Every 1st October is Nigeria’s official Independence Day National holiday.It marks Nigeria’s proclamation of independence from British rule on 1st October, 1960.
In 1914,the Southern Nigeria Protectorate was combined with the Northern Protectorate to create the colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.By the late 1950’s the call for independence led to the country being granted independence on 1st October, 1960 as the Federation of Nigeria.The country received it’s Freedom Charter on this day.
The holiday is celebrated annually by the government and people of Nigeria.There are also celebrations across all sectors in Nigeria including the Diaspora. It is a day of celebration for the old and the young.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, also known as the “Giant of Africa”, is a West African country bordered by Niger,Chad,Cameroon and Benin.It enjoys direct access to the Atlantic Ocean on its Southern border.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and ranks seventh in the world with over 210 million inhabitants. It also has the third largest youth population in the world with almost half of the people being under the age of eighteen, thereby making the realisation of children rights a crucial point.
Nigeria’s uniqueness is due to having over 250 ethnic groups,speaking too distinct languages.Therefore, British legacy and practical considerations established “English” as the official language.
Nigeria which is on the Gulf of Guinea has many natural landmarks and wildlife reserves.Protected areas such as Cross River Natural Park,Port Harcourt, Bonny Nature Park and Yankari National Park,with dense rain,Savannah and rare primate habitats.One recognisable sites is the Zuma Rock,a 725m tall monolith outside the capital of Abuja.
The Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa. Since the 1960’s,it has been based primarily on the petroleum industry with 90% of Nigeria’s oil and gas from the Niger Delta region. A series of world oil price increased from 1973 produced rapid economic growth in transportation, construction, manufacturing and government services. This however, led to great influx of rural people into urban centres,thereby agricultural production stagnated to such a point that cash crops such as palm oil,groundnuts,cocoa,cotton were not longer export commodities. Although much of the population remained in farming, too little food was produced.
Environmental deterioration, inferior storage of facilities, poor transport system and lack of investment capital contributed to low productivity and general stagnation in agriculture.
Today,1st October, 2021 is another day of national celebration.The children and youths celebrate the day by performing ceremonial march past in their various state capitals and local government areas .
The question that agitates the mind is,what do our children and young people as future leaders of Nigeria know about their country?From investigation,most young people do not know the history of Nigeria.After reciting the Nigerian anthem and pledge,what else do our young people know about Nigeria?This is important because every Nigerian child should know the foundation of Nigeria ,our founding fathers,how Nigeria gained her indepedence,they should know our founding fathers laboured to liberate Nigeria from colonization,the consciousness behind the fight for freedom and later the love for our country Nigeria.This is important because they were born as Nigerians and they should love their country,despite the odds.
Educating and sharing basic knowledge about Nigeria to young people is key and crucial.With the world becoming a global village and the introduction of high technology,our children and young people seem to be losing touch with our history, culture and identity. Our young people now associate with western names,clothes,football etc. Our history and identity which our founding fathers fought for is gradually fading away. This is a problem that must be tackled now before it gets too late. It is a well known fact that history is an important gift which the older ones must give or pass on to the younger generation. Without history, a person may not understand his or her root. Ancient cultures had devoted much time and effort to teach their children family history . It was taught that the past helps a child understand who he or she is. However, modern trends in Nigeria has turned its back on the past,our culture and identity. We live in a time of “rush rush”.We prefer to think and embrace in terms of where we are going to, not where we come from. Our root and ancestors mean nothing to us. We see our past as outdated and meaningless.
This is worrisome because history matters. It will definitely help our young ones to understand why our society is the way It is and what can be done in future.
It is for this reason that the reintroduction of history as a teaching subject in schools by the federal government remains a welcome development . Removing history from the curriculum, was a misjudgement. it remains unthinkable why children would be raised in the dark without knowledge about their past.
A constellation of historical facts, concoetion of geography, civics (current affairs)in the name of social studies which came with the introduction of the 6-3-3-4 school system under a new National Policy in Education by the military government,lead to a gradual phasing out of history.
However,Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu , a few years ago, while addressing delegates of the 61st meeting of the National Council on Education Ministerial Session called for the disarticulation of social studies in the current curriculum of basic schools and reintroduction of history as a subject. This was as a result of persistent pressure from the Historical Society of Nigeria.
The reintroduction of history gave the Nigerian child self – identity of who he or she really is. It is only the study of history that can give meaning to our humanity. Without history,our future leaders are denied intial pieces of information and knowledge of the foundation of their country or state. This, perphaps explains why most young people ,especially from their discussions in social media show less affinity with their country. Young people can hardly defend a country they hardly know anything about .
It is believed that the experiences we are having today were likely shaped by past events we have been through. Looking at the past and working at it helps ensure that bad history does not repeat itself. The past must be looked at to learn from it.
