As children’s day is celebrated all over the world, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Oyo State All Progressives Congress, APC, Prof. Adeolu Akande, has congratulated children in Nigeria, especially in Oyo State.
Saying that the present administration in the state has done well than its predecessors in terms of infrastructural development in primary and secondary schools, he said that “improving teachers welfare, infrastructure upgrade and emphasis in skills acquisition and vocational training must remain a continous priority.
Below is the statement:
Children are like a weapon in the hands of the warrior – Yoruba wise words.
It is another Children’s Day. A day set aside to celebrate our children because they are our world. But beyond that, it should also be a day for reflection. Are we, as a society, doing enough for our children? Our children are our future and how well we prepare them for the future determines what our nation will be tomorrow.
After bringing them up in the way of God comes their education. We still fall short of UNESCO’s 26 percent budgetary allocation to education, which explains the challenges of teachers’ welfare, infrastructure decay, shortage of instructional materials and curriculum deficiencies particularly in skills acquisition and vocational training that bedevil our education sector. The percentage of children who are out of school remains unacceptably high. The ratio of pupils who advance to secondary schools remains unacceptably low. The ratio of students who make it to tertiary institutions is pitiably low still.
In Oyo State, our primary and secondary schools have enjoyed the attention of the APC government more than in previous times but improving teachers welfare, infrastructure upgrade, emphasis on skills acquisition, and vocational training must remain a continuous priority.
Honing the skills of our children in sports and extra-curriculaactivities should be a priority. We should have football and other sports clinics where children with talents will be identified and trained in formal settings so that they can be the best they can be. It has been too long since Oyo State featured among champions in the sporting arena. We must change this by focusing on the development of the mental, spiritual and physical capacities of our children.
Education is a RIGHT and not a privilege. It is expensive, but government should, instead, adjust its priorities than deny children (whose parents cannot afford the fees) education. Support for tertiary students should go beyond bursary payment to include loan facilities. Nigeria’s identification and tracking challenges have been sorted enough for government to guarantee loans for indigent students.
We cannot make our children happy and grow without paying more attention to the mothers. Mothers have become breadwinners or at least major economic partners in the family. The focus should shift to the economic empowerment of women. Too many women are outside the contemplation of government. Small and medium scale female entrepreneurs should receive government support for their business.
I run the Adeolu Akande Foundation through which we support women traders with sometimes, as little as N5,000 per head and the impact on small traders always makes me wonder why government cannot do this on a sustainable basis and on a higher scale. Women empowerment should go beyond the distribution of “kongos” of rice. Government must emphasize skills acquisition, provision of business take-off grants and mentoring for female enterpreneurs.
These and many more are the least the government should do for our mothers and by extension the children if they are indeed to become our weapons to fight poverty and underdevelopment.
This is our dream for Oyo State. We can do it. We will do it.
Happy Children’s Day.