Nigeria, our fatherland, is the pride of Africa; a land blessed with natural and human resources; the land with rich cultural heritage and diverse cultures.
The once giant of Africa is struggling to find its foot as a result of bad governance and inefficient leadership. As children, we cannot feign ignorance of the effect of this bad leadership on the future of the children of Nigeria. If we may ask, is this the Nigeria our forefathers fought for?
As children, we are compelled to lend our voice to the present precarious situation we find ourselves today in order to articulate our dreams and future aspirations. Our dreams for Nigeria are;
In the area of education which is paramount to us as children, we want a Nigeria where every child gets access to good and quality education. Where the public schools are well equipped with good learning facilities and dedicated teachers who are well enumerated and highly motivated to impact knowledge into the young minds.
We seek a country where no child is found on the streets during the day but in classrooms receiving the skills and moral education to become the leaders of tomorrow. I dream of a Nigeria where the education of the girlchild will be a priority. It is imperative to note that when a girl-child is educated by extension the whole nation is educated. We use this opportunity to make a clarion call for a proper reformation of the Almajiri system of education in the Northern part of the country in order to have a balance in the educational system. We want a Nigeria where basic education is free and compulsory for every child. More so, the provision of of scholarships to help children from poor homes who cannot afford basic education.
In the area of human rights, we the children of Nigeria as humans deserve to enjoy our rights as stipulated by the constitution. I am most interested in this area as the Mace bearer of the Delta State Children Parliament. We have a fervent hope and dream of a Nigeria where there will be an end to early marriage and domestic violence of the girlchild, a Nigeria where there will be free and equal right irrespective of our political affiliation or social status in the society, where the rule of law prevails and justice is meted out equally on all citizens, where the poor will not be oppressed by the rich, where the dignity of every Nigerian is respected. We yearn for a country where the right of every child is respected and all forms of child abuse will be put to an end.
We want a Nigeria where the learning and duration of the course of study of students will not be interrupted by academic and non-academic strikes, where the government will prioritise the welfare of students as the future leaders of tomorrow. I dream of a Nigeria where there will be an end to cultism in university campus, where there will be dedicated and well minded lecturers who will carry out their role in the society without seeking sexual gratification from female students.
As children, we want a Nigeria that will be ruled by young-minded, intellectual, selfless and patriotic citizens who will put national interest above individual interest. Who will not use their positions to steal and fill their pockets.
I dream of a Nigeria that will not be ruled by old and recycled criminals who do not care about the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. We want a stable economy where the system will run smoothly. Where ethnicity will not be a factor in determining the president of the country and other offices of the government but the nationalistic roles and nationalistic interest. I dream of selfless leaders that will command moral authority and develop and build the economy of Nigeria from underdeveloped to a developed nation .
We want a Nigeria where inflation of contracts, bribery and corruption in the public service, the police force and the democratic system will become a thing of the past.
We want a Nigeria where fresh graduates will be gainfully employed and will not roam the streets and end of becoming fraudsters and a nuisance to the society. A Nigeria where there will be an enabling environment where individuals and companies abroad can invest to curb the high rate of unemployment and increase in the country’s manpower resources. Just like the slogan “Not too young to run,” we want a Nigeria where the youths take active part in the political development of the country by running for offices in government from presidency to senate to state governors and local government chairmen. We need a country where the hard work and excellence of youths will be rewarded.
We want a Nigeria where the governments carry out their duties by providing the basic social amenities in every part of Nigeria; where the government will provide quality healthcare services in every part of Nigeria especially as it affects children in the area of prevention of children mortality and provision of proper immunisation to enhance healthy growth, provision of good medical facilities that are obtainable in other climes of the world to discourage the President and the rich from seeking medical treatment abroad but will receive quality treatment in Nigeria which will compete with other services abroad.
We want a Nigeria where citizens enjoy critical infrastructure like the provision of good roads, bridges, the provision of railway services linking cities and towns in every part of the country to discourage rural- urban migration; a nation high where there will be constant power supply which is a critical factor in the manufacturing sector and provision of financial support by empowering the commercial banks.
We want a country where the security of children would be taken seriously. It is disheartening to hear of children brutally murdered by religious insurgence in Nigeria (Boko Haram) over issues they know nothing about. We therefore dream of a Nigeria where the safety of every child is guaranteed. In the same vein we the children of Nigeria stand up firmly against the use of children as fighters in our ethnic and religious wars. It is noteworthy to say that the right place for a child is the school and not the war-front.
We the children of Nigeria want a country where peace and stability is deep-rooted. We dream of a country where all the ethnic groups, not minding our cultural, religious and social differences live together as brothers. Hence, we should see ourselves first as Nigerians before where we come from. Together, we are more united and stronger.
We want a Nigeria where a law would be enacted by the National Assembly that would make it mandatory for parents to guarantee the provision of these three basic amenities; housing, food and clothing before giving birth to a child in order to imbibe good family values that would curb juvenile delinquencies and other social vices.
I cannot end this article without recalling our minds to the noble words of our National Anthem
“Arise O compatriots,
Nigeria call obey
To serve our Fatherland,
With love and strength and faith,
The labour of our heroes past,
Shall never be in vain…
With these words, I therefore call on every Nigerian child to lend his or her voice to this struggle to actualise the Nigeria of our dreams.
May God blesus every Nigerian child; God bless Nigeria.