Independence Day: ‘Stop chasing shadow, quest first revolution of mind – says a priest

The General Coordinator of the Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre, Osogbo, Rev.Fr. Peter has again re-emphasized the need for the Nigerian leaders to re-evaluate their approach to the matters of national interest especially, the myriads of challenges contending with the nation.
He stated this in his Independence message made available to the newsmen in osogbo, the capital of Osun state. Fr.Akinkunmi drew the attention of Nigerians and people at the helm of affairs of the country to place a priority on the sanctity of humans and their welfare most importantly, children who are seriously in need of direction to go in order to fulfill a purpose.
the detail of the piece is below

A GLANCE AT NIGERIA @ 60 THROUGH THE WINDOW OF OMAR FAROUQ’S PRISON CELL                                                      

Building a real reflection on the state of the nation on a presidential national broadcast in Nigeria is to start a wild goose chase. This is contrary and obviously strange to modern open-society where such broadcasts are the real basis of meaningful and progressive discussion on a nation.  It the price Nigeria pays for its breed of political elites. Their message is never known to present concrete facts that only the privilege of their position can furnish the nation. When and where they are in power, they have their own glamorous image of the country which any reasonable person can never stoop to share with them considering the nonconformity of such most times to known reality. The ruling elites usually have their ready-made image of how the country has been masterfully transformed during their regime. An image, which, they usually craft even before they are sworn into office. For them, the rest of the world which may see the country differently is either misinformed or biased. And so would never attend to such views objectively and with any sense of commitment.

Yet we cannot hide from the fact that those things that paint Nigeria @60 in noticeable colors on the global map are mostly uncontestably unpraiseworthy. One cannot, for instance, look away from the fact that Nigeria is rightly accounted for today by the international community as the nation with the fastest-growing population yet with dragging economic growth. How can it be surprising then that even though it is the seventh most populous country in the world, it strangely has the highest number of poor people globally? Nigeria by the assessment of the international community accounts for the highest mortality rate of children globally, and has the highest number of out-of-school children? And currently, Nigeria is said to have become the world capital of open defecation.  Boko Haram and the various acts of banditry and violence across the country, have placed Nigeria in the company of nations that constitute a threat to global security. What ugly feathers to wear on the cap of a nation celebrating 60th independence anniversary in the modern globalized world? In spite of all of these hard and scary facts, those who are in power anytime and anywhere in Nigeria, would always present the country as faring gloriously at least during their regime and their days of privilege when they had access to the public money-bags. All such dysfunctions and failures that their image-making projects fail to hide are projected as deeds of their predecessors either of the military era or the days of opposition party regime. Yet only a very few of them have never been in the military or in what they would later refer to as the opposition party before what they now claim as their party won election and held both the reins of power and the public money-bag.

Let us presume that if the leading citizens of Nigeria would not accommodate the view of adults that do not propagate their molded image of the nation, they would even if for curiosity admit an innocent child’s perspective of Nigeria @60 especially if without erring in drawing contours and shading colors it sets before all rational beings the true image of our nation as it is today.

Omar a 13-year-old boy was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Shari’a court in Kano on August 10 for blaspheming Allah in an argument with a friend. At 13, a child does not even yet have the capacity to decide about his religious beliefs and convictions. He still remains under the guidance of parents. Farouq yet has been in prison custody since February according to his legal counsel. The application of such punishment clearly violates the African Charter of Rights and Child Welfare.

Given the grave danger of prison sentence on a child’s future and the image of the country, it would be expected that the many constitutional means would have been immediately explored to make sure the child never gets near the prison gates. None of these was explored until the helpless Omar was jailed in February and sentenced in August. There can be no better time for the secular court as permitted under the constitution to immediately hear the appeal of the case and protect this vulnerable child. The governor of Kano state does not need to apply for Chinese loan in order to grant Omar state pardon which the constitution empowers him to do. Even if he fails to notice the danger before Omar because he is busy with the campaign for Edo gubernatorial election, we know also that the president does not need the approval of the National Assembly to do the same. The president, the governor of Kano State and the judiciary failed to notice the misery of a child under their care while Piotr Cywinski took a note from far way Poland and instantly threw himself into the matter to the extent of requesting to serve the jail term to save the boy from destruction.

