By Japhet Alakam
The vision of the organisers of The Vision of the Child (VOTC), the visual angle of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival is gradually being realised as more sponsors have joined the major sponsor Diamond Bank to ensure that the programme continues to promote creativity among the children.
This was disclosed last week when 60 finalists for the 2015 edition of Vision of the Child(VOTC) were presented to the public. The presentation which held at the Freedom Park Lagos was attended by many prominent personalities among them are Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, who is the consultant to the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, Chief Disun Holloway, Lagos State commissioner for Tourism and Inter Governmental Affairs, representatives of Diamond Bank,major sponsor, Microsoft and Honeywell Noodles, co sponsors, students and teachers and a host of art lovers in and around Lagos.
Fate of children
Welcoming the children and other guests to the evet, Chief Disun Holloway, Lagos State commissioner for Tourism and Inter Governmental Affairs, who represented the Lagos State government announced that in regards to earlier question as regards to the fate of children who are above 12 since Diamond bank caters for the children between 9-12, Microsoft Nigeria has joined the sponsors and will take care of those from 12 years above.
Thereafter, the 60 finalists who emerged from a three- day intensive interview held between January 26th – 28th at the Freedom Park, Lagos were presented to the public by Mrs Ayona Trimnel, Head Corporate Communications, Diamond Bank.
The competition with the theme, The Road to Sambisa which is for school children in Lagos at the age bracket of 9-12 years started last year in November.
A total of 250 students participated from 60 schools (primary and secondary) within Lagos state attended the interview. Their entries were assessed by a panel of eminent jury comprising teachers, artists, child careers, and social workers.
The journey to this stage started with registration and submission of a poem, essay or short story of fixed length on the theme.
The finalists shall be invited on March, 7th 2015, to the National Conservation Foundation Park, Lekki, provided with brush, paint and easel and, will be required to illustrate their literary presentation in the complimentary medium, of Painting.
Addressing the students from various schools across the country, Nobel Laureate Professor Soyinka employed the students to tell their parents to search their conscience before casting their votes. ‘’it is impossible to talk of today’s election without thinking of what happened to your colleagues, your siblings, your peers in the village called Chibok. It is not possible to think of the future of this nation in the sense of responsibility without that albatross called Chibok.
Sense of responsibility
Coming to the fore of our contemplation, I think that why I was being killed on the internet is probably because of this very event because those who began to advertise my death on the internet probably know already what I stand for over the election which is also why all kinds of statements have been made.’’
On their part, Executive Director, Diamond Bank, Mr Victor Ezenwoko said that they were excited with the progress so far, He commended the organisers and promised that the bank which has been there since inception will continue to be there for the project. He also commended the children for how they have been carrying themselves along, pointing out that some of the children are better than some of our graduates who can not express themselves well in English.
Mr Olayinka Oni, Chief Technical Officer, Microsoft Nigeria said their partnering with Lagos state on the project is part of their mission of empowering people to do more especially the youths.
Saying that they want to use technology to take the competition to another level.
On his part, Mr Benson Evbuomwan, Executive Director, Honeywell Flour Plc promised to always be by their side by making sure that the children are provided with foods that will nourish them while they are tasking their brains and keep them going.