Friday, 27 May 2016

Full Text of Gov.Obiano's Children's Day Address

An Address presented by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano during the Children’s Day Celebration, on May 27, 2016.


Ndi Anambra, I had looked forward to coming here today to participate in this great event because it is a celebration of hope. Today is a special day that gives us an opportunity to affirm our faith in the Nigerian child; to rededicate ourselves to the belief that the little acorns we nurture today will become the mighty oaks of tomorrow!

So, I urge you all to join me in affirming our faith in the children of Anambra State, the children of Igboland and the children of Nigeria today!

What we celebrate today as Children’s Day has its earliest beginnings in 1925 when 54 countries of the world sat together in Geneva, Switzerland to convene the first ever “World Conference for the Well-being of Children.” It was this conference that led to what is known today as the “Geneva Declaration Protecting Children,” which spoke to the world about the educational needs of children, child-labour, child-poverty and the overall welfare of children. Rising from this Conference, different countries of the world decided to designate a day of their choice as Children’s Day.
Different countries have different days for children. Japan marks Children’s Day on May 5, China Marks her own on June 1. In Nigeria, we set aside May 27 as a day to re-emphasize the dignity of the Nigerian child, to renew our faith in them and to instil national pride in them through this special celebration we are having here today!

Ndi Anambra, the more I think of the inherent abilities of the Anambra child, the more I see the need to celebrate them on a special day. I have always been a great believer in Nelson Mandela’s quote that “There is no keener revelation of a society’s soul than in the way in which it treats its children.” I have always believed that every society has a huge responsibility to treat its children right, to give them a memorable childhood and to guide their footsteps towards becoming the pillars of the future. Indeed, the future is dead without children. And in the words of American poet, Carl Sandburg “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

In Anambra State, we agree that the world should go on with the plans we have laid out for our children. Our plans for the Anambra child starts from maternal healthcare, through basic education to secondary education and finally, tertiary education. Our “No-Child-Left-Behind” educational policy ensures that education is an entitlement of every Anambra child. Our Free-education policy for children living with disability ensures that education is not a privilege but a heritage of the Anambra child. At the same time, the return of Mission Schools to churches, the heavy investments in public, private and missionary schools as well as the award of N30m scholarships to students and pupils in just two years of my administration, are all part of our efforts to build strong children today for a stronger society tomorrow. Ndi Anambra, we did all of these because, like Fredrick Douglas, the fiery African-American abolitionist, we believe that “it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men!”

Happily, our children have powerfully responded to our efforts to plant greatness in them. Indeed, it is gratifying to see that the Anambra child has set himself apart from his contemporaries across the country. He has shown a tremendous hunger for achievements that even the world can no longer ignore. Last year, the Anambra Debate Team, made up of school children picked up from different public schools across the state took the Bronze Medal at the World Schools Debate Championship in Singapore. This year again, our Debate Team defeated all challengers from other states in the federation to qualify back-to-back for the world championship coming up in Germany in July. Ndi be anyi, put your hands together for our children, please!

Our children have also continued to dominate in External Exams in the country. Anambra has produced the best results in WAEC and NECO exams in the past three years. In fact, because of our children’s excellent performance in these exams, the Registrar of NECO, Prof. Abdulrashid Garba visited me at the Governor’s Lodge last year to commend Anambra for recording 80% in 5 Credits including English Language and Mathematics in the year 2015 NECO exams. Biko, let’s put your hands together for umu-aka Anambra!

Ndi Anambra, our children have continued to demonstrate to us that they have what it takes to sustain the reputation of this great state as Light of the Nation! They have continued to justify our faith in the future greatness of our dear state.

Yes! The 35th President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy was right when he said that “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” Yes, I agree with President Kennedy that these children gathered here before us today, may well be the greatest proof that we did our work well as parents and teachers and as a government! They may well be our most important instruction to the ages to come!

It is on this note that I wish our children a Happy and Memorable Children’s Day!

God bless Anambra State

 God bless Nigeria

 Thank you

Willie Obiano


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