The Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu has said prosperity, peace and security remained a collective responsibility and perseverance of all citizens of the world and sued for the sustenance of peace in Nigeria in particular, describing it as the foundation of development for the country.
This was the Minister’s message last Monday while declaring open the 2023 Commonwealth day celebration with the theme: “Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future,” at the National Universities Commission (NUC) Auditorium, Abuja, which Nigeria joined 55 other commonwealth-nations to commemorate.
The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education (FME), Mr. Andrew Adejo, said the event was an opportunity to reawaken the essence of unity, love, peace and prosperity among the Commonwealth nations, noting that the existence of peace in any space of human aggregation or nation translated to progress, wealth and tranquility for any nation.
He added that a peaceful atmosphere enhances positive outcomes in trade, investment, human rights, democratic governance quality education and digitized learning. Most importantly, it also entrenches equity and equality, which in Nigeria and most commonwealth countries brings about the empowerment of youths, women and the girl-child.
Harping on the essence of peace, he said Nigeria and its citizens should always remember that the sustenance of peace and determination to make life better for one and all through collaboration and harmonious co-existence remained the fundamental DNA of the commonwealth group of nations.
In a keynote address, the Minister of State for Education, Honourable Goodluck Nana Opiah, noted that the continuous co-existence of the commonwealth member-nations and the yearly commemoration amidst other activities demonstrates that the Commonwealth charter remains invaluable in uniting member nations towards a common value and aspirations.
He said that the Commonwealth platform had remained a consistent tool in the pursuit of sustainable friendship, enduring peace, freedom, perseverance, strength as well as unity in diversity not only for its 2.5 billion people but the rest of the world.
The Minister of State disclosed that this year’s commemoration was significant because it coincided with a decade of signing the commonwealth charter on 11th March 2013 by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
He explained that the Commonwealth Charter enlisted the commitment of member-states towards the development of free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity in order to improve the lives of all the people of the commonwealth.
According to the Minister, Nigerian citizens should be proud of the significance of the Charter being a decade old and which also coincides with the last days of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.
He said this was more so for a President who had demonstrated so much commitment and kept faith with bequeathing a democratic society to Nigeria with his evident significant improvement of the country’s electoral processes.
He reminded the gathering that this year’s theme like others before it was all- encompassing, reiterating the need for the people and member states of the Commonwealth to continually network together to uphold sustainable peace and harmony that will guarantee a better brighter future for the common good of their citizens, especially the youth as well as the adolescents and young people.
He expressed joy that Nigeria was joining the rest of the member nations of Commonwealth to celebrate the youths in line with the Principle 13th of the Charter which recognizes the importance of young people to the Commonwealth.
He said that this reaffirmed the recognition of the positive and active role and contributions of young people in promoting development, peace, democracy and promoting other Commonwealth values, such as tolerance and understanding including respect for other cultures.
The Director, Education Support Services in the Ministry, Dr. L.I Giginna, in her welcome address, said that this year’s commemoration was quite unique being the first after His Majesty, Prince Charles III, acceded to the throne as King of the United Kingdom following the demise of the venerated Queen Elizabeth II.
She reiterated that the commonwealth day marked a decade of signing the Commonwealth Charter that positioned the member-nations as the golden globe and with the year being declared specially for the youth by the Commonwealth Heads of Government.
Dr. Giginna pointed out that the significance of the dove on the flag emphasizes that with peace and harmony, Economic growth and creation of wealth for the future is assured.
The Director Education Support Services also stressed the need to promote and strive towards sustainable as well as harmonious coexistence with one and all. She emphasised engagement in fruitful activities that will create wealth so as to secure a better future for young people and improve the lives of all Commonwealth citizens.
The Director said that the Ministry of Education wants to forge a common future devoid of tribalism, violence, incessant attacks on students and teachers, destruction of education infrastructure.
She noted that the vision of the Commonwealth projects included mutual respect for one and all, a virtue worthy of emulation by adolescents and young people for sustainable peace and harmony to prevail.
Dr. Giginna asserted that Nigeria has the largest population of Youth in the world with about 70% of the population under 30 and 42% under the age of 15, stressing that the education sector promoted and appreciates collaboration with development partners and will exploit all available aids for the promotion of the health and well-being of children and young people nationwide.
The King of England, Prince Charles III, in his message read at the event by Master Nnalue George Tobechukwu, said that the myriad & connections between the member-nations have sustained and enriched all the countries for more than seven decades, adding that commitment to peace, progress and opportunity would sustain commonwealth nations for many years.
The King said that the Commonwealth day was an occasion of particular pride for the Late Queen, a treasured opportunity to celebrate our commonwealth family, to whose service she dedicated her long and remarkable life.
Prince Charles stressed that the event marked the 10th Anniversary of the Commonwealth, which gave expression to its defining values, peace and justice, tolerance, respect and solidarity, care for the environment, and the most venerable among the nations. He concluded by saying that in each lies an imperative to act, and to make a practical difference in the lives of the 2.6 billion people who call the Commonwealth home.
Goodwill messages were delivered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Geoffrey Onyeama, who was ably represented by Ambassador Zubairu Dada; Minister for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mal. Mohammed Musa Bello, represented by Saliu Dahiru and the India High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. VSDL Surandrah.
Highlight of the event was the conferment of the 2023 Commonwealth Award of Excellence on the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu by the representative of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Nigeria, Mr. Olaseni Bayewumi Blankson.
At the event were the Executive Secretaries of: National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL; National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Prof. Paulinus Chijioke Okwelle; Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, among others.