May 27 is Nigerian children’s Day. It is a day set aside to honour the children of Nigeria. It is an important day in the lives of many Nigerian children. Since 1964, Nigeria has been marking this day with a public holiday.
On May 27 every year, Nigerian children are granted a holiday, while several social activities are centred on them. Excused from school, some privileged children will converge at stadiums and event centres to commemorate the occasion with pomp and pageantry.
Some government officials and media organizations also honour some children with leadership opportunities. Certain radio and television stations do this by featuring child broadcasters on air and letting them anchor their programmes for the early part of the day.
Similarly, certain government officials allow a child to shadow them as ‘State Governor’ for a major part of the day. A Child Governor will go about the day’s job in place of the actual Governor and he or she will be conferred with representative authority.
There are, however, millions of Nigerian children out there who are not be privileged to be part of today’s Nigerian Children’s Day celebration. Many of them are in Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs), scattered in different parts of the country, away from their homes. These are victims of Boko Haram insurgency that has held the country captive for the past ten years.
Others are street children, sometimes, without father or mother, either that their parents were victims of the orgy of violence that has been unleashed on the country since the last few years by different kinds of people, bandits, killer Fulani herdsmen, etc., or that their parents were too poor and therefore, unable to fend for them.
These children are in the streets, begging for food to eat in a country full of milk and honey. Many of these children do not know the way that leads to the school, because there is nobody to lead them there. In the end, they turn out to be fertile ground for the recruitment of hoodlums and miscreants that wreck havoc on the country.
There is no gainsaying that children are the future of a nation. Without them, the nation’s hope of building a youthful and productive workforce will greatly diminish and the basic family structure will be imbalanced.
Everyone who is an adult today had passed through the childhood phase. The stage is unique because it is marked with moral instructions, home training and fundamental education. It is at that phase that our learning ability develops. If guided in the right path, children can perform marvellously, but if not, they can evolve into individuals that are capable of terrorising a whole nation.
It is therefore necessary and very important that the welfare of children should matter exceedingly to our governments. The over-used slogan that “children are the leaders of tomorrow” still exists, but many of these so-called leaders are not receiving as much support from their parents and the government.
Though the government has so many responsibilities and may lay claim on diverse excuses, parents remain the major custodians of their own children, and thus should strive to ensure good parenting. Many parents are always too busy to spend a little time with their children, who are left in the care of maids, and very often influenced by unrated media contents and peer groups
As we celebrate another children’s day, parents should sincerely evaluate their parent-child relationships. If in doubt that their efforts are adequate, or that the children are heading in the right direction, they should make proper amendments. They should do these things, knowing that vagabonds do not grow from the soil, neither do terrorists fall from the sky.