Like the case of Omar Farouq, the many sufferings of children in Nigeria are not due to lack of resources. They are simply as a result of lack of goodwill by the political elite class to pursue the welfare of lives that do not share their blood.  This is the case with 3,600 children that Human Rights Watch reported Nigeria to have imprisoned between 2013 and 2019. The same reason accounts for the 10.5 million of Nigerian children that are not in school presently and 10.7% of children who die at birth in Nigeria as well as the 1.3 who are homeless street children. Since the return to democracy in 1999, there’s hardly a president that ruled the country who at least did not leave power as a grandfather. Governors of various states have all been either fathers or grandfathers. Yet one continues to wonder why these persons hardly reserve any reasonable place for child wellbeing in the actual implementation of fictitious policy direction. It is doubtful whether empathy is in any way involved in the self-application of Nigeria’s political elites in discharging the offices they hold on public trust.

The case of Omar Farouq particularly shows that even when what is needed is available to deal with the myriads of dangers confronting citizens of Nigeria, nothing would be done because, in reality, the political class is not interested and so does not care about the safety and wellbeing of the rest of their compatriots once their personal interests are protected.  In other words, what accounts for the misery of children in Nigeria, accounts for corruption, insecurity, underdevelopment, violence, growing division and loss of faith in the country. It is not inadequate resources but a lack of the will in the ruling elites to act for the common good.


@60, what Nigeria needs to overcome the multi-front battles tearing the nation apart is not an additional loan from China, or cancellation of debt profile. The way for Nigeria to find itself back on its lost path to glory is to invest whatever resources it would take to instill goodwill towards the common good first in the political elites then is every person who must live in this nation. This revolution of the mind is the only addition to our current pool of resources required to usher in the glorious face of Nigeria which the entire global community has sought, gazing in endless futility at the horizon. Whatever nation or individual offers Nigeria any form of support that does not tend towards instilling goodwill and patriotism in the ruling elites and the Nigerian people as a whole cannot be accounted either as friend or benefactor sincerely committed to rescuing the crumbling giant of Africa.

Rev Fr Peter Akinkunmi

General Coordinator

JDPMC, Osogbo

Children’s Day: “you are not alone in the journey of life”-JDPMC assures children

The Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre (JDPMC), Osogbo has reaffirmed her commitment towards care,support and protection of the rights of vulnerable children in Nigeria particularly Osun state communities.

The General Coordinator of the Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre, Rev.Fr.Peter Akinkunmi made this known in his Children’s Day message at the special outreach to the Orphanages in the state, in commemoration of the Children’s Day.

Fr.Akinkunmi stated that  this covid 19 pandemic has really had an unkind effect on children, schools are on-hold, children are not allowed to play on the playgrounds, so many things that excite children have been suspended indefinitely, similarly, children are experiencing the harshness of the economic challenges posed on adults, we are committed to protect  children being abused and facing tortures  as a result of  uncouth emotional outburst of adults, with the Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre  and her partner Kindermission werk the Children are not alone in the journey of life.

“One of our basic tenets in our organization is protection of children holistically. We carefully chose this occasion to show love to these children in order to mark their Day as it is true that majority of them might have never experienced such due to their background or circumstances of their birth. But beyond this clause, it is part of our mandate in our organization to show them we truly  love them  and  that they are important  to us,irrespective of their religion, sex,  social-status, tribe, background or colour, the Catholic church is known for her generosity and love wile protecting the dignity of the recipients of such services,

Let it be known that we are strongly committed to the matter of any child in this state, therefore no one should dare to assault or infringe on their rights. I want to assure them all that they are not alone in the journey of life because JDPMC is more than willing to help every child to access  a meaningful life.”, he affirmed.

In their separate remarks, Rev. Sr.Akinlotan Elizabeth of Little Angels of Fatima Osogbo and Mr.Babrinde of Children of Abiye Orphanages appreciated the kind gesture extended to the children which she described as a timely intervention that would not be taken for granted. They therefore pledged to do more as they receive grace from God.