Most of the states in Africa have failed woefully in meeting their obligations to the people. They have not respect for the principles of social contract, which forms the basis of governance. Social contract provides that the security and the welfare of the people shall be the primary aims of government.
The challenge here is that neither the government nor the governed is aware of the primary aims of government. If the government is aware, they are not living up to their responsibility and if the people are aware they are not agitating for it. Where some claim to agitate, they are not coordinated. If they are not coordinated in the fight for their very existence, it may mean they are not fully aware that their lives in a State depend on the pursuit of the tenets of the social contract.
The majority of our people suffer from abject poverty, while the leaders live in stupendous affluence. When the government talks about sacrifice, they do not tell the people the sacrifices its functionaries are going to make.
The existence of most of our people is already an abuse of their dignity of human person. It is my irresistible conclusion that abused parents and custodians will produce abuse children. It takes a lot of sanity and mental balance to raise abuse-free children. Many parents and custodians have been robbed of these two by the deadly twin of poverty and survival mentality.
I was in Ajegunle, a densely populated area in Lagos State, Nigeria. My mandate was to speak to parents on children’s rights and child protection. I was to charge them not to abuse their children. As I walked into the hall and saw the parents I was to address, my spirit left me completely. Poverty was palpably written on their faces. They were obviously a troubled set of people. Understanding the meaning of abuse and that poor people are limited in their options to protect their children, I began my talk by first addressing the state of the parents. I outlined the suffering of the parents and how difficult it is for them to give their children a hope and a future. I ended up appealing to them to do the best they can to help their children.
For us to really understand the state of degeneracy in Africa, permit to focus for a while on my country, Nigeria, What is the state of our nation today? Let me illustrate it thus: Somalia has been characterized as a failed state and is one of the poorest and most violent states in the world, having been at civil war since 1991 and has no central government control over most of the country’s territory. But do you know that life expectancy in Somalia is higher than that of Nigeria? Life expectancy in failed state Somalia is 48. 2 in general, 46.9 for men and 49.4 for women while in Nigeria general life expectancy is 46.9, men, 46.4 and women, 47.3. Life expectancy in Sudan, which has been at war since 1955, a year before its independence in January 1, 1956 is 58.6 in general, 57.1 for men and 60.1 for men. Considering the foregoing social index, could it be that our nation is at war?
I have told as many as care to listen that the abject poverty in our land is a major threat to child protection. Poverty itself is an abuse. Or how do we describe a situation where there are no social support services like health and education to aid child development. A little wonder Nigeria has been identified as the worst country for a child to be born in 2013 by The Economist.
My charge today is to those who are into the child protection crusade in Africa. We must as a matter of supreme urgency agitate for better governance and eradication of poverty and establishment and sustainability of social support service. My call to government is that they need to settle down to the business of governance, if not for anything but for the best interest of our children. Abraham Lincoln makes a case for our children when he submitted that the state of humanity is in the hands of the child.
Thank you for visiting. I urge you to Think the Child…Think Today…Think the Future…
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