It was more than a mere coincidence that Oxfam Nigeria via the Voice Project awarded grants to selected awardees on the 21st of September 2021, which is also International Peace Day (IPD). The theme for this year's IPD is 'Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world'. It is instructive that Oxfam awarded grants in various categories to promote equity, inclusivity, sustainability, social engineering/cohesion, democratic ideals, expansion of the civic space, etc. At the event, there were representatives from the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Correctional Service, National Orientation Agency (NOA), many NGOs and Special guests.
This was the media event for the 2020/2021 Voice Grantees inception. It was the very first time the media would be invited to witness the formal award of grants to 'Right-holders' (Oxfam's euphemism for grantees). Before now, similar events were held to commemorate the successful completion of projects by Right-holders. See for example dayokusa.blogspot.com/2021/04/inclusivity-social-cohesion.html. I was a special guest at the media parley. Oxfam Nigeria has doled out more than 4 million Euros to Right-holders in the past five years.
For me, the star of the show was Pelemo Nyajo a talented Poet living with disability from the stable of 'The Street Project', who set the stage with the 'soulful' rendition of her audacious poem titled 'My People', which is social satire, highlighting injustice via Police brutality, rights abuses, extortion, unequal access to social goods and services, etc. Let's take a sneak peek into Pelemo's mind via a few lines from her poem:
My People, My People by Pelemo Nyajo
My people, my people.
After I heard about the snake that swallowed millions of Naira,
I didn't believe there would be any greater show of tragi-comedy in Nigeria.
Nollywood hasn't failed, neither have the producers, but they have a superior
The Nigerian government, or should I say the government of UAR?
And they are at it again, teaching us that being born into Africa's giant means war.
Our bodies were crafted as defense in the fences of our mothers' wombs.
How could we hear that people died, holding the Nigerian flag, upholding their own nation?
They went six feet under...
Indeed, we are making history with stories that may never get into history textbooks...