Every May 27th, Nigeria celebrates Children’s Day – a special day to honour children, our leaders of tomorrow. In Nigeria, it is a public holiday and a time for primary and secondary school children to be given some nice treats.
Across the world, the simple message of this special day that is observed on different dates in various countries is the need for all members of the society to value and cherish our children. We need to renew our commitment to the protection of children’s rights and on a day like this, we should evaluate the extent to which our country has treated their welfare as priority.
Millions of Nigerians will honestly acknowledge the pathetic disposition of our government to some critical issues that affect children. While many parents suffer the effects of poverty and unemployment, millions of Nigerian children still lack access to basic education. Maternal and infant mortality rates are saddening. Other prevalent challenges such as insecurity, economic mismanagement, parlous healthcare system and miserable educational facilities further complicate the lives of our younger generation. Our children deserve free and compulsory education towards fully realizing their potentials.
Yet, I remain hopeful about the future. The commitment being demonstrated by a few organisations, individuals and state governments is cause for hope that one day, people of vision and great purpose can turn things around in Nigeria.
Children’s Day should not just be a day for parades on sports grounds and flowery political speeches that yield no effect till next year’s event; it must go beyind that. It is another opportuinty for each one of us to solemnly renew our commitment to the welfare and development of the young ones who are Nigeria’s hope for a better tomorrow.
Our children, must be taught to play their parts by shunning social vices, working hard and exhibiting good morals. Nigerian children and youths can become truly great if they embrace reading with the same zest being used to explore new technologies such as video games and social media. The growing sub-culture of using mobile phones to cheat during examinations must end.
As a mother, educationist and Senator, I pledge to remain committed to my long-existing interest in contributing towards the development and success of the young generation.
God bless Nigeria’s children. Happy Children’s Day!