-By Albert OGRAKA:
AS Children’s Day was celebrated in Nigeria on Sunday, May 27, 2018, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and his wife, through the O5 Initiative Kitchen prepared sumptuous buffet for children at the Cenotaph, in Asaba with the governor calling on parents to devote greater time to their children.
Despite the low-turnout of children at the celebration which featured march past, cultural dance, modelling, among others, wife of the Governor and founder of 05 Initiative, Dame Edith Okowa, used her pet programme, O5 Initiative to provide food and refreshment for the children.
According to the Governor, “parents and caregivers, should devote greater time, and attention to the children, we must not leave the upbringing and character formation of our children to teachers alone; we should take greater responsibility for the sake of their protection, wellbeing and the orderliness of society at large.”
Governor Okowa said, “This year’s theme, ‘Creating Safe Spaces for Children: Our Collective Responsibility,’ is meant to sensitize government, stakeholders and other duty bearers on the crucial need to strategize on ways of creating a protective, violence free and safe spaces for every child in Delta State.”
He decried the level of abuses against children “ranging from rape, defilement, sexual exploitation, cultism, child trafficking, child labour, to mention a few,” asserting that, “the situation calls for more concerted efforts of all and sundry to take proactive measures and increase the consciousness of providing safe and very secure spaces for our children to grow up in the midst of genuine and selfless love, care and attention.”
He emphasised, “I wish to appeal to all duty bearers to actively promote the ideals of the Childs Rights Law, bearing in mind that we are accountable to God on how we discharge our obligations to our children, knowing very well that our future as a State and nation, will be defined by the quality of today’s children.”
High point of the celebration was the feeding of the children by members of the 05 Initiative led by Dame Edith Okowa, who personally served food and drinks to the children from various schools and insisting that “children deserves Godly counselling, special care, affordable education, good health care and protection from parents, guardians and government”
The First Lady’s pet project, 05 Initiative is also engaged in providing free health care services, establishment of sickle cell clinics, visits to prison inmates, assisting orphans in orphanage homes, providing for less privileged women and clothing the naked, especially in public schools across the state.
Earlier in a church service, guest preacher, Master Chibuzor Promise urged parents to create safe spaces for their children, bring them up in the way of the Lord so as they can make good choices in life.
Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, members of the National Assembly, among other political office holders and cross section of the society attended the event.