For the records!
Excerpts Of Gov. Chukwuma Charles Soludo’s Speech (EXTEMPORE) On The Occasion Of 2023 Children’s Day Celebration.
Children are you listening to me? Today is your day! Today is children’s day! We have come to celebrate with you! All over Nigeria, today belongs to children.
Children are the owners of tomorrow! Do you believe you are the leaders of tomorrow? Do you believe you are the ones who would fix this state and make it the way it’s supposed to be?
To the Madam Speaker of the Children’s Parliament, it shall come to pass! When I listened to you, I could feel the pulse!
I could feel that the tomorrow is here! The future we are seeking is already here with us! Thank you very much!
Our dear children, today is the children’s day, today we gather to celebrate you as our future.
Today we have assembled to assure you that we shall watch your back. Today we assure you that we serve to protect you, we serve to defend you, we serve to ensure that your sound upbringing at home, that we assure you, we will provide you sound education, health and make sure we protect you from harm.
This is your day! All over the world and in Nigeria, May 27 is our own national day to celebrate the children and to remind the parents of our enduring responsibility to our children.
This happen to be the future for ndi Anambra, the future of Nigeria and the future of the world.
I don’t have long speeches to make. Speeches have been made but let me start by thanking very specially, all the children who have come from various homes, who will soon be marching here.
I want to thank all of you and congratulate you. But more importantly, I want to thank and congratulate those children who performed the wonders that we watched here a few minutes ago.
They actually display what Anambra is about! It’s a state filled with talents! A state of abundant talent. Our human capital remains Anambra’s greatest wealth.
So today, my primary thing is to pray for our children. We pray for your today, we pray for your tomorrow.
We pray for you to take charge, that you may grow up as responsible children as responsible citizens and residents of Anambra.
And who in due time become the global ambassadors of Anambra State.
Those who will help to build the Anambra of our dreams, who will help to build the Nigeria of our dreams, who will help to build Africa and the world of our dreams.
Today we have come to pray for you. We have come to celebrate you, and I want to say to the speaker of the children’s parliament who read out the resolutions by the children, that summarizes your concerns.
I will rather frame my speech around some kind of responses to the parliamentary resolutions.
Number one is about child marriage and child labour. I want to believe that we must have a law against child marriage and child labour.
Child Rights Law! Everything is in that law. It now remains enforcement. That we must step out to enforce every rights of the child as enshrined in the law.
If you want to wed, marry an adult above 18 years, not a child of 12 or 13 years. It will not be in this state! Not in Anambra!! Any one who does that shall be arrested.
Child abuse, I’m pretty sure it’s captured in that same law. Our challenge now is that of enforcement!
On exam malpractices, I don’t know how pervasive this is now amongst our children particularly those of them in primary school, maybe in secondary school and the university, maybe.
A good Anambra child should not, it’s abominable for ndi Anambra. If I find any child who’s involved in exam malpractice, then I will almost vouch that child is not from Anambra.
Do you want me to vouch that it is true that no child of Anambra is involved in exam malpractice?. Please never be involved in exam malpractice.
Your next one is cultism! Cultism is a menace and we have seen the manifestations and evil of cultism. Most of the kids and youths involved in this, they die young.
And our Anti-Cultism Act will continue to take much more effect. We shall be stringent on this. If we notice anyone involved in this, we will get the person arrested and arraigned.
We will begin to enforce a zero tolerance for membership of any cult group. I’m sure we have a legal framework to this effect.
Now that correctional service is in concurrent legislative list, I want to assure you ndi Anambra that Anambra will soon have its own laws and then establish our own correctional service to that effect.
We will build our own prison. Given the latest amendment of the constitution, it is now in the concurrent legislative list. So states can now have their own correctional service and we are going to enact a law to that effect.
By the time you have over 2000 cult members rotting away in jail, people will fear cultism and run away from it.
Drug abuse the same! It is one that is ravaging our youths of today. Drug, cultism and criminality go together.
Show me a cultist, the likelihood he’s going to be involved in drugs or smoking one thing or the other is very high. And the likelihood he will be involved in criminality is also very high.
I have not seen anybody, who puts these three things together and live up to an old age. They die extremely, very young. We must free Anambra of it!
Hawking and child labour. The children specifically demand Ocha Brigade to make sure they rid the streets of hawkers and those involved in child labour during school hours.
Retraining for the Local Government Welfare Officers, to rise up to their responsibilities. This also I concur.
I am taking your address very seriously! I will take it to the Executive!! I haven’t seen the Commissioner for Local Government here because he should be the one that the last point was addressed to.
All I can assure you is that our children’s parliament address and resolutions is the key to our future. The future belongs to you!
We are planning to build a liveable and prosperous homeland! That is for you!! Your own children, your own grand and great-grand children, that is that future we are building. We cannot build it in your absence.
I’m glad you’ve put your fingers on those things that will continue to hamper our children from realizing their fullest potential.
Anambra is the light of the nation and our children will be the light of the nation.
Our parents must rise up to their responsibility. Many parents today have abandoned their responsibilities, leaving the children to domestic workers and whom they also don’t treat very well by the way.
And they expect them to take care of these children very well. That is why I must make sure that we have an appropriate law, legal framework to protect the domestic worker.
Because the domestic workers in our environment are terribly treated. We are working on it!
Many treat these house maids and houseboys as slaves! You find people flogging them and you wonder, if this were to be your child, would you treat your child this way?
We must have a law! To the Commissioner for Women Affairs and all those involved in enforcement, those in our schools should take note of this!
It will involve the entire citizens. If you see something, hear something, say something!
If your neighbor is abusing the house help or children, say something. Don’t just stay around and say “do you see how this person is treating this child?”
Part of how we will get people involved to say something is that we’re going to publish telephone numbers that all citizens will have readily available and they should be able to tell us when something is going wrong.
Because the kind of report one gets, about what goes on in families, you wonder if those people are animals on how they treat children of others.
To them, their own children deserves better treatment. They can’t imagine a bad treatment meted out to their own children but they will do it to children born by others.
Without knowing that those same children they treat so badly today, might be big tomorrow to which their own children or grandchildren might go to bow to rescue them.
We must have a society that is fair, where everybody gets justice, where our children are protected, where our children can feel confident that we watch their back.
We want to have a society where they can have infinite opportunities to realize their God-Given potentials.
And so, what we are doing in the area of education, whether we are hiring teachers, whether we are furnishing schools, whether we are rebuilding the infrastructure, whether we are retraining the teachers and providing all the infrastructure that they need, to be part of the digital age, to ensure that teachers teach what they are supposed to teach.
In conclusion, as i said earlier, we are here to give our children a future! That future is here with us! The area of health, the area of education, the area of protection and social services, I’m glad that two days ago, we started the inter-school and school sports competition.
This is back and will be back again! I want to go and watch the schools again participating in these competitions. We want to catch them young. Thank you!
God bless you all!
God bless Anambra State!!
God bless Nigeria!!!
Thank you and God bless you
Extracted by Christian Aburime