‘I am a new parent in this school and this is my first time of attending a UN Day. I must admit that I have learnt a lot about the UN today. It is really great to see the children learning and enjoying themselves.’ – Mrs Yewande Ogunlana, a parent at Sunglee Formation School, Lagos.
The above comment of a member of the audience at this year’s United Nations Day in Lagos summarises the essence of 24 October every year. Since 1947 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 24 October as a day that “shall be devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations…” Nigeria and the rest of the world have remained consistently committed to the commemoration of the day universally known as the United Nations (UN) Day.
The 2013 UN Day was marked in Nigeria with pageantry as activities held simultaneously in Abuja and Lagos. The highlights of the celebration included ‘UN4U’ Video show, Military parade by a detachment of the Nigerian Peace Keeping Force; Dance Drama on Peace; and Mock UN General Assembly Session and Playlets by students of Primary and Secondary schools.
Anchoring the Lagos end of the commemoration, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, organised outreach to two schools: Tade Schools, Apapa and Sunglee Formation Schools, Lekki-Epe Express Way, Awoyaya. The events attracted a total of 434 people made up of 300 students, 67 teachers and 67 parents. The atmosphere was electrifying as students with flags of some UN member nations, sang for peace; presented UN Facts and staged a mock opening session of the UN General Assembly to the delight of the audience.
In his global message on the occasion, the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, noted that the United Nations Day ‘is a chance to recognize how much this invaluable Organization contributes to peace and common progress.’ He drew attention to how the United Nations came together this year on armed conflict, human rights, the environment and many other issues.
Mr Ki-moon added that the Millennium Development Goals had cut poverty in half adding that the world must maintain the momentum, craft an equally inspiring post-2015 development agenda and reach an agreement on climate change.
Speaking further on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) at the occasion, Mr Soremekun reiterated that the United Nations was committed to supporting the APRM and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD. He noted that the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), an initiative to transform the African nations, had deepened a democratic political culture among African governments and had fostered more principled leadership and constructive national dialogue.