By PRISCA SAM-DURU
Moral Re-Armament/ Initiatives of Change (MRA/IofC) held its annual prestigious programme, Celebrating the Unseen, recently amidst glitz and glamour at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos. The event which was in its 3rd season, attracted young musicians, comedians whose performances caused laughter throughout the programme, as well as distinguished guests across the country.
Also, adding to the soul lifting event was the presence of a revered statesman and first civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and International Women of Courage Awardee who is also the President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr Joe Odumakin.
There was performance of the hit song Kuchi Kuchi by Jodie, whose real name is Joy Odiete, which got the audience and organisers of the event on their feet, in a salsa dance style. Comedy by Papa B and a very young and talented standup comedian, simply known as CEO was exceptionally amusing and added to lighting up the evening. An MRA volunteer worker, Obas Ukoko, an amazing song writer and musician rented the air with his melodious voice. He performed a song he wrote for the forthcoming election in Nigeria which emphasises on the need for individuals to let their voices be heard. His song challenges Nigerians to be the answer to the nation’s teeming challenges, in order to bring about the much desired change. Ukoko’s second song, Help Is Coming…To Bring You Home Again was dedicated to the missing Chibok Girls. The very emotive song of hope filled the air with the assurance of the imminent home coming of the suffering children. Obas’ lyrics so much gave the precious children assurance that “The Angels of God will definitely bring them home again.”
Another young and talented musician, Toby Grey sang about her passion for music. Through the two special numbers that she rendered, she encouraged the youths to embrace change. She emphasised that since the future is in the hands of the youths, there is need for them to be agents of change and avoid being carried away by the craze for quick wealth. “We the youths can excel if only we work hard,” She re-echoed. The occasion also featured spoken word which was performed by award winning poet, Kemi Bakare popularly known as Chemistry.
The occasion featured issuance of diverse categories of Award to individuals who are making remarkable impact on the society but are not celebrated. They were described as “Lights in the Dark”. Amongst those accorded special recognition were Kola Oyeyemi, who was honoured for his consistent effort in promoting reading culture amongst Nigerian youth through his initiative ‘Ignite Nigeria’; talented singer, Praiz Adejo was recognised for his humanitarian act of sponsoring a child’s heart surgery with proceeds of his hit tract on ‘MTN Callers Tune’; Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola and Nicholas Ibekwe, a Senior Reporter with Premium Times. Late Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh was posthumously honoured for her courageous act along with the entire staff of the Medical Centre for containing the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus disease in Nigeria.
The Unseen who were celebrated included, Kola Adetunji, Mrs Oniyitan Abosede, Magdaline Gonsum and Awotoye Bukola, a student of Dew School, Sabo-Yaba, Lagos who have all been making great impact in changing the lives of people in their community.
Speaking earlier, Alhaji Lateef Jakande who was Chairman of the occasion commended MRA/IofC for their vision about helping to change the society and for being wise enough to recognise the contributions of unsung heroes to the growth of the nation. Alhaji Jakande who expressed hope in the survival of Nigeria, said “In My own view, this country will survive. We must work to save ourselves, there should be no cause for distress. Each day I look at Nigeria, I see a great nation with great future. In spite of Ebola in the continent and Boko Haram in the country, as well as every other challenge the country is facing, Nigeria must be great.”
Dr Odumakin who was Guest Speaker, expressed optimism that the existence of non profit organisations such as MRA/IofC with presence across the globe, which are committed to change, Nigeria, Africa and indeed, the entire world would change for the better. With her presentation titled, “Change, The Inevitable Possibility”, the social crusader regretted that in spite of years of democracy in Nigeria, citizens were yet to benefit from its dividends. She described the theme of her presentation as timely adding that its purpose was to help the nation get out of its present condition.
“Nigeria is lying critically ill in the intensive care unit with symptoms of a failing nation. People are so scared to be involved in activities that create change in the polity. Individuals expect transformation but do not like to leave their comfort zones while some have the mindset that change is impossible. Fear of the unknown prevents people from taking a bold step.” She seized the opportunity to call on the government to rescue the abducted Chibok school girls without further delay.