Time has come when we shall merge action with words! A time when we shall preach less and act more! For action speak louder than words. We don’t need more conferences but more contracts. We don’t need more workshops but more workmen and working tools. We don’t need more theoretical and ideological preacher we need practical and pragmatic preachers, for practice makes perfect. And as St. James rightly declares, “Faith without work is dead” (James 2:17).
All the various bills that were approved by government that were not implemented are dead. The wonderful communiqués that were released by the Church leaders at the end of their meetings that has little or nothing to do with the existential lives of the people are equally dead! All the unfulfilled promises made either by politician, religious leaders and even traditional rulers are dead. Education without result, without goal, without value and without gainful employment is dead. The so-called UN Sustainable Development Goals, without proper implementations and actualization are equally dead. We need to talk less and act more! This is the only way we can contribute to the actual transformation of our society.
In attempt to actualize the theme of 2018 International Youth Day, which is “Safe Space for the Youths”, a Space has been created where the young people all over the world could express themselves and participate in most youth-related issues and other sporting activities. August 12, 2018 was indeed a historical and unforgettable day, especially for the young people at the rural areas. Youths from different parts of the country gathered at the International Youth Centre, at Maryland, Egoro Amede to celebrate their first International Youth Day. It was indeed a memorable day, a day the young people will live to remember.
Incidentally the theme of this year’s International youth day is “Safe Space for the youths.” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres while marking this year’s International Youth Day declares, “The world’s young people need safe spaces – both physical and digital – where they can “freely express their views” and “pursue their dreams.” This space, according to Guterres, has to be safe so as to offer security and dignity for youths and help make the world ‘better for all.’
The idea of creating a safe space for the young people is in no doubt a welcome development. Without safe space young people cannot actualize their potentialities. In fact, the creation of safe space for young people is long overdue. Our young people does not just need safe space they also need enough space. Without creating enough space all our young people cannot be carried along. A limited space can only accommodate a limited number of young people. It is only when the young people are given enough space that they can excel. Hence, to whom much is given much is expected! Without enough space nobody will feel cheated or left-out!
A space is not just a figment of the mind, it is not just something that exist as an idea. A space can only exist when it is created and if possible ready to be occupied. It is in view of this that the Director of Int’l Youth Empowerment and Rehabilitation Centre (IYERC), Rev. Fr. John Damian Adizie, took it upon himself to celebrate a safe and conducive space the young people at the rural areas. He has actually created a safe space where the young people can freely exhibit their gifts and talents without any constraint and financial intimidation.
International Youth Centre is located at Egoro Amede, the out-sketch of Ekpoma in Esan West Local Government Area in Edo State of Nigeria. It is a multipurpose centre with a Missionary boarding School, an Orphanage home, a Mental Rehabilitation Centre, and other Youth empowerment initiatives. This centre was established for the liberation, rehabilitation and empowerment of the youths across the world. The centre has transformed the lives of so many young people.
Directly or indirectly this centre is solving the problem of insecurity, insurgencies and unemployment which is a major problem in our country today. Most of the young people, especially those who were initiated into occult, those that were deported, ex-prostitutes and even ex-prisoners now have a place where they could be rehabilitated for the betterment of their lives and for the well being of the society at large.
The International Youth celebration started with an opening Mass, during which prayers were offered for the various intentions of the youths all over the world. In his homily, the founder of IYERC, Rev. Fr. John Damian, thanked the Almighty God for the gift of this wonderful space which He has created for the young people, a space where the young people could freely seek the face of God – a life transforming space indeed!
He encouraged the young people to start doing for themselves what the government could not do for them: “If the government fails to celebrate you, you should celebrate yourselves. If the government fails to empower you then start empowering yourselves, even the society at large fails to recognize you, you should start recognizing yourself. If nobody is willing to help you, you should start helping yourselves – for heaven help those who help themselves!” The essence of this gathering, according to him, was to inaugurate this safe space where the youths can actualize their potentialities. During the prayer of the faithful all the youths from different states offered prayers for the intention of their fellow youths in their own various languages.
The social event kicked off with a keynote address presented by different participants in most of the various languages across the nation; followed by a debate between the Young Seminarians and Young Sisters. The theme of the debate is: SAFE SPACE FOR THE YOUTHS. The young Sisters were able to defend the motion which says that “Young people need more Space in order to excel in life.” The chief moderator of the Debate, Professor Mrs Obaze of Ambrose Alli University expressed satisfaction over the performance of the young people, especially during the debate competition. She thanked God for using the Director of IYERC, Rev. Fr. John Damian Adizie, to create this conducive platform where the young people could showcase their gifts and talents.
After the debate there was a table tennis competition between the young Seminarians and a Youth at the International Youth Centre. The Seminarians emerged winner in the table tennis competition. A Volley Ball match took place between Edo youths and IYERC youths. The climax of the event was a football Match between Edo Youths and IYERC youths. The match ended in five-five draw. The Edo youths emerged winner of the tournament through a penalty shootouts to separate the two teams.
At the end of all the competitions there was a well prepared refreshment and entertainment with the presentation of prize and trophy to all the participants, including the winners of the tournament. Then, followed by cultural dance and dance for all. The atmosphere was enveloped with joy and jubilation, with a calm and peaceful weather.
Most of the youths expressed their joy and satisfaction. The captains of each team expressed their appreciation and satisfaction on behalf of their teams. As they thanked the organizers of this great event they also used the medium to appeal for continuity of this great event. They promised to get other young people who were not aware of this outing fully involved in the next tournament.
Some elders of Egoro Amede who were present at the event expressed their joy. For most of them, the space which the Rev. Fr has created for the young people in their village is indeed a welcome development. They appealed to the Director of IYERC to make this event an annual event, so as bring their children home and abroad together, at least once in a year.
The Matrons and Patrons of the youths also thanked God and the organizers of this great event, especially the Reverend Fr John Damian whom God has used to create this wonderful platform where the young people can freely showcase their gifts and talents. They all look forward to more space and opportunities for the youths, not just in sports and religious events but also in political field.
At his closing remark the Director of IYERC promised to extend this tournament to all the young people across the 36 states in Nigeria, especially those at the rural areas. Responding to the appeal of the elders of the land he also promised to organize this tournament annually, especially during the International youth Day celebration, around August 12th every year. With this International Youth Centre, you will agree with me that the future of our young people is not just bright, it is also glorious!