Nigeria today joined her counterpart across the globe to celebrate the Commonwealth Day 2017. This year’s theme was tagged “A Peace Building Commonwealth”, this was a follow up to the 2016 theme “An Inclusive Commonwealth”.
Recall that the commonwealth with a free membership status is mostly dominated by countries who were former colonies of Great Britain except for Rwanda and Mozambique who later joint voluntarily.
The commonwealth was first celebrated in 1898 as “Empire Day” until in 1958 when it was then renamed. The celebration of Commonwealth Day has always provided an opportunity for 52 member nations to promote shared values of peace, democracy and equality of member’s diversity.
The Commonwealth Day celebration which serves as a melting pot of the various activities of member nations and their various cultures, is one of the most important and popular event on the calendar of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations (CPA) where series of activities are celebrated on the second Monday in March every year.
As is the tradition, this year’s celebration took place within the National Assembly Complex. In his welcome address, the Clerk to the National Assembly Alhaji Mohammed Ataba Sani Omolori spoke on the importance, attached to this day since it started 16 years ago with the return of democracy to Nigeria. The CNA in his speech, carefully enumerated the previously celebrated themes of the Commonwealth Day celebration and how important and impacting it had on member nations, particularly Nigeria.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, while giving his words of advice to the internally displaced youths who were his guest at the occasion, urged the children to be catalyst of peace and charged them that having been expelled by violence, as you grow up, dedicate yourself to the pursuit of peace so that that same thing that happened to you will not happen to your children. Be catalyst of peace wherever you go. The pupils later presented a peace logo to the speaker.
The speaker further assured the pupils that they will soon return to their homes while collaborating with his colleagues on the provision of logistics arrangements. Hon. Dogara thanked the chairman, Board of Trustees of Life Builders initiative for Education and Social integration, Mr. Samuel Olatunji David for championing the Education of these internally displaced children.
The CNA M. A. Sani Omolori reminded his audience that this year’s theme, “A peace Building Commonwealth” is a follow-up on that of 2016 (an inclusive commonwealth). He further recapped that “as an association that focuses on the
promotion of the ideals of parliamentary democracy, any initiative taken to prevent the resumption of violent conflict is commendable.
The CNA further urged the eighty youths who were drawn from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Kuchigoro camps within the F.C.T, that peaceful solutions to conflict requires patience, listening skills and strong negotiation skills. The message of the Queen of England as head of Commonwealth was presented by Honourable Umaru Jibrin Buba, Deputy House Leader/CPA Representative West Africa.
The vote of thanks was given by Hon. Samuel Ikon, Chairman House Committee on Inter-parliamentary Relations.
Gyara John Umaru