By TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA
IT was Chief Ekete Obosi who once said that there is no greater spectacle in the world than watching the celebration of youths. Since the earliest civilisation, the young, virile and resilient members of the society had borne the burden of giving a fresh start to an already disenchanted hope, for, on their shoulders lie the dream of restoring hope and lost opportunity to the next generation.
And in the last two weeks, it has been a scintillating spectacle, as children across the length and breath of Nigeria trooped out, danced, sang, marched and spoke to power, in celebration of this year’s Children’s Day.
Omoyele Sowore, former student leader at the University of Lagos, and now publisher of Sahara Reporters, must have spoken the minds of many Nigerian children when he said: “In my home country, the elders gathered together today, they looked at the young people and decided to grant them only one day; they chose tomorrow of all days for the youth to lead, then they called the youths leaders of tomorrow, knowing that tomorrow is just a day that no one will ever see.”
While accepting the appendage ‘leaders of tomorrow’, children are, however, not waiting for tomorrow to come before making their voices heard and demonstrating the ability to be tomorrow’s leaders today.
In Lagos, it was the common theme that reverberated through most of the activities held to celebrate the Children’s Day across the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
Ikorodu: Debating For Mental Performance
Chairman of Ikorodu North LCDA, Adeola Jokomba (left) congratulating winners of the Nutricima Children’s Day debate, Fatima Sani and Ebunoluwa Adedokun, pupils of Lara Narrow Way School, Ikorodu, who won N100,000 for their school… last week.
AT Ikorodu North LCDA, for brilliantly marshalling strong points in defence of the proposition that milk consumption contributes to mental performance, pupils of Lara Narrow Way School, Ikorodu, Fatima Sani and Ebunoluwa Adedokun, won for their school the first prize and N100,000 cash in a schools’ debate organised by Nutricima Limited, to mark the 2012 Children’s Day and World Milk Day celebrations.
The prize was N50,000 from Nutricima. However, impressed by the performances of the young debaters, the chairman of Ikorodu North LCDA, Adeola Jokomba, who was the special guest at the event, donated an extra N50,000 to the winning school. The chairman also expressed satisfaction with the Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities of Nutricima Limited and its support for the LCDA, where the factory is sited.
He urged parents to ensure good nutrition for their wards. “A poor diet has horrendous impact on the kids because malnutrition is usually undetected and not treated. It must also be demystified that a good diet is not an expensive meal, but rather a serving that contains the necessary nutrients needed for rapid growth and development of the child.”
Lara Narrow Way narrowly defeated Difas Primary School, represented by Chiwendu Chigereokwu and Wilson Andem, who opposed the motion, while Little Saints Montessori School, Ilupeju, came third.
The contest was organised as part of a twin celebration of the 2012 Children’s Day and advocacy on milk consumption for the World Milk Day on June 1, a United Nations programme coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, according to Nutricima Head of Marketing, Mrs. Wande Oluwasegunfunmi.
Ejigbo: Giving Expression To Visual Arts
CHILDREN of public and private schools in Ejigbo LCDA, who attended the Children’s Day celebration at Ejigbo mini stadium, had fun while it lasted, as they played together, ran round the stadium and occasionally, danced to the music supplied by a Dee-Jay, while others sat and stared under the canopies.
The arrival of the council chairman, Kehinde Bamigbetan, made the children, numbering over 500 from 26 schools, ecstatic. The programme began with a march past by the schools, with the chairman returning their salute. Frenzy was added to the parade, as participating schools tried to outdo each other and impress the audience, swelled by passersby, with dazzling acrobatic displays.
One unique feature of this year’s celebration was the introduction of a drawing competition among junior and senior secondary students. The competition, according to Bamigbetan, is an effort to discover and develop hidden talents in the young ones, especially in drawing and painting. This was held in the indoor hall of the stadium while other activities were taking place on the field.
Explaining the concept for the competition, the students’ Art Instructor and Public Relations Officer of the Society of Nigeria Artists, Yusuf Durodola, said the exercise titled, Ejigbo In The Eyes Of Children, was organised for students to express, through various forms of visual arts, how much of Ejigbo they know.
At the end of the competition, Bamigbetan and other dignitaries returned to the hall to inspect the drawings by the students. To their surprise, the level of creativity displayed by the students, beat everybody’s imagination. They were able to give expression to their skills and knowledge, with drawing and paintings of important monuments and buildings in the council area.
