The Arole Oodua and Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has charged the Government of Nigeria to as a matter of urgency create a ministry that will solely take care of the children to be known as Ministry of Children’s Affairs or Ministry of Nigerian Future.
The African foremost monarch stated this on Monday while celebrating this year’s Children’s Day with over 5,000 pupils drawn from 80 schools, including Orphanage centres, in Ile-Ife and environ.
Oba Ogunwusi said children being the future of any nation deserve special budgetary attention from the Government.
He said; “If we don’t want to put ourselves in precarious situation, this is the right time to start inculcating what Nigeria is all about to these children and dedicate a special space for them in the budget.
“As a matter of fact, we should be mindful of the future of this country by hugely investing in these children because they are the future of our country.
“We should be celebrating them everyday not only on 27th May, which is Children’s Day.
“If you look at the demography of Nigeria today, you will see that 60 per cent of the entire population is below the age of 30.
“They are growing very fast and nobody is giving them any sense of belonging.
“We are building roads, infrastructures, industries, power projects, etc.
“Who will man these projects tomorrow if not these future leaders?
“So we must start including them in our national plan by earmarking a special budget for them if we would not have ourselves to blame tomorrow.”
Earlier, amidst colourful displays by the pupils who were drawn from both public and private schools, the pupils marched in sportswears and school uniforms at the event, with several cultural performances witnessed by dignitaries, including traditional rulers, Ife High Chiefs, government officials and representatives of the House of Oduduwa Foundation.
During the match past, Right School, Oke-Ayetoro, Ile-Ife and Special School For The Handicapped, Ile-Ife won the joint third position,
God’s Time Nursery/Primary School and Ifedapo Community Primary School, Ile-Ife came joint second, while Ansar-U-Deen School, Ogbon Agbara, Ile-Ife and St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Obalejugbe, Ile-Ife won the joint first position.
They were rewarded with cash prizes of N50,000, N75,000 and N100,000 respectively.
Ooni Ogunwusi in his usual magnanimity also gave the teachers who accompanied the pupils to the event N200,000, saying the impressive conduct and performances of the pupils were results of their efforts.
In addition to this, teachers were made to dance for the children with the first, second and third winners getting N15,000, N20,000 and N50,000 cash gifts respectively.
Also in the Mathematics Quiz Competition organized by the Ooni’s Charity Foundation, Hopes Alive Initiative, prizes were given to Divine Solutions Kiddies Academy, which came third, Ifedapo and L.A. Primary Schools, Ile-Ife, which came joint second, while Jesus The Bread of Life School, Ile-Ife as the overall winners went home with the star prize presented by the Deputy President of Hopes Alive Initiative, Temitope Adesegun.
It will be recalled Ooni Ogunwusi in his mission of redefining monarchy in Africa had in 2016 pioneered official royal celebration of the Children’s Day, the first of its kind in the country, which is being emulated today by some other progressive traditional rulers.
This third edition was organized by the Hopes Alive Initiative, a pet organization owned by the king in commemoration of this year’s Children’s Day.