Dear most precious Nigeria Child and the caregivers, who love them dearly, I wish you a most happy Children’s Day. It is my fervent prayer that the Lord, who created you as a precious gift to your generation, will keep you and grant your caregivers wisdom to be committed this noblest cause on earth.
I approach this day with very sober reflection and almost gave up sharing my thoughts on this day. Rhetoric, particularly when they come with hot air, looking like motion without movement is never an area of interest for me. Marking a day and abandoning all the issues, which face our most precious children in their legions to roll out the drums and profit from same at the expense of the children is never a joy for the crusader in me.
The question I keep seeking answer for in the deepest recesses of my concerned conscience is that how does this whole noise about Children’s Day change the state of the Nigerian Child. How does this day set aside become a reference point in the children’s diary of change? What are direct and calculable impact of past years of marking Children’s Day for the beneficiaries, our darling precious children, made in the image and the likeness of God?
Looking around me, I see more shylock profiteers on the scene, claiming to mark Children’s Day than those who are genuinely committed to calling attention to the state of our precious children. How do you explain organisations, who claim to celebrate Children’s Day with children but invite entertainers, who are reputed to serving their listeners raw lewdness as lyrics, profanity as the soul of the rhythm and immorality as the core of their contents? What is the work of regulatory bodies that they will not stop such show as it is not in the best interest of the child? Considering the rampancy of sexual abuse and immorality among our young people today, should Children’s Day be the day of all days that children’s sexuality be further perverted with inappropriate pieces of entertainment they are exposed to at shows and carnivals, organised by profiteers all over the nation of Nigeria.
Today, it is a sad fact that our children know everything about sex but almost nothing about their sexuality. Therefore, they are more sexually active than we can ever imagine. Yet, this sad reality seems not to bother us, even in the day we claim to set aside for children.
Unfortunately ignorant caregivers, who should play the role of regulatory bodies in the protection of the precious children under their care, are not often aware of the issues and how to defend the precious children under their care.
As it is today, Children’s Day is fast cutting the worrisome picture of another Valentine’s Day where unguarded celebrated, set up misguided youth for sexual immorality and abuse in the name of celebrating love.
There are many of the issues facing the Nigerian Child, which will not be addressed today or come near the front burner of public of private debate. They include the fact that over 10.5 million Nigerian Children are out of school; over 1 million Nigerian children live as internally displaced people; that according to UNICEF in her Children’s Day message, ‘millions of Nigerian children suffer some form of physical, emotional or sexual violence. According to a 2014 survey by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six out of ten Nigerian children experience at least one of these forms of violence before they reach 18.’
Permit me to conclude my thoughts today on our researched solutions to dealing with matters that have to do with children, including celebrating a meaningful Children’s Day, which put the best interest of the child in the front burner.
I have in the last 20 (twenty) years led a Social Revolution for the protection of the precious African Child, TOTALLY ANCHORED on The iProtect™ Approach (TiA), which core ideology addresses the INEVITABLE impact of The HUMAN FACTOR and our DOMINANT VALUE SYSTEM (CULTURE) as Africans on the welfare of our precious children and the private and public institutions saddled with the sacred Responsibility of providing adequate CARE and PROTECTION.
The challenge with the protection of our precious children in Africa is that we are yet to reckon with our dominant value system, which governs every area of our lives as a Third World people, who are said to either live in underdeveloped or developing countries of the world. The sad thing is that when it comes to protection of our children, we assume so many realities and begin the discussions from our assumptions and not our realities, comparing ourselves to developed countries. In our assumption we fail woefully to reckon that the foundation of the developments of the developed world is fist human capacity development, which plot is carefully set at their developmental plans for their precious children.
Permit me to submit in conclusion that in Africa, we take only take mental notice of children and not actual notice. Mental notice is never deliberate; it is an accidental affair, often authored by circumstances not within our control either by virtues of our ignorance or negligence.
Actual notice speaks of conscious efforts of caregivers, aimed at achieving adequate care. What is CARE in the context? It is to anticipate the needs and threats to a child and make adequate preparation to meet the needs and mitigate the threats before they arise.
The crisis today is that we only take mental notice of a day like Children’s Day and not Actual Notice, hence it is handled the way it is being handled.
I think it is high time we stood up for what is right and ensure that all things at all times are done in the best interest of the child. I think it is high time we organise programs at the family level to have time for our children and show our precious children love. Love to our precious children means attention and appreciation. While our children to receive our love, 365 days of the year, it is important not to ignore same on a day set aside to celebrate them. I think it is high time we refused to make our children available as puppets in the hands of profiteers, masquerading as Corporate Social Responsibility conscious organizations and children entertainers. It is high time that as individual and concerned Nigerians to begin to lead private and public discussions within our areas of influence calling attention to the many flights of the Nigerian child and the solutions thereof in days like these and other days.
It is time to SAVE Children’s Day in the best interest of our most precious Nigerian Child or SCRAP it…But as for me and my house we will celebrate the most precious children under our privileged care on a day like this and every other day of the year. We have sent an agenda bring out the glory of our Children’s Day and make it pro-children all the way. As for me and my house, it is time to SAVE the Nigerian Children’s Day in the best interest of the child and not to SCRAP it…Do we have a supporter in YOU DARING CAREGIVER and our most precious children? Do have an INSPIRED Children’s Day our precious Children and the most caring Caregivers, who love them dearly.