The pall of gloom that descended on the nation since the abduction of the Chibok girls by the Boko Harm sect took the shine off the Children’s day celebration in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, on Tuesday.
The theme of this year’s Children’s Day was, “Unite for peace of Nigeria, unite for children.”
But, instead of the traditional fanfare and other trappings that characterize the Day, school children embarked on a solemn march to the Governor’s Office in protest.
Singing elegies, the children gathered in their hundreds bearing placards urging more actions for the quick rescue of the abducted girls from the Boko Haram captivity.
Led by the Speaker of the Children Parliament, Master Oluwaseun Ilesanmi, the grieving students read a letter meant for President Goodluck Jonathan lamenting the ordeal of their kidnapped peers.
The letter also frowned on the plight of the Nigerian child, whom it said faces bleak future arising from incessant violence, oppression, abuse and displacement from sectarian and tribal disputes.
Representatives of the children led prayers in Christian and Muslim faiths for the safe and timely return of the abducted Chibok girls.
But from the Governor of the State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and his Wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, came a message of solidarity and hope that the abductees would soon regain their freedom unhurt.
Represented by his deputy, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, the governor said he was pained at the ugly incident, which had attracted negative attention to the country from the global community.
Harping on eternal vigilance, she urged the children to continue to pray for the release of the girls and for peace to reign in the country.
She said, “The governor is worried and bothered about the plight of these girls. The governor is trying his best to ensure that this country is put on the international map for good reasons and not for bad reasons.
“He is in support of what we are doing. We believe in God in Ekiti State and the God we serve has never disappointed us. God wants you children to pray and talk to him beyond carrying placards to protest.
“You must be very cautious. You must be aware of your surroundings. You must be watchful and take extra caution. The Nigeria we are promising you children is a Nigeria you will be very proud of.
“We must work together to bring these children back and to make Nigeria a country we will be proud of. Not a nation of crime, not a nation of thuggery, not a nation of insecurity.”
On her part, the governor’s wife expressed concern at the spate of insecurity and violence in the country, which she said were the legacies bequeathed on the new generation of children.
She prayed that the Chibok incident would be the last source of sorrow for parents in the country.
The First Lady said, “I am deeply saddened that this generation is witnessing the death of innocents. I’m very unhappy that these children before me are becoming inheritors of the legacy of terror, violence, and tears.
“All I pray for is that God Almighty should have mercy upon us as a country and have mercy on our children.
“I pray to God Almighty that these children will be proud inheritors of a legacy of fulfillment of aspiration and dreams instead of continuing to inherit a legacy of sadness and despair.
“I pray that as they march today, this will be the last time they will do so. I know that everything is being done to bring those girls back and very soon their parents and communities will receive them.”
The governor’s wife also prayed that the children would continue to be a source of joy and happiness to their families and that Nigerian parents would never have course to gather to mourn over their children again.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Social Development and Gender Empowerment, Mrs. Fola Richie-Adewusi; and Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ado-Ekiti Local Government, Mr. Tope Olanipekun, were among top government officials that received the children.
Last modified: May 30, 2014