What Makes It Children’s Day?

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Such is the circle of life. It begins with ignorance, vulnerability and dependency, and blossoms into strife of self-reliance, hardwork and proper planning for the unknown. Any then, actual adulthood then graduates into old age, when the old man becomes a child, once more. So, when such adults retrospect annually on the miles covered and steps taken, it becomes meaningless if such retrospection fails to conjure a deliberate need for assessment of challenges faced and surmounted, successes recorded, demands yet unfulfilled and indeed plans for years to come. In all, the biggest and most worthy investment is the child

That exactly is what the state owes the family every May 27, Children’s Day, a day primarily intended to evaluate the quality of attention given to the child and resolve to improve on sour sides, strengthen weak links and project better for another set of children. This is because, the quality of childhood the state moulds, is indeed what will colour its future.

If a government official thinks only about the future well-being of his or her own biological children and allows several others to wallow in want, depend on deadly streets for survival and fail to acquire the right education to journey into adulthood, the fortunes of the government official are at big risk. Others who started as dependants on the street either as beggars or pick-pockets often graduated into armed robbers or real threat to society, and their targets would be the haves.

This is partly why responsible and socially responsive governments all over the world, articulate programmes and policies necessary to give every child with a sound educational foundation, the indigent nature of parents notwithstanding. The Universal Basic Education (UBE) project was fashioned for similar reasons. In fact, renown statesmen are agreed that next in importance to freedom and justice is proper education, without which neither can thrive successfully.

Fourty five years after, what has Rivers State done? What is the present government doing? How effective are what they are doing? What projections into the future? What are the government’s short, medium and long-term projections in handling child-education, child health, child care and protection and most importantly, laying for today’s children, a foundation that helps launch them into a qualitative adulthood free from crime and off the streets, as home?

As we mark Children’s Day today, we must go beyond the usual match past and parties and find answers to these questions. It is then and only then that we would have captured the import of the Day.