In addition to our history,national identity and love for our nation must be symbolic in our children and young ones. From various studies,it was found that children are able to talk about their membership of their own national group by 5 years of age. Also,the importance which children attribute to their national identity increases significantly between 5 and 11 years of age,it is left for our teachers,parents and guardians to impact positively on the young ones concerning our national identity. According to Billing,1995,national identity is imbued in everyday family practice and as such is much more likely to be affiliative and centred in belonging rather than actively claimed. Barrett,2013,however argued that young people are intiated into their national identity by their parents. Through everyday activities, parents may indicate to their children what it meant to be a part of the National group. Therefore, the older Nigerians must teach the younger ones the country’s historical and cultural traditions, moral values,ideals and national soverngnity . These characteristics will help plan an important role in empowering the young ones to exercise their rights and responsibilities fairly and equitably in a modern society . The saying, “never forget where you come from ” should be the watch word for our future leaders to build on . Their origin is Nigerian,no two ways. They must love their country and make things right for the better.
By: Ibinabo Ogolo
Little Splendor Dazzles At Quiz Competition
A native of Omerelu in Emohua Local Government Area of the State, born to the family of Mr and Mrs Peter Elechi, 10- year old Splendor has started to manifest early intellectual prowess as he leads his pears in various form of intellectual displays especially as it relates to committing intellectual documents to memory and being able to recall same for presentation when needed.
Much earlier in life, when little Splendor was spotted doing things his age mates could not identify with., little did his parents realise the distinct potential he was made of until late, when the General Council of Assemblies of God Nigeria organised a quiz competition for the children department of the Church.
The exercise which sourced its participants from the grassroots Assemblies, located this shining star from his little corner in Assemblies of God 1, Nkpor, Rumuolumeni 1 Section, Port Harcourt. The JSS 2 student of Gregof International School, Nkpor, Port Harcourt, came tops in the quiz competition organised at the local church, from where he proceeded to the district category, maintained his leading position and then to Zone at which point only the first runners were selected for the general council category, which took place at Assemblies of God Nigeria Secretariat, En ugu.
Master Peter Elechi’s emergence as a participant at the national level did not only bring glory to him and his immediate family, but to the Ikwerre-South District of Assemblies of God Nigeria, and to the entire Christendom.
Thus, this singular feat by a manor, didn’t only earn him a national award, he was gloriously honoured by the Ikwerre-South District, A.K.A Canaan City, his home district.
Announcing the lad to a congregation of members of Ikwerre-South District of Assemblies of God Nigeria in Port Harcourt recently. The District Spuritendent, Rev (Dr) J.C. Ezekwu, expressed delight on the resillience demonstrated by the boy to earn victory at last and enjoined other members to emulate such spirit.
Meanwhile, Mrs Peter Elechi, the mother, whose Joy has known no bound following the excellent performance of her son in recent time, recounted how the lad had taken to reading, especially the Bible and committing to memory important information that would be needed in near future. She said “ my son started developing by cramming scriptural verses, having time for prayers and joining in evangelism which made me say he would probably be a pastor. To her, the hand of God is upon the lad.
However, for Mr Peter Elechi, his father, though very excited but not surprised as he had ever known him to be a reader, serious and committed personality, a reason for which his primary school Bright International School, Nkpor, offered him scholarship.
Splendor would advise friends and colleagues to remain focused, Read their books and achieve their goal in life
At Gregof International School, Nkpor, Port Harcourt, where He schools, the proprietress of the school, Ms God’swill-Philip Rita, said “Splendor is a unique and serious child, always ready to learn, know by being calm, attentive and asking question where he doesn’t understand. I think sky is his limit”. She also mentioned Master Gideon Charles, a friend and colleague of Splendor who also performed splendidly in a similar quiz exercise.
By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi
This Generation Youths
Although I fared well in an extremely volatile environment, these lessons would have saved me from some unnecessary mistakes and setbacks. We are currently in a very challenging and hostile environment. Unfortunately, today’s youth cannot afford to make the same bad decisions we made a generation ago.
I have been given some valuable gifts in my lifetime, but none has been more valuable and fruitful than the gift of knowledge and wisdom. Divine wisdom says “there’s more joy in giving than receiving,” so I generously give these jewels quite often.
Jewel No. 1: Think before you act. The simple but effective process of thought will help you avoid making critical mistakes that could cost you your freedom, education or your life. “. . . Thinking ability will safeguard you.” — Proverbs.
Jewel No. 2: Find an adult mentor. A responsible adult knows what is best for your well-being. Even if you have to sacrifice your reputation with your friends, draw close to an adult who you know has your best interest at heart. Ideally this should be your parent. Friends will come and go but your parents will be an unconditional and lifelong source of love and support. Don’t get this confused!
Jewel No. 3: Do not be a follower. Avoid being part of the crowd. Without being a loner, you can separate yourself from the group of people who are not involved in positive things and still have a social life. Avoid following popular trends that could lead to a high-risk lifestyle, such as becoming so obsessed with materialism that you will do illegal activities to obtain certain things.
Jewel No. 4: Be humble. In the current environment, it is popular to be haughty or arrogant. Such attitudes tend to prevent an individual from developing healthy relationships. Being humble allows you to be open to learning from elders and making adjustment to become a better person.
Jewel No. 5: Establish a set of values. There are many deep cultural, social and spiritual values that will benefit all people. However, I recommend three simple and basic set of values for youth: life, education, freedom. If you place a high value on each of these and consider them in your decisions, it will affect the choices you make. Put simply, if you value your life you will think twice about drinking and driving. If you value your education you won’t threaten a teacher, which will get you expelled. If you value your freedom, you will avoid criminal behavior the could lead to incarceration.
Jewel No. 6: Maintain emotion stability. Managing emotions is absolutely vital for navigating through these critical times that we are currently living in. Emotions run high in dealing with personal matters, family matters, work relationships, even in sporting events there has been incidents that go bad due to a loss of emotional control. If you are in control of your emotions most incident will not escalate. Remember, “life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it” — Charles Schwindle
With an alarming increase in police violence against black youth in particular, there is a great need for special urban survival training. These lessons should be drilled and instilled in every youth these days.
By: Deon D. Price
Deon D. Price is an Author and youth life skills coach who lives in Fairfield, CA.
The Plight Of The Nigerian Child
Right to Health
In Nigeria, the rate of mortality for children under the age of 5 remains excessively high, with the probability of dying before the fifth birthday being greater among boys than girls.
Children living in rural zones are exposed to a particularly high risk of early death: due to inadequate sewage systems, lack of clean water and woefully deficient health services.
Malnutrition is the principal cause of death among Nigerian children. Many of them suffer from moderate or acute dietary deficiencies, which serve to stunt their growth. Other common causes of death include neonatal maladies, malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, etc.
Right to Education
The first six years of schooling are compulsory in Nigeria. Schools are the responsibility of the State.
The quality of instruction leaves much to be desired, though the country has taken several important measures to remedy its educational system. There have been significant developments in school infrastructure, sanitation and administrative management, and health and hygiene have been promoted. Other actions have also been taken to improve the quality of teaching. Unfortunately, they are faced with many problems as follows:
Corporal punishment is still an acceptable social practice and is widely utilised by both families and schools. Those who defend its traditional use often argue that such punishment is vital for enforcing good discipline among children.
Violence is very common in Nigeria, and children are frequently the victims. To put an end to practices that run contrary to the International Convention of Children’s Rights and thus reduce the number of victims, it is imperative that Nigerian communities stop treating violence as a morally acceptable practice.
In Nigeria, the number of children living on the streets is considerable. Street youth can often be found taking refuge beneath bridges, in marketplaces, in buildings under construction, etc.
Children who grow up on the streets in Nigeria encounter a number of problems: human trafficking, sexual harassment, abduction, disease, vehicular accidents, etc. Furthermore, because they live on the streets without parental guidance, they tend to be uneducated. Hence, they have very little chance of finding work and definitively escaping life on the streets.
Child marriages are forbidden in Nigeria by law. Nevertheless, they still occur on a regular basis in certain impoverished regions of the country, most notably in the north. Parents view child marriage as a means for the child, and for all of the family, to escape the precarious conditions of their existence.
Child marriage has negative repercussions on children’s health and overall development, and prevents them from fully exercising their rights. Young girls who marry early in life invariably abandon their schooling and are thus extremely limited in terms of their social interactions. They also run the risk of premature pregnancy, which can be dangerous for both their infants’ and their own health: often resulting in fatal consequences.
Female Genital Mutilation
In certain regions of the country, female genital mutilation is still widely practised. The victims’ ages range from 3 months to 17 years.
The lack of hygiene and overall precariousness of such excisions can lead to numerous problems for the girls subjected to this traumatic operation. These include infections and haemorrhages, among other things, as well as lasting psychological effects.
On average, no less than ten children are bought and sold for purposes of prostitution daily. On some occasions, such children are tortured and sacrificed as part of ‘black magic’ rituals.
No less troubling is the number of young girls who give birth and then sell their children. This sort of trafficking is on the rise in Nigeria; and the police are making every effort to stamp it out.
Handicapped children suffering from physical and mental deficiencies and difficulties are often victims of entrenched discriminatory practices in Nigeria.
In effect, there are an insufficient number of shelters and boarding schools for disadvantaged and physically handicapped children. Those who are physically challenged are not welcome in scholarly establishments, while others are denied access to such institutions due to their financial situation. Infrastructural shortcomings stemming from the dearth of funds and absence of laws for their provision are further exacerbated by discriminatory attitudes towards the disadvantaged.
Despite the high level of profit in the oil sector and through the exploitation of other natural resources, distribution of wealth is unequal and the country’s overall economic situation remains unsatisfactory. A large majority of the population still lives in extreme poverty; this is especially true of persons living in the rural regions.
Poverty has a negative impact on the lives of young Nigerians: creating widespread malnutrition, sickness, limited educational opportunities, etc.
Compiled by: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi
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