAP) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ambassador’s Awards to some deserving Nigerians. Amongst those who bagged the SAP Award were His Royal Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja 11, the Oni of Ife, who was ably represented at the occasion and Dr Augustine Nwazunku.
And the recipients of the SDGs Ambassador Award included: Mr. Christopher Ishodaro, Alh. Musa Shehu Isiwele, Adiwu Paul Adara, Dr Raymond Edoh and Mr. Obioma King Onwuneme.
Lest I forget, three youths emerged as winners of the Marathon Peace contest with various consolation prizes. They are Fenu Ismaila, who emerged the first winner with the prize of N100,000.00; Mr. Utsafa Friday, the 2nd runner up with a prize of N50,000.00 and Jacob Jere, the 3rd runner up who smiled home with N25,000.00.
Similarly, two boys and three girls were given scholarship for one academic session (one year).
This year’s International Peace Day Celebration may have come and gone, but the energy, time and various sacrifices made by the Chief Host, Dr Akoh and the members of the Central Planning Committee to ensure its unquantifiable success will not be in vain and will certainly not go unrewarded. Whatever reservations anyone may have about this year’s edition of International Peace Day Celebration, the truth still remains immutable that even in the midst of several paralyzing challenges confronting the Corps, it is to the eternal credit of its leadership that it was still able to gingerly navigate its way through such knotty ills to package this wonderful event.
So, as all eyes are fixed on the next edition of this wonderful annual ritual, hopes are rife that peace, the utmost quest of all mortals, would have been substantially attained before drums are rolled out next year in commemoration of the 2020 edition.

Ochela is the media consultant to Peace Corps of Nigeria.