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Lori Tunde Onakoya, Baba e gba Ope wa

1 month ago
3 mins read

It is indeed possible to do big things from a small place. This has always been the mantra of the man, the myth, the legend, The world-renowned chess master, champion of chess, the man whose cap is too small to adorn all his titles, Tunde onakoya.

I have always been an ardent fan of what Tunde Onakoya does because like him I have a penchant for helping children whose lives are tragically faced with obstacles beyond their control.
Tunde has exemplified himself amongst us severally by going right deep into the ruggedest parts of Lagos luring these young boys with the game of chess. He once said, “if a child can play chess he can do anything. A litmus test he has proven to work severally. And he was right! So many stories of these boys he helped from absolute nothingness to becoming developers, tech professionals and other impactful skills, giving them dreams they could never have conceived.

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I have consistently expressed my deep anguish at witnessing the plight of suffering children, particularly due to governmental failures. Life’s hardships are undeniable, but can we not delay them for a more suitable time? It is utterly unacceptable for Nigeria to witness escalating levels of poverty, especially impacting its children. Instead of debating their right to education or watching them roam and endure hardships as is prevalent in numerous regions of the country, our focus should be on swiftly devising strategies to enroll them in schools.

I want the government to fully assume responsibility for underprivileged children, ensuring they receive quality education, healthcare, essential supplies, and meals. This should not be a matter of discretion or parental choice but rather a mandatory and compulsory obligation for the Nigerian government to care for every child until they reach the age of ten.

As I emphasized earlier, while life may present challenges, let us postpone these harsh realities to a later time. There is simply no justification for any child under the age of ten to endure unnecessary hardships due to neglect or irresponsibility.

It is the responsibility of the Nigerian government to mould and shape how these children view the world. There’s a reason why we now have a rave of insecurity and banditry because the children we neglected years ago by refusing to educate them have now turned themselves into societal nuisances. instead of saying na God dey take care of children, well it’s Beginning to look like devil too don dey take care of children.

Living in a western country, one of the many wonders I enjoy is hearing little children speak so eloquently and articulately. Here nobody leaves their children to either god or satan to watch over but the government ensures they are safe, educated and protected.
And, speaking of protection how long are we going to continue to allow Nigerian children be used as pawns and collateral damage in its ongoing war against terrorism. How long?
As a country, we need to do more in shaping our children. The Nigerian government needs to set in place actual motion on how to compulsorily educate every child. If we continue to turn our eye to this impending societal damage, we will continue to fight and battle insecurity till a dam springs in the desert.

If we are truly serious about curbing insecurity this is a major step towards actualising that goal. Lets us be very intentional now more that ever about educating our children from early on. Giving them a chance in a world that doesn’t offer so much. So that when Dogo gide and his ilk of satanic kinsmen come to warp their way into the minds of these children to conscript them into his army, common sense will prevail simply because they are enlightened.

I am way too young to know Chief. Obafemi Awolowo and the type of government he ran as premier of western Nigeria but one thing that has transcended generations was how much he loved education and wanted every child to be educated. A legacy the older generation will never forget One of his famous quotes the children of the poor you refuse to educate today, will not let your own children have any peace either. And now more than ever we see that at play.

We know we’re a poor third world country but if we collectively invest heavily in ensuring that every child, leaving none gets an education it’s a decent enough start to a complete overhaul of this country’s trajectory. We too, like Tunde can do big things from a small place.

 

Oyinade Jummai Alofetekun
London.

Oyinade Jummai Alofetekun

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