Winner of the senior secondary school category, Miss Okpeke FiniEre Glory, drew the aerial view of the Jakande Estate, Oke-Afa, indicating some blocks of flats adjacent to the main road within the estate. The drawing was a spectacle to behold. The winner of the junior secondary school category, Master Oyekola Hamed, drew the logo of the Ejigbo LCDA, which was also a masterpiece.
Bamigbetan commended the participating students and gave the assurance that his administration would do everything in its power to bring them to limelight. He presented certificates of participation to the students and special prizes to the winners.
Isolo: Spreading The Gospel Of Vocational Education
AT the Isolo LCDA, no drums were rolled out to mark the Children’s Day. It was rather a brainstorming session held at the council secretariat on how to enhance vocational education and use of library among the youth.
Organised in conjunction with 1609 Royale, the event sought to collectively create awareness on the need for every young person to develop and cultivate a vocational skill, as well as learning about life skills and personal development.
Representatives from schools in the council area were the Eko Girls’ High School, Okota; Okota High School, Okota; Estate Primary School, Ilewe Meta; Ansar-ud-deen Primary School, Isolo; Model Primary School, Ire-Akari; and Estate Primary School, Ajao Estate.
According to the MD/CEO of 1609 Royale, Ms. Ibidun Odushina, “the potentials of talent and intelligence are innate in everyone, but it is imperative to discover them young. This is why we are motivating our youths towards self-discovery as tomorrow’s society builders.
“Before now, the saying was ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’, but not anymore. Our youths are no longer idle, especially with the influx of modern communication gadgets. They are expending their energies through social media platforms like Facebook. It is, therefore, the responsibilities of adults around to rechannel such energies into productive uses, through vocational education,” she said.
Chairman of Isolo LCDA, Shamsudeen Abiodun Olaleye, said his administration decided to use this year’s celebration of children to host youths at a roundtable because in Europe and the United States, skilled labour in many vocations pays more than white-collar jobs.
“It is important to be skilled, to have a decent means of livelihood. We are ready in Isolo to invest in this area and very soon, we shall lay the foundation for a vocational centre in Ire-Akari Estate, which will be ready and fully operational within the next six months,” he said.
“This is how we want to address the problem of youth unemployment. Many of them are waiting for admission into universities that would not come; others have graduated, waiting for a job that is not available. It is just right at this period of their lives for them to look inwards and see what they can do with their hands that can bring about a decent living for them.
“This is why we are stressing that apart from academic pursuit, they should be skilled in a vocation now that they are young before their habits are already formed.”
Onigbongbo: Walking To Preach Road Safety
IT was not party time, too, at Onigbongbo LCDA, Ikeja, as hundreds of teenagers, students, teachers and parents marched on the streets of Allen Avenue to raise awareness about road safety and responsible behaviour, while on the road.
Led by the group, Nigerians Unite For Road Safety (NUFORSA) in collaboration with the council and partnership with Kingsize Place, Olam and Pepsi, the parade distributed leaflets, urging Nigerians to commit to the 10 Commandments of Road Safety.
They include: Use a seat belt when in the car; wear a helmet on a motorcycle; drive at a safe speed and distance; do not drive under the influence of alcohol; and do not use a mobile phone when driving.
Others are: Be visible as a pedestrian or motorcyclist; know and respect the Highway Code; maintain your vehicle in a good condition; be trained and licensed for the vehicle; and know what to do in case of a crash.
In a chat with The Guardian, the Programme Coordinator of NUFORSA, Adedapo Oyedipe, noted that road accidents is one of the fastest causes of death, “which is why we are teaching kids on how to be safe on the road. The road do not belong to the motorists alone, it is to be shared by drivers, pedestrians and cyclists,” he said.
“In addition, there is the urgent need to stem the tide of road rage. It is not to our safety if everybody behind the wheel is frustrated, angry and inconsiderate to other road users. For the kids, it is important they concentrate on the road and walk on the left-hand side in order to see incoming vehicles.”
Speaking on what they want the government at the three tiers to do for them on the Children’s Day, the pupils, mostly attending public schools, unanimously said they want their school’s facilities, including toilets, to be refurbished, as well as equipping their schools with computers and ICT gadgets.