BY HENRY OJELU
At 9, Toluwanimi Omole is already living her dream of standing up for the rights of children. Through her pet project,’Toluwanimi Child’s Rights Initiative’ the current Little Miss Nigeria International is getting the attention of stakeholders on critical child’s rights issues like child abuse, child labour, malnutrition and molestation. In this interview she talks about her activities, motivation and dreams.
I was born in Lagos on the October 1, 2010 into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Oluwaseun Omole from llesha west local government area of Osun state, Nigeria. I am the first born in the family of two children.
My father is a Banker and fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria while my mother is a lawyer who works with the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
I had my preparatory and nursery education both in Honeytots Nursery School, Shomolu, Lagos and Arit Private School, Ojodu Berger, Ogun State. Currently,I attend Delphi International School, Ikota Villa Estate, Lekki, Lagos.
What inspiration do you draw from your parents?
My parents taught me that I can achieve all my dreams in life and should always set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. The inspiration that I draw from my father being a banker is that bankers are accountable and professional, and they play key role of financial intermediation in the economy.
He believes that leadership skills can be developed early in life and this has inspired me to aspire for leadership roles. My mother being a lawyer believes in justice, equity and rule of law. She manages her work efficiently and tries to smile no matter the circumstances, and that gives me strength and inspires me too. Perhaps, that is part of what influenced the choice of my pet project, which is focused on Child’s rights.
Share your journey to become Little Miss Nigeria International 2020 and what the experience has been for you?
I participated in the Little Miss Nigeria competition in December 2019 alongside several other talented kids from different states of Nigeria. The objective of the competition is to select a whizkid that can speak up for other children on issues that shows solidarity for Nigerian children.
I spent alot of time researching and practicing ahead of the competition, and through God’s grace and hardwork, I emerged winner.
My experience as the Little Miss Nigeria International 2020 has been awesome. It has given me a golden platform to advocate for the rights of fellow children, campaign for the adoption and enforcement of the child rights act on different platforms including electronic, print and social media.
I was also invited and participated in an All-Important Walk to End Violence Against Children organised by Lagos State Ministry of Youths and social development, led by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, the Honourable commissioner for Youth and social development, top government officials and other important stakeholders.
At 9, you have recorded quite an impressive academic feat by winning several awards. Can you share some of them with us?
First, I must acknowledge the grace of God, my parents love and support from my teachers. I have been privileged to represent Delphi international School at various debating and quiz competitions and we have won a lot of awards in these competitions. I also won sterling bank award for best student in Literacy and Numeracy, Maths Whizkid award, and was voted the most audible orator during an inter school debate competition powered by the Voice of the voiceless initiative where I led Delphi international School to victory. In addition,
I won spelling bee competitions in my category at Delphi international School and also represented my school on Kody and the kid’s radio show on wazobia FM.I was appointed as ambassador for “save our generation initiative” and also won an award in recognition of my child rights advocacy initiatives which I dedicated to every Nigerian child.
Your pet project focuses on child right. Why is that so?
The reason is because my vision is to ensure that child right act is enjoyed by every child regardless of their gender, race and societal status. We children as it is said are the leaders of tomorrow, but, anything that goes wrong with children today, will affect that future and produce bad leaders. Hence, my advocacy for the proper guidance and protection of children’s rights.
What are some of the things the project is doing presently?
Recently, I initiated a weekly child right corner with queen Tolu on my social media platforms i.e. @queentoluofficial on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the aim of providing useful information on child right act, campaigning against all social ills that plagues Nigeria children and campaigning for the adoption and enforcement of child right act on different media platforms including newspapers,radio stations, TV and social media.
Presently,due to the Corona virus lockdown challenge experience,the weekly airing of the child right act was put on hold but not withstanding, I organized a minute video challenge competition for children during the total lockdown encouraging them to share lockdown experience and it was amazing.
Who is your role model and why?
My role model is late Chief Funmilayo Ransome Kuti. She was a teacher,a political campaigner and a woman’s right activist. She inspires me because of her strong will and selflessness. Though, she is not a beauty pageant,I believe that I can achieve all she has achieved with my position as a beauty queen.
What do you want to be career wise?
I will like to be a Paediatrician because, I always like to be around children and this will give me an opportunity to care for their health needs.
What are the things you don’t like about Nigeria and how would you like to change those things?
Nigeria is a great country with lots of potential but more attention still needs to be paid to children’s rights. The average Nigerian child on a daily basis faces all manner of social ills and abuses like genital mutilation, child marriage, child trafficking, child labour, street hawking, malnutrition and other forms of child abuse, including sexual abuse which exposes them to reproductive and sexual infection.
Also, as the Little Miss Nigeria International and through my interaction with other children, I have realized that we need to bridge the gap between the less privileged and the privileged and help the former to safeguard their present and future by advocating for their rights, empowering them on self sufficiency, self reliance and need to believe in themselves and our beloved nation.
To this effect, I have initiated a campaign focused on child right advocacy which will be a beacon of hope to the less privileged children around the world and particularly in Nigeria with the support of Little Miss Nigeria project, Delphi international School management, family and friends.
I will embrace opportunity to partner with the Lagos State government, forum of the governors wives, security agencies, media agencies, reputable NGOs and well meaning Nigerians with regards to advocacy for the rights of the Nigerian children.
How do you balance your growing popularity with studies and also relating with your friends?
My growing popularity have made me to be more socially active, but, I have also ensured that quality time is dedicated to my academics as education is the key tool we can use to change the world.
I have been very conscious and sensitive to other people’s points of view and learning the rules of engagement required relating appropriately. I would say that self discipline and humility has been core values that have guided me every step of the way.