Abuja – The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has urged Nigerian children to believe in the country and be ready to make sacrifices for its growth.
The Oba made the call during the maiden edition of the Children’s Day Celebration organised by Ooni in Council, hosted by Queen Wuraola Ogunwusi on Friday in Ile-Ife.
Ogunwusi said that the level of patriotism among children was declining, and urged leaders to intensify investments in children.
He added that “children in the past believed so much in this country and that aided its growth then.
“Patriotism from the older generation children helped this nation so much, but the country no longer enjoys such today.
“`Today’s children must also believe in this country; they must have hope in this country.
“Children are the future of this country; we must do more for them and make them place premium in working toward a better Nigeria.’’
The royal father appealed to leaders to move closer to the children, pointing out that his wife was doing “just that”.
On her part, Queen Wuraola advised parents to guide their children against vices by dedicating more time to training them.
She thanked schools, children and parents that attended the occasion and promised to make it a yearly affair.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event featured different forms of entertainments with the Ooni, Queen and other monarchs dancing gleefully with the children.
NAN also reports that a seven-year-old boy, Adekunle Oyin, was rewarded with N50,000 by Queen Wuraola for his beautiful dance steps.
Speaking on behalf of parents and teachers, Mrs Ojuade Balogun, the Head Teacher of St. Gabriel Primary School, Moore, Ile-Ife, thanked the queen and her husband for organising the activity.
She said “this is great; we are delighted and proud of our Queen and the King for hosting our children on this Children’s Day.
“The gifts will help both the schools and children.’’
Mr Jacobs Omotayo, the Chief Executive Officer of Waves and Glamour Entertainment Company also organised maiden edition of the annual Children’s Day Celebration in Ilorin, in collaboration with Top Star Publisher Ltd.
He told the children that “you deserve to be happy; parents and care givers should not let the economic situation in the country to rob children of their right to a happy life.
“This year’s children’s day celebration is aimed at protecting children’s rights against violence and child labour.
“We identify with this cause and that is why we organised this celebration to make them happy, there is no amount that is too much to invest into the lives of children, bearing in mind that they are future leaders
“Our children need proper monitoring and attention, parents should question the source of things their children bring home, it may be gotten from someone who is trying to lure them into some sort of evil.’’
In attendance at the celebration were students and teachers of Alpha school, Teeniks Model School, Kingdom heritage School, Promise Model School, Glory Land Nursery and Primary School, among others.
Elsewhere in Imo, the Governor’s Wife, Mrs Nkechi Okorocha, reaffirmed her commitment toward ending child abuse and protecting the rights of children.
The governor’s wife, who also organised a programme to mark the children’s day, said she would continue in her efforts to ensure that the rights and privileges of children of the state were not tampered with.
Mrs Ngozi Njoku, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Women Affairs and Social Development, said that the International Human Rights Treaty had identified the rights to life, good health, general education and protection from violence as key to children’s welfare.
She added that it was necessary therefore for the society as a whole to cooperate and ensure that these rights were protected.
The event featured drama and cultural dance displays by nursery, primary and secondary schools.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia said that the state government was committed to promoting the Child Right Act in order to protect children against abuse.
He said in Umuahia on Friday at the 2016 Children’s Day celebration that “every May 27 offers the society the opportunity to celebrate children’s right to decent living.
“The choice of this year’s celebration could not have come at a better time, considering that we are faced with the challenges of erosion of moral values and all kinds of vices.
“This celebration is meant to remind parents to continue in their duty of giving care, protection and nurturing their children to grow into honest and responsible citizens.’’ (NAN)