The Street Journal Magazine Forum, on Sunday held a prayer session in remembrance of the youth corpers who were brutally cut down in the violence that trailed the announcement of the results of the 2011 Presidential elections. The programme was held at the Beatrice Hall of Westown Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
While delivering his opening remarks, Wole Arisekola, the Publisher of Street Journal disclosed that the forum was created to bring all Nigerians regardless of tribe, ethnic orientation, religious affiliation and languages together to act as one in order to move the nation forward. Speaking further, Mr. Arisekola noted that “all the problems of this nation have roots embedded in corruption. Remove corruption from this nation and we will have a nation where everything works.”
“After the killings, over 200 people were arrested but till date, none has been prosecuted”, Arisekola observed. He also noted that the gallant corpers might be ordinary to the Government; they are beloved by their families and the Street Journal Forum. He thereafter pointed out that the forum has decided to continue to hold remembrance prayers for them every 1st of July.
Prayers sessions were held for the late corpers according to Christian and Islamic faiths. Most of the prayers centred on the families and friends left by the departed as forum members prayed that God would comfort them, strengthen them and uphold them. Prayers were also said for Nigeria. The late youth corpers include Akonyi Ibrahim (Kogi State), Ukeoma Ikechukwu Chibuzor (Imo State), Gbenjo Ebenezer Ayotunde (Osun State), Teidi Tosin Olawale (Osun State), Nkwazema Anselm Chukwunonyerem (Imo State), Okpokiri Obinna Michael (Abia State), Adowei Elliot (Bayelsa State), Adewunmi Seun Paul (Ekiti State) and Adeniji Kehinde Jehleel (Osun State),
While speaking at the event, Cdr Collins Ehimiaghe disclosed that such bloodshed is neither necessary nor good for the land. He noted that till now, lives are still being lost in the country through violence. While noting that one of the problems being faced by the forceful removal of leaders, he observed that most of the countries that forcefully removed their leaders recently are yet to stabilize. He pointed out that it is always difficult to start a new structure from a collapsed one. He urged Nigerians to be productive, having noted that there is too much reliance on government revenue.
Tomi Olagunju who presented a paper titled “What Our Attitude Should Be to the Emerging Trend” commended the convener of the forum. He noted that instead of reacting to issues with a coordinated approach, Nigerians react in haphazard manners. “We react, we get angry and within two weeks, everything fizzles out. Our reactions must command change”, he said.
Olagunju advised that on the issue of youth corpers posted to volatile areas, a communiqué should be issued by the forum against sending the sweat of parents to the gallows. He also advised members to serve as information agents to the public. And on the bribery scandal that trailed the fuel subsidy probe, he advised that the convener should address the press in order to ensure that the issue is not swept under the carpet. While stating that Nigerians need to pray, he also emphasized that people need to work towards the actualization of the prayers being said for Nigeria.
Another member, Dr. Temi spoke on reaching the needy. She urged members to help make life easier for others by giving. That, according to her will help “relieve poverty”. She called on people to give items that they no longer have need of but that are still in good condition including clothes and books to charity. She disclosed that members of the forum can go to places where they have needs and offer help.
A second paper, titled “Tips For Unstoppable Success” was delivered by Ayodeji Odukoya. He told members that to be successful; they must set sight on specific goals, raise their expectations to match the expected goals, develop and unstoppable attitude, become problem solvers and develop themselves.
In the course of the deliberation, Bose Salisu advised youth corpers who have just been posted to volatile areas to challenge such postings. She stated that the phrase “the perpetrators will be brought to book” has become a song whenever innocent people are killed. On his own part, Agboola Odunfa advised everyone to get to know the representatives they elected in all cadres so as to be able to push for positive change.
Mr. Arisekola thereafter stated that the $ 620,000 bribe issue will not be allowed to go away. He also disclosed that the forum will continue criticize the Government until positive change is obtained.
Arasomwan Edosa pointed out that the forum should go beyond criticism and should ensure that its members get into the realm of decision making. Mr. Edosa urged members to go back into reading. He encouraged members who are unable to secure employment to employ themselves by starting something.
Members searching for employment later submitted their curriculum vitae.