The direct and best way to invest in the future of a nation is to make conscious efforts to invest in its children.
Adegboyega Oyetola, the Governor of Osun State made the assertion in his address at the 2022 Children’s Day celebration in Osogbo on Friday.
Oyetola who was represented by Oyebade Festus Olowogboyega, the state’s Head of Service, charged children to imbibe the virtues of discipline, hard work, honesty, and patriotism which are essential for developing their potential, adding that these virtues are ingredients needed to sustain democratic institutions for national development.
The Osun governor while stressing the challenges posed by the total breakdown of societal values and unrestricted social media vices, called for urgent intervention by all stakeholders.
He added that all hands must be on deck in raising awareness of parents, family and the community on the critical role of protecting the children.
In his words, “The choice of this year’s theme, ‘Investing in our future means investing in our children: A better future for every child’, could not have come at a better time than now, challenges posed by the total breakdown of social value and the current unrestricted social media vices, which therefore called for an urgent need for all stakeholders to put all hands on deck in making conscious efforts at raising awareness of parents, family, communities at all levels, on the critical role of protecting the children against all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation including the abduction of children.
“All conscious efforts must be heated toward investing in our children because I believe this is a direct way of investing in our future as a nation.”
He assured the children that the state government will sustain its commitment to all obligations in ensuring their welfare and development.
“Government is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of every citizen including children. This is because it is our primary responsibility as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Child Rights Act, 2007.
“Accordingly, the Children Day celebration is to remind us of our responsibilities as parents towards, the protection of the rights of our children, special care and protection, we should strive hard by investing in our children by giving them quality education and all those complementary skills needed for their survival and well being to be able to stand out in the nearest future.
“It is when we do this, that a better further is guaranteed for every child. Parents should equally teach their children to live a life of honesty, dedication, and love for their country.
“There is no duty more important to us as parents than ensuring that children are cared for, protected, respected, their lives are free from fear and that they grow in peace.
It is also an occasion to remind our children about their duties and responsibilities to us as parents in conducting their affairs morally, respecting the elders by avoiding all forms of criminal activities.”
In her speech, the Commissioner for Women, Children and Social Affairs represented by Toyin Araoye, the Special Adviser for Women, Children and Social Affairs added that in accordance with the year’s theme, ‘Investing in our future means investing in our children: A better future for every child, it was a call to action for governments, parents, guardians, stakeholders and the society to wake up to their responsibilities.
These responsibilities she declared include; “Caring, protection, promoting projects and programmes for the general welfare of children regardless of their gender, physical and social challenges.”
Araoye also revealed that the state government is collaborating with security operatives to respond to cases of abuse and child rape and the expansion of the state toll-free lines to cover children and woman based cases.