TODAY is Children’s Day in Nigeria. Though the World’s Children’s Day is still six months away – November 20, 2022 – the Nigerian Children’s Day has been celebrated since 1964 on May 27.

This year’s universal theme is: “A Better Future for Every Child”. The Nigerian Children’s Day is not a public holiday.

Rather, it has traditionally been set aside for non-academic activities such as march pasts, excursions and other programmes aimed at promoting child civic awareness and leisure.

This year’s edition comes at a time when our children face the bleakest prospects when compared with their peers elsewhere.

For instance, Nigeria’s out-of-school children which used to be 13 million has jumped to 18.5 million, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Nigeria.

Out of these, over 10 million are girls, and up to 80 per cent of these children are in the North.

The gap in the quality of education and care given to the children continue to widen as a result of poor quality of governance. 

We have a very few number of the children of super-rich parents who can afford to educate them in the best schools in the world.

We also have the children of the struggling middle class who send their children to public and affordable private schools.

Then we have the children of the dirt poor whose parents cannot afford to feed, let alone educate them.

For all these three categories of Nigerian children, the future is bleak indeed. The inhuman crimes, violence and terrorism that are threatening to capsize the Nigerian ship of state are offshoots of neglect of our children born in the 1990s and the early new millennium.

Even those we manage to educate languish in the job market, while majority of them are unemployable due to poor quality education.

Nigeria ranks high in the number of malnourished children in the world. The rise of Boko Haram terrorism, bandit terrorism and armed herdsmen terrorism has forced many farmers off their farms and into refugee camps, thus worsening malnutrition.

The time has come for us to pull Nigeria back from the brink of total failure due to bad governance. If we continue this way, Nigeria will be a waste field of disaster in the next five to ten years.

The hungry children of the poor will make sure that the overfed children of the super-rich will have nowhere to hide, except, perhaps, abroad where they will be treated as scum.

Let us seize this transitional political opportunity of 2023 elections to get the leaders who will put smiles back on the faces of Nigerians, especially our children.

As we wish our children Happy Children’s Day, let us keep hope alive to fight for a better future for every Nigerian child.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.