By Josephine Oguntoyinbo
Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has reiterated the commitment of his administration towards child protection and wellbeing through pre-emptive and preventive activities and measures in the state.
He stated this at the grand finale of the 2023 National Children’s Day celebration held at the Gani Fawehinmi freedom square, Akure.
Represented by the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Otunba Bamidele Ologun, Akeredolu congratulated all the children that have excelled and promoted the image of the state and the parents and guardians who are committed stakeholders in the care, upbringing and education of an average child in the State.
The Governor said as a government, it has tackled many security challenges of children leading to pupils and students winning laurels per excellence for the state recently.
He, therefore enjoined Parents and guardians to complement all these children life-saving initiative of the government, while the children must be responsible and responsive to future achievements.
Akeredolu said the theme of this year’s event tagged,”State of the Nigerian Children Today: Proper parenting for value orientation and national consciousness” is apt and coined around good parenting hence the need to invest in the children.
Earlier in her welcome speech, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr (Mrs)Olubunm Osadaun, informed that the idea of a universal children’s day was mobbed in 1954 by Rubab Mansoor and adopted by the United Nations to celebrate the importance of children and imperatives to their nearest societies and the world at large.
The day she said was first observed in Nigeria in 1964 aimed at celebrating children, appreciating their being as the future of the societies and raising awareness on issues affecting them and equally appreciate responsible wards, children, parents and guardians.
According to her, a nation can only be developed to an optimum level by providing a safe conducive and enabling environment free of danger,abuse, neglect, violence among others to children.
The Commissioner affirmed that the State scorecard is uniquely of high percentage success being the only State in Nigeria that has provision for the well-being of a neonate to adulthood through Solayo-safe motherhood project to pensioners entitlement.
Dr Osadaun noted that the 2023 theme is unique as it centred around children well-being and the motto of the day which are “Keep children innocent today, tomorrow and forever,” Children are the key to paradise , Children are the future of a nation” adding that they are the one to keep the world in motion.
While stressing the need to provide a blue print for child”s development,she said wise parents must observe, monitor and be involved in all stages and note all socio -psycho presentations of the child for solutions.
Cross section of children who spoke in separate interview with The Hope commended the State government for taking the welfare of children as priority.
They pledged to continue to be good ambassadors of the State and equally make their parents proud.
Highlight of the occasion include,March/ cultural parade, special rendition, prayer for the Nation and children, presentation of speeches on the theme by students,gifts presentation, exhibition of inventions among others.
In the March parade, primary schools category, caring heart mega primary school, ljapo, Visionary Nursery and Primary and Abusoro Community Primary School,Akure came first, second and third respectively while in secondary schools category, Acqinas college Akure, Oyemekun grammar school and Fiwasaye grammar school came first, second and third respectively.
In Local Governments category,Ondo west, Akure south and Ese-Odo came first, second and third in that other.
Also , for special schools, School for the physically challenge, Ikare, School for the deaf, Akure and the School for the blind,Owo emerged first, second and third.Also,St Louis Secondary School,Akure won the best behaved school.