In line with the tradition on every May Day, workers in Nigeria and beyond held rallies and protests to draw attention to their plight.
Beyond the ample opportunity May Day presents to demand a better deal from employers, political leaders, rights activists, religious leaders seized the opportunity the day presents to comment on burning national issues of unemployment, insecurity ,leadership recruitment etc.
Such was not in short supply during the annual anniversary of Young Christian Workers (YCW) held at the Catholic Church of Ascension, Lagos.
Coincidentally, May 1, 2018, marked the 60th anniversary of YCW in Nigeria. With thousands of members that spread across 115 countries across the world, it has one vision: ‘To create a world where young people make a difference, in fact are the difference , to enable the transformation needed in order for everyone to live a life of dignity, worthy of the creator.’
While speaking on the strides made by YCW in its sixty years of existence in Nigeria, President of YCW Nigeria, Prince Paul Mary-Williams, said the movement’s engagements are engineered into various entrepreneurial efforts, trainings and job fairs through its various directorates.
His words: “ The YCW Nigeria’s achievements these 60 years have helped young people to grow in ideologies, shaping their work experiences, better enlightened future, spiritual growth and wisdom of God in Evangelism… Our development skills and various workshops, seminars and sponsorship effort have also helped this movement to yield most of its desired aims.’’
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of the Metropolitan SEE of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins called on governments at all levels to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He said: “ In Nigeria today, for anybody to have work is a feat and so we want to say congratulations to workers. Of course, we must know too that the government is not the only employer but we expect government to be able to provide an enabling environment so that wherever a person is working, whether in a private sector or personal business would be able to still break even and carry on with the work without too much stress and have hope for retirement.’’
For his part, Archbishop Emeritus of the Metropolitan SEE of Lagos, Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, urged youths to embrace politics and make a difference in the political space.
“ Man is a political animal as such he has right to participate in political activities to help their fatherland by being patriotic. It depends on your education leaning too. Find the area to focus in politics. Generally, the youth should strive to make a difference in any political position they are entering.’’
Commenting on the security challenges in Nigeria, Okogie said, “ My latest article titled: “ We are watching and waiting’’ and the most recent where I reprimanded Buhari not to listen to whistleblowers and flatterers to force himself into second term because he has performed poorly on security with frequent herdsmen killings, Boko Haram bombings and random abductions. The security system is poor and our borders are porous.’’
He added: “ Our borders are made porous during election period to enable foreigners come in and vote. There should be recruitment of sincere and patriotic Nigerians across the nation and not from a particular zone. The fight against insecurity should be sincere and not used to score cheap political goals.’’
But the Chaplain of Young Christian Workers, Lagos, Very Rev. MSGR. Livinus Ukah, believes Nigeria has not done enough for its youths in terms of job opportunities and participation in governance.
He said, “Those in power should follow the legacies of the founding fathers, especially equal distribution of national cake. The youth must be fixed in all sectors of Nigerian establishments.’’
He continued: “ People are always re-informed by this statement, “ the young are the future leaders.’’ The time is here. Macron of France has shown that the time has come for the youth to take up the mantle of leadership. Time will come when the youth will make it from bottom to top, at that time, justice and peace will be born in Nigerian polity.’’
One of the highlights of the 60th anniversary celebration was the presentation of awards to Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers. Among those honoured was former Features Editor of The Daily Times, Mr Gbubemi God’s Covenant. Gbubemi won the 2018 YCW Pressman of the year award.
This year’s four -day YCW anniversary climaxed with May DAY celebration, raffle draw and award presentation. Preceding the celebration were international conference, interactive session and prison visitation.