Opinion

Pope’s Scholas Occurrentes Foundation Coming to Nigeria

. . Obi Calls for Christmas Reflection

The globally-acclaimed Foundation created and promoted by Pope Francis, the Scholas Ocurrentes Foundation, is working to come to Nigeria.

The Foundation which focuses on transforming the youth through education and sports, and which was initiated by Pope Francis as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Bueno Aires, Argentina, is today working all over the world.

The Holy Father strongly believes that to make the world better, peaceful, and reduce inequality, education and sports development for the youth must be invested in.

In recognition of his passion for and commitment to education and youth development, Mr Obi was invited by the Leadership of the Foundation to its annual meeting which took place last Friday, December 13, at the Vatican, to meet with the Pope, the Chairman of the Foundation (Jose Maria del Corall), and other Directors to enable him to witness what the Foundation was doing in various parts of the world with the intention of working with him to bring the Foundation to Nigeria.

Also on the entourage were five First Ladies from Latin American countries, namely: the First Lady of Belize, HIs Excellency, Kim Simplis Barrow; the First Lady of Columbia, HE Maria Juliana Ruiz Sandoval; the First Lady of Paraguay, HE, Silvana Lopez Moreira; the First Lady Argentina, HE Juliana Awada; and that of Brazil, HE Michelle de Paula Firmo Reinaldo Bolsinaro. They came with youths from their countries who are already benefiting from the work of the Foundation.

Also in attendance were renowned artistes, writers, and sports men and women.

Speaking to the Press on his return to Nigeria, Mr Obi said the Holy Father and the Leadership of the Foundation were very interested in supporting education and sports in Nigeria. He said there would be further meetings with managers of the Foundation to conclude modalities for the operation of the Foundation in Nigeria.

Mr Obi reiterated that the greatest asset of any nation was its people, and that the most important key for unlocking that asset was education. He emphasized that Nigeria must aggressively invest in the education of her youths to have a better future:

‘Our underdevelopment and the various problems we are going through today are the cumulative effect of poor leadership that did not adequately invest in education yesterday,’ he said.

It will be recalled that in 2000/2001, schools were closed down in Anambra State, leading to the state being at the bottom in external examinations. However, with Mr. Peter Obi, through policies which saw education given the highest priority, the state regained lost grounds and in 2011, 2012 and 2013, was the number one in external examinations.

When JAMB and other examination bodies embraced computer examinations, Anambra had the most computer-compliant students.

Meanwhile, Obi has called on Christians to take the opportunity of the Yuletide to reflect on the mystery of their salvation, which, according to him, ‘started with the birth of Christ who paved a new way for us to attain eternity.’

Speaking further, Obi said the period of Yuletide called for celebration, but, more importantly, that it offered the opportunity to live the ideals of charity, love, peace and harmonious co-existence, which Christ preached.

‘Let us all reach out and touch somebody else in a positive way. Let us give a hand to the less fortunate that they may rise and walk with us,’ Obi submitted.

He called on all Nigerians to bear in mind, while celebrating, the challenges facing the country, especially the hardship occasioned by the cumulative years of bad leadership, and prepare adequately to confront them by addressing those issues that got the country to its current point